HP’s Built-in Keystroke Logger

Many HP laptops have a built-in keylogger in their audio drivers according to computer security firm Modzero AG (via Ars’ Dan Goodin). Keyloggers record what you type, typically covertly, for the purposes of someone else getting access to that text data later on. In this case the researches did not find any malicious capability in the driver that uploads the recorded text to a remote location, but it is very easy to access the data coming out of the driver by anyone who has access to your computer.

It would make it very easy for a piece of malware on your computer to track what you type without jumping through extra steps.

That HP shipped this audio driver on their laptops to thousands or millions of customers since 2015 is very worrying.

You can test your HP laptop for this vulnerability by checking the list of affected models after the break or just delete these files if they’re installed on your computer:
C:\Users\Public\MicTray.log
C:\Windows\System32\MicTray64.exe
C:\Windows\System32\MicTray.exe

Continue reading “HP’s Built-in Keystroke Logger”

Block’hood Neighborhood Builder Out

This neighborhood building sim, Block’hood, from Plethora Project and Devolver, looks like it could be good. Just now out of Steam’s Early Access program with a story mode and promises of more to come.

If you want to build a neighborhood in a sandbox mode or build and grow old with your boar friend in the story mode, you can do so on Windows, Mac, and Linux on Steam. It’s supposed to be $15 but the price hasn’t been updated yet and is still showing as $10 (before the launch 25% discount) for me.

Owlchemy Labs Scooped Up By Google

In your latest sign that VR software development is totally unsustainable as a standalone business, Owlchemy Labs has been bought by Google:

Today, we’re thrilled to welcome Owlchemy Labs to Google. They’ve created award-winning games like Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality which have really thoughtful interactive experiences that are responsive, intuitive, and feel natural. They’ve helped set a high bar for what engagement can be like in virtual worlds, and do it all with a great sense of humor!

This doesn’t bode well for Owlchemy’s future output. I look forward to their shares vesting and the developer’s inevitable exit back to independent companies who actually make games again.

IO Interactive Dropped From Square-Enix

Square-Enix put out the amazing Hitman (2016) last year, I love that game and it’s disappointing to hear that Square-Enix is dropping IO and probably will end up keeping IO’s creations:

To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios. As a result, the Company has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO INTERACTIVE A/S, a wholly?owned subsidiary and a Danish corporation, as of March 31, 2017. This decision has resulted in booking of the extraordinary loss amounting to 4,898 million yen, including disposition of the content production account related to the business and impairment loss of intangible assets, in the financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

As a result of this the Company started discussions with potential new investors and is currently in negotiations to secure this investment. Whilst there can be no guarantees that the negotiations will be concluded successfully, they are being explored since this is in the best interests of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole.

That loss is almost 43 million in US dollars. To paraphrase Moe Szyslak, you don’t leave the lid off of a pickle-jar like IO Interactive.

More Details About Comey

The WSJ’s Shane Harris and Carol E. Lee:

Mr. Comey started receiving daily instead of weekly updates on the investigation, beginning at least three weeks ago, according to people with knowledge of the matter and the progress of the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe. Mr. Comey was concerned by information showing possible evidence of collusion, according to these people.

The collusion might be entirely overstated, but the cover-up is amazing.

 

Who Do You Meet With After Firing The FBI Director Investigating Your Collusion With Russia?

David E. Sanger and Neil MacFarquhar for the Times:

Only hours after dismissing James B. Comey as director of the F.B.I., amid an investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian officials, the president met with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, at the White House. The Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey I. Kislyak — best known to many Americans as the man who discussed lifting sanctions on Russia with Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser — was also in the Oval Office for the meeting.

The world’s only glimpse of this session came from the Russian news agency Tass, which distributed photos of the meeting, with a grinning Mr. Trump shaking hands with the two visitors. No reporters were allowed in to ask questions — though they were ushered in minutes later for Mr. Trump’s session with Henry A. Kissinger, the former secretary of state.

Breaking here to note how insane it is that journalists weren’t allowed to  witness the meeting with Trump and the Russian kleptocrats. Very reassuring.

And, at the State Department, there was no briefing on an earlier meeting between Mr. Lavrov and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. Mr. Tillerson is famously reluctant to talk with the press. So that left the field clear for Mr. Lavrov, who has now sat opposite four American secretaries of state and knows how to work the news media well, to describe the conversations.

A Brief History of the President’s Lies

David Leonhardt in the opinion pages:

The president of the United States is lying again.

He is lying about the reason he fired James Comey, the F.B.I. director. Trump claimed that he was doing so because Comey bungled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email, which meant that Comey was “not able to effectively lead the bureau.”

