Get Paid to Hack a Chromebook, Sony Prices PlayStation VR at $399… [Tech News Digest]

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Hack a Chromebook for $100k, buy PlayStation VR for $399, be sure to type URLs correctly, switch from HERE Maps to Windows Maps, and listen to Anonymous launch “total war” on Donald Trump.

Google Wants You to Hack a Chromebook

Would you like to have a cool $100,000 deposited into your bank account? Of course you would, as few of us would say No to that. Unfortunately, you’ll have to successfully hack a Chromebook in order for Google to award you that cash prize. Which is, as it turns out, a tall order.

We know because, as reported by VentureBeat, Google has been offering $50,000 to anyone able to persistently compromise a Chromebook in Guest Mode since last year. And no one has yet managed to do it. Hence the doubling of the cash prize awarded in the Chrome Reward Program.

And in case you suspect Google is reluctant to pay out when someone delivers, the company paid out over $2 million in 2015. It’s just that no one has yet been able to hack Chrome OS. Which is yet another reason to buy a Chromebook, whether you have an eye on that prize or not.

Sony Prices & Dates PlayStation VR

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Sony has revealed the launch details of PlayStation VR, which is set to launch in October 2016 for $399. This is $200 cheaper than the Oculus Rift (at $599) and $400 cheaper than the HTC Vive (at $799). Even better, it’s powered by the PlayStation 4, eschewing the need to purchase a powerful PC before you even think of plugging into virtual reality.

The one caveat is the need to own a PlayStation Camera, which will add $50 to the price. However, while PlayStation Move controllers would be ideal they’re not required, as the standard DualShock controllers will work just fine. So, at $450 all-in for those who already own a PS4, this is likely to be the more affordable way into VR for some time to come.

As for the actual experience, PlayStation VR features a 5.7-inch OLED screen with a resolution of 1920p x 1080p. It will have a refresh rate of 120hz with 360-degree tracking via nine LEDs. The field view will be approximately 100 degrees, with an 18ms latency. Which is all pretty impressive at this price point.

New Malware Attacks Mistyped URLs

It’s now more important than ever to type URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) correctly into the address bar of your Web browser of choice. Because cybercriminals are now setting up shop on the .om version of popular websites. This means that missing the “c” off of .com could land you on a page filled set up to install malware on your computer.

The warning comes courtesy of security firm Endgame, which has identified the trend for using Oman’s top level domain to trick errant visitors into installing malware. Thankfully, the fake sites aren’t carbon copies of the real thing, so if you land on one you should be able to navigate away before doing anything dumb. Your grandparents on the other hand…

HERE Maps Abandons Windows

HERE Maps, which was once synonymous with Windows Phone, will no longer be supported on Windows. HERE is pulling HERE Maps from the Windows 10 store on March 29, and the apps will stop working on Windows 10 Mobile devices on June 30. Only those using Windows Phone 8 will retain access to HERE Maps, but the app will only receive “critical bug fixes”.

As outlined in the announcement on the Official HERE Blog:

“Although the essence of the HERE apps lives on in the Windows Maps app, we are removing the HERE branded apps from the Windows 10 store on March 29, 2016 and will limit the development of the apps for Windows Phone 8 to critical bug fixes. As the market evolves, we keep in step by introducing our apps for new operating systems while stopping support for others.”

This is a big blow to Windows Phone fans, as it represents the loss of, not only another app, but one that was once deeply integrated into Microsoft’s mobile operating system. Sure, there’s Windows Maps, which comes pre-installed on Windows Phone, but in terms of the bigger picture this is another nail in the coffin.

Anonymous Launches War on Trump

And finally, the disparate group of hackers known as Anonymous have launched a “total war” on U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump. On March 4, Anonymous posted a video calling out Trump for his “inconsistent and hateful campaign” which has “not only shocked the United States of America,” but also “the entire planet”.

Anonymous wants to “shut down his websites,” “research and expose what he doesn’t want the public to know,” and “dismantle his campaign and sabotage his brand”. Which is strong stuff indeed. However, democracy always wins out, so if the American people decide they want to see President Trump in the White House there is little anyone can do about it. [H/T Business Insider]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will hackers ever compromise a Chromebook? Are you likely to buy PlayStation VR? Have you ever mistyped a URL? Are you annoyed at HERE Maps abandoning Windows? Is Donald Trump a reasonable target for Anonymous?

Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.

Image Credit: Laurie Sullivan via Flickr

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