Tech News

Microsoft Bans Dumb Passwords, Minecraft Adds a Deathmatch Mode… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 27-05-2016

Microsoft prevents people from using pathetic passwords, Minecraft gets a new Battle mode, Twitter plays nicely with Spotify, Atari Vault lands on SteamOS, and Drone Wars will blow your mind.


Microsoft Bans the Worst Passwords

Microsoft is “dynamically banning commonly used passwords” in an effort to prevent its users from getting hacked. The company outlines this policy in a TechNet blog post written in the aftermath of the LinkedIn hack What You Need To Know About the Massive LinkedIn Accounts Leak A hacker is selling 117 million hacked LinkedIn credentials on the Dark web for around $2,200 in Bitcoin. Kevin Shabazi, CEO and founder of LogMeOnce, helps us to understand just what is at risk. Read More which saw 117 million login credentials leaked online.

This explains that “the most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a password is to choose one that is unique, and therefore hard to guess”. With that in mind, Microsoft analyzes “the passwords that are being used most commonly” and uses that data to “prevent you from having a password anywhere near the current attack list, so those attacks won’t work”.

According to Microsoft, this service is “already live in the Microsoft Account Service and in private preview in Azure AD (Active Directory),” and will be rolled out further over the next few months. The Microsoft Account Service covers Outlook, Office, OneDrive, Skype, and Xbox, etc.

Assuming you’re already using a strong, hard-to-guess password, you won’t notice any change as a result of this policy. However, if you have been using one of those mindbogglingly obvious passwords 25 Passwords You Need to Avoid, Use WhatsApp for Free... [Tech News Digest] People keep using terrible passwords, WhatsApp is now completely free, AOL is considering changing its name, Valve approves of a fan-made Half-Life game, and The Boy With a Camera for a Face. Read More such as “123456” or “password” then you should a) hang your head in shame, and b) find yourself a new password.


Minecraft Players Battle Each Other

Microsoft has announced a free update coming to Minecraft next month, with players using the console versions of the game getting access to a new mini-game called Battle. Set to start rolling out in June, Battle is the first in a series of mini-games being added to Minecraft.

Battle will see you dropped into a pre-created map with up to eight other players. You’ll have a few seconds to grab a weapon from one of the chests dotted about, before being charged with defeating the other players to become the last-person-standing. You can also play split-screen multiplayer 8 Awesome Couch Co-Op Games To Play When Family Comes To Visit Read More with up to four friends.

This all-new Minecraft mode will be available on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Wii U versions of the game. Three maps will be given away for free, with additional map packs available at $2.99. Future mini-games are planned for Minecraft, all of which are based on what people are already doing in the game The (Latecomer) Beginner's Guide To Minecraft If you're late to the party though, don't worry - this extensive beginner's guide has you covered. Read More .

Twitter Now Plays Spotify Song Clips


You can now listen to 30-second clips of songs on your Twitter timeline Why You Should Embrace Twitter's New Timeline No one knows whether Twitter will survive until 2026. There are, however, things Twitter should do if they do want to please their fans and survive what some users have said is their ultimate fate... Read More thanks to a partnership between Twitter and Spotify. This is thanks to Twitter’s audio cards, which already supported iTunes and SoundCloud, gaining support for Spotify.

Twitter told TechCrunch, “Any Tweet or Moment with a Spotify track link will play the audio in-line, so you can listen to the song without having to leave your Twitter feed. The music conversation on Twitter is massive, the three most followed people on Twitter are musicians!”

Previously, Spotify songs shared on Twitter would link straight back to the service, but at least you can now hear a snippet before committing. This partnership keeps Spotify one step ahead of Apple Music Getting Started With Apple Music — What You Need to Know After the purchase of Beats last year, Apple has finally unleashed its streaming music service upon the world. Read More , which has managed to grow its userbase quickly since launching in July 2015.

Atari Vault Launches on SteamOS

Atari Vault is now available on SteamOS, with “global leaderboards, multiplayer modes, and full controller support” all included as standard. Atari Vault was originally launched on Windows in March, but is now coming to the Linux-based SteamOS What Is SteamOS? How to Start Gaming on Linux Gaming on Linux has always been hard... until SteamOS. What is SteamOS, what are its requirements, and can it replace Windows? Read More .


Atari Vault is a collection of 100 classic Atari games that first appeared on arcade cabinets and/or consoles in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. Games on offer include Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command, all of which are sure to please retro gaming fans.

Star Wars As Filmed With Drones

And finally, who needs expensive special effects when you have a couple of pimped-out drones and expert operators? Drone Wars, which is basically Star Wars as shot with drones, proves that special effects aren’t everything. Sure, there are still some on display, but most of this is real footage shot by Rotor Riot.

Corridor Digital is the company responsible for the final film, which shows R2-D2 piloting Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing as it’s chased through canyons and forests by TIE fighters. Add in some laser fire and music, and the sequence could easily pass for something from the actual Star Wars movies. The old Star Wars movies, at least.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Do you appreciate Microsoft’s efforts to crack down on crappy passwords? Will you be playing Minecraft‘s Battle mode? Is a 30-second clip of a song enough to play on Twitter? Are you interested in playing Atari Vault on SteamOS? What do you think of Star Wars recreated with drones?


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: Christiaan Colen via Flickr

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  1. Anonymous
    May 30, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    With hundreds of millions of people using Microsoft products world wide, there are no unique passwords, more so when the majority supposedly use a different password for each site they visit.

    "Lesson 1:

    Don't tell people your password when you have the same one for every account."
    A note to Gracie Truelove: The period terminating the above sentence should be placed after the word PASSWORD. The rest of the sentence just leads to compromised security.

  2. Anonymous
    May 30, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    “the most important thing to keep in mind when selecting a password is to choose one that is unique, and therefore hard to guess”
    With hundreds of millions of people using Windows, chances are there are no unique passwords, especially if everybody is being a good, little user and having a different password for each site they access. How does M$ determine "dumb" passwords? Do they just ban the 10,000 most used passwords?

    "Lesson 1:

    Don't tell people your password when you have the same one for every account."
    To Gracie Truelove: The period in the above sentence should definitely be placed after the word PASSWORD.