On Christmas day, 2013, many delighted people opened up new Xbox and Playstation gifts. That excitement turned to disappointment when they were unable to log onto game services and play. Now the hacker responsible will spend 27 months in jail.

Austin Thompson is the worst kind of trendsetter. Back in 2013, many game services, whether it be Xbox, PlayStation, or Steam, were ill prepared for DDOS attacks. That fact became readily apparent when Thompson easily took down multiple services over the Christmas holiday break.

Under the name DerpTrolling, the hacker took requests, made announcements of next targets, and then frequently brought another game service to its knees.

Others took notice and followed suit, DerpTrolling inspired Lizard Squad, Phantom Squad, and others, some of which set up DDOS-for-hire services.

Later in 2014, Federal Agents found and arrested Thompson. In late 2018 he pleaded guilty. Now the hacker has been sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $95,000 in restitution. If you think 27 months doesn’t seem that long, keep in mind Thompson has been in jail since his arrest in 2014. [ZDNet]

RELATED: What Are Denial of Service and DDoS Attacks?

In Other News:

  • Superhuman Promises to turn off Super Tracking: Superhuman, an email app that comes with fancy features and a $30 a month price tag, had a tracking problem. By default, it injected a tracking pixel into every email sent out that would tell you how many times a person opened an email and that person’s location. It was overkill, and problematic, and thankfully, Superhuman is rolling the feature back. [TechCrunch]
  • You should really stop using your ISP Wi-Fi router: Confirming what we’ve been saying for years, ISP provided routers tend to be subpar at best and only cost you extra money in the long run. A study shows that ISP supplied routers were unable to achieve full speeds on 100 Mbps networks. Worse yet the 2.4 GHz bands lost speed at a distance at a faster pace than 5 GHz band, which defies all logic. [TechRadar]
  • Apple may soon ditch its terrible keyboards:  When you consider all the recalls as of late, the MacBook’s sterling reputation is a little bit damaged. One of the biggest reasons is the terrible keyboard that tends to stick or break altogether. Now Apple may be planning to change to a better design. Unfortunately, we don’t have confirmation yet; this is still a rumor. But here’s hoping the rumor is true. [Engadget]
  • Samsung sued for allegedly misleading ads:  Samsung regularly touts its phones as water resistant. And they are, under the right conditions. If you drop many Samsung phones in fresh water and they don’t go deeper than 1.5 meters, the phones will likely be fine. But water resistance ratings doesn’t cover salt water or pool water scenarios, which is where Samsung shows its phones in ads. Now an Australian watchdog is suing the company, claiming the ads are misleading. [Slashgear]
  • YouTube bans Infosec videos in a bid to ban hacking videos: Kody Kinzie, a co-founder of Hacker Interchange, was in for a rude surprise when he went to upload the latest video to the Cyber Weapons Lab channel. He couldn’t upload it: the channel had a strike for “teaching about hacking.” While the subject of hacking is covered, it’s not about how to do it illegally. Instead, it covers how to use hacking skills to protect against illegal uses. YouTube doesn’t see the distinction it seems. [The Verge]
  • User Inyerface is the worst—on purpose: A well-designed user interface is incredibly important. To drive that point home, design firm Bagaar created a site that features the most frustrating user interface you will ever use. If you manage to complete it (instead of tossing your keyboard at the wall), User Inyerface will reward you with a celebratory gif and show the time it took you to finish. Our best is 5:19. What can you do?  [Ars Technica]
  • SwiftKey Beta adds its own take on Animoji: Apple’s Animoji is all the rage, but you need an iPhone from the X series to use them. Now Microsoft has its own version of Animoji called Puppets, and the company is showing them off in a beta of SwiftKey. The most impressive part is just about any Android phone can use them, no special kinect-like camera needed. [9to5Google]
  • Google’s upcoming camera app makes Night Sight easier to find: We think Google’s Night Sight is amazing. But one of the main problems with it is the feature is buried in a submenu which may make it hard to discover. An upcoming update will solve that by moving the Night Sight option to an easier to find location. Very nice. Now if we could just get it on non-Pixel phones… [XDA Developers]

Bad news: too much exposure to sunlight is generally bad for you. Good news: the Earth does a decent job of protecting you from that damage (but wear your sunscreen).

Astronauts, however, don’t get that protection when they’re in space. So we’ve always naturally assumed that astronauts are more likely to face cancer and heart disease thanks to that greater exposure to the Sun’s harmful rays.

But a new study suggests that may not necessarily be the case, at least for the short trips we’re currently taking to space. The study focused on over 400 astronauts and cosmonauts, and how they fared after their return to Earth. What scientists discovered is, despite the time spent in space, the spacefaring individuals haven’t contracted cancer or heart disease at a higher rate than the general populace.

But the study doesn’t make clear if it controlled for the better healthcare astronauts and cosmonauts are likely to receive, and it cautions that all things considered our trips are short. A trip to Mars and back will be much longer, and thus more likely to be damaging. [Gizmodo]

 

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Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code.
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