In the news this week, Sony hit by yet another cyber attack, and ‘Gangnam Style’ breaks the internet. Rosie Howard gives a run down of the top 5 stories.
1. Playstation hit by hack attack
The Playstation Store website was taken offline for a short period on Monday after being hit by a cyber attack. The website, used for downloading and buying content, was hacked, meaning visitors to the website were greeted by the message ‘Page Not Found! It’s not you. It’s the Internet’s fault.’ Sony, already the subject of hacking this week, said they were aware of the problem and appreciated customers patience while they got the website back online.
The group ‘Lizard Squad’ have claimed ownership of the attack, posting on Twitter “PSN Login ♯Offline ♯LizardSquad”. The group, supposedly based in Russia, have also taken responsibility for other cyber attacks that have occurred in the past month. Last week, Microsoft Xbox Network was hit by a distributed denial of service attack, which overloaded the system and caused the website to go offline.
Lizard Squad have said that this is just a ‘small dose’ of what’s to come over the Christmas period, meaning more entertainment websites may be in danger of being taken down over their busiest periods of the year.
2. North Korea denies “righteous” hack attack on Sony
It’s not been a good month for Sony. Before the hacking of their Playstation Store website, Sony Pictures was attacked by a hack in retaliation to their forthcoming film. ‘The Interview’, starring Seth Rogan and James Franco, tells the story of two American journalists who are granted an audience with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, and are then enlisted by the CIA to assassinate him.
North Korea denies they had anything to do with the cyber attack, though praised the hack as a ‘righteous deed’, describing the film itself as an act of terrorism. Sony have not released any information regarding the origins of the attack.
The hackers targeted Sony Pictures specifically, publishing a number of yet to be released films, such as a remake of ‘Annie’, onto an online download site, as well as releasing salary information and social security numbers of thousands of Sony employees.
‘The Interview’ is still set for release over Christmas.
3. GTA V banned from Australian stores
Grand Theft Auto V, recently released on next-gen consoles as a remastered version, has been pulled from chain stores in Australia after customer complaints over the violence, specifically against women, in the game. Two major chains, Target and Kmart, have chosen to remove the game released last year after a petition created by three female survivors of violence gained more than 400,000 signitures. The petition argued that the game was grooming future genartions of men to tolerate violence against women, reading “It’s a game that encourages players to murder women for entertainment. The incentive is to commit sexual violence against women, then abuse or kill them to proceed or get ‘health’ points,”
Fans of the game have spoken out against the decision, calling it an act of censorship, and have set up a rival petition to try and get the game reinstated. However, Target stands by its decision, saying that it was in accordance with the will of the “majority of customers”.
Despite all the controversy surrounding it, GTA V has become the fastest selling entertainment product of all time, making $1 billion of sales in its first three days of release. It has also won 33 awards.
4. Driverless cars set to be tested across the UK
The cities set to be hosting various driverless cars schemes have been announced. Greenwich and Bristol are to host their own schemes, while Milton Keynes and Coventry are to share one between them.
George Osbourne announced this week that a further £9 million will be added to the schemes budget, in addition to the £10 million promised in July.
Greenwich is set to host the ‘Gateway Scheme’, which will carry out tests of automated passenger shuttle vehicles and automated valet parking for adapted cars, while Bristol will host the “Venturer Consortium”, which will investigate whether driverless cars will actually make our roads safer and reduce congestion.
The UK Autodrive Programme will be shared across Milton Keynes and Coventry, and will see companies, such as Ford and Jaguar Land Rover, test driving self-drive vehicles on the road and self-driving pods in pedestrianized areas.
If the programmes are a success, we could see an influx of self-driving, self-parking and automated shuttles being rolled out across the UK. The only question is how people will react to sharing the responsibility of driving, and sharing the road, with a computer?
5. Gangnam Style ‘breaks’ YouTube limit
The song ‘Gangnam Style’ by Psy has official ‘broken’ the limit for views on YouTube. The song, released in 2012, has been viewed 2,147,483,647 times, beating the next highest viewed video, ‘Baby’ by Justin Beiber, by more than 1 billion.
YouTube was forced to raised the view limit in anticipation of this, lets say momentous, event, to a whopping 9, 223, 372, 036, 775, 808 – which is, in other words, nine quintillion, two hundred and twenty-three quadrillion, three hundred and seventy-two trillion, thirty-six billion, eight hundred and fifty-four million, seven hundred and seventy-five thousand, eight hundred and eight.
Lets see if Gangnam Style can make it – or maybe Justin Beiber will make a surprise comeback. Anyone?
Online Games and Tech Editor
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