There is no reason to believe Trump’s version of the facts and many reasons to believe he is lying. How can I be so confident?

First, it’s important to remember just how often Trump lies. Virtually whenever he finds it more convenient to tell a falsehood than to tell a truth, he chooses the falsehood.

An incomplete list of the things he has lied about include: Barack Obama’s birthplace, Obama’s phone “tapp,” John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Sept. 11, the Iraq war, ISIS, NATO, military veterans, Mexican immigrants, Muslim immigrants, anti-Semitic attacks, the unemployment rate, the murder rate, the Electoral College, voter fraud, the size of his inaugural crowd, his health care bill and his own groping of women.

Great article, you should read the whole thing.

Trump Fires FBI Director Running Investigation Into Trump’s Campaign

(Now former) FBI Director Comey back in March, quoted by the New York Times:

Mr. Comey said the F.B.I. was “investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

Yesterday Trump wrote this letter informing Comey of his termination:

Dear Director Comey:

I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.

While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.

It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

Why include that second paragraph when the letters referenced in the first aren’t about an investigation into Trump’s campaign?

Phil Helsel at NBC, yesterday:

President Donald Trump has hired a Washington law firm to send a letter to a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee saying he has no connections to Russia, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday.

Spicer’s revelation was in response to a question from reporters on a briefing about committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham’s remarks that he wants to look into whether Trump has any business dealings with Russia.

“The president, obviously, was aware of Senator Graham’s suggestion after he made it today and he’s fine with that. He has no business in Russia. He has no connections to Russia. So he welcomes that,” Spicer said.

“In fact, he is already charged a leading law firm in Washington, D.C., to send a certified letter to Senator Graham to that point that he has no connections to Russia,” Spicer said.

Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey of Lawfare, yesterday:

On November 10, we wrote that that Trump’s firing of Comey would be a “a clear bellwether to both the national security and civil libertarian communities that things are going terribly wrong.” At the time we wrote those words, Comey was deeply unpopular with both the Left, which blamed Hillary Clinton’s defeat on his eleventh hour letter to Congress, and the Right, which criticized his decision to recommend that Clinton not be charged over her handling of government emails. Whatever the merit of Comey’s actions during the campaign, the fact that he managed to anger both sides of the political spectrum demonstrated his storied political independence. And that political independence, we argued, would serve as a critical check against any efforts on the part of President Trump to trample the rule of law.
The FBI Director serves a ten-year term precisely in order to insulate against the whims of a President who does not like what—or whom—the FBI is investigating. While the President has legal authority to fire an FBI director, the fact that Trump has done so under circumstances of an active FBI investigation of the President’s own campaign violates profoundly important norms of an independent, non-political FBI. The situation has no parallel with the only previous FBI director to be removed by a president: President Clinton’s firing of William Sessions, whose ethical misconduct was so extensive that it resulted in a six-month Justice Department investigation and a blistering 161-page report detailing his illicit activities, including flagrant misuse of public funds. Trump’s firing Comey at a time when Comey is investigating Russian intervention in the election on Trump’s behalf and the specific conduct of a number of people close to Trump undermines the credibility of his own presidency. And it deeply threatens the integrity of and public confidence in ongoing law enforcement and intelligence operations.

Trump’s offered rationale does nothing to assuage the fears we expressed in November regarding the meaning of this event.

If this is truly about his actions during the election, why fire Comey now, months after the inauguration?

Matthew Rosenberg and Matt Apuzzo for the Times, today:

Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in resources for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, according to four congressional officials, including Senator Richard J. Durbin.

If it’s not about Russia and this happened months after the inauguration, surely the administration would have planned this transition to occur smoothly, right?
Michael S. Schmidt, nytimes:

Mr. Comey was addressing a group of F.B.I. employees in Los Angeles when a television in the background flashed the news that he had been fired.
In response, Mr. Comey laughed, saying he thought it was a fairly funny prank.

Then his staff started scurrying around in the background and told Mr. Comey that he should step into a nearby office.

Mr. Comey stopped addressing the group. He proceeded to shake hands with the employees he had been speaking to. Then he stepped into a side office, where he confirmed that he had been fired. At that point, he had not heard from the White House.

Shortly thereafter, a letter from Mr. Trump was delivered to the F.B.I.’s headquarters, just seven blocks from the White House.

Ben Heck Got That Nintendo Playstation Working

Last year Ben Heck attempted to repair a Nintendo Playstation prototype. It was a console developed in partnership between Sony and Nintendo during the Super Nintendo era. Before Sony decided to go their own way and the project was scuttled, this prototype was developed and made its way into the world.

Last year Heck managed to get the unit loading regular Super Nintendo games. He now has the prototype loading homebrew games off of the disc drive.