Tech News

NSA Malware Plan, Google Lawsuit, Angry Birds Epic, Learn Linux [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 13-03-2014

Today in Tech News Digest, the NSA wants to infect you with malware, a class-action over in-app purchases, the iPhone returns, Angry Birds Epic is epic, someone hits the 1 million Gamerscore milestone, a MOOC to help you learn Linux, and an Apple-inspired aluminium Nintendo Entertainment System.


The NSA Wants To Infect You With Malware

The NSA is in the business of implanting malware in order to spy on people, according to a new report detailing more documents from the Edward Snowden Snowden At SXSW, MtGox Bankruptcy, Titanfall Time, 8-Bit True Detective [Tech News Digest] Edward Snowden at SXSW, MtGox bankruptcy protection, Twitter fixes "rare" bug, Titanfall drops, Microsoft releases Power Cover for Surface 2, UC Browser HD v3.0 arrives, and 8-bit version of True Detective pops up on YouTube. Read More treasure trove. The Intercept claims the National Security Agency built an automated system designed to gain access to “millions of computers.

According to the report this widespread hacking was achieved with a number of different methods. As well as man-in-the-middle attacks and phishing emails with harmful links, the NSA stands accused of sometimes using Facebook to deliver the “implants,” though Facebook claims it has “no evidence of this alleged activity.

The NSA didn’t address the report specifically, instead saying in an emailed statement, “As the president made clear on 17 January, signals intelligence shall be collected exclusively where there is a foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose to support national and departmental missions, and not for any other purposes.

The Intercept report detailing TURBINE is a lengthy but worthy read for anyone interested in learning how a government agency allegedly delivered malware to ordinary citizens. And acts a reminder to be ever-vigilant when using the 25-year-old Web Internet Bill Of Rights, ASUS Chromebox, iOS 7.1, Between Two Ferns [Tech News Digest] The Internet needs bill of rights, Xbox Live suffers Titanfall outage, ASUS Chromebox sells well on Amazon, Neil Young's PonoPlayer is Kickstarter hit, Apple releases iOS 7.1, and Barack Obama appears on Between Two Ferns. Read More .

Google Sued Over In-App Purchases

Google is facing a class-action lawsuit over in-app purchases made on apps available through Google Play. The lawsuit, as reported on by GigaOM, has been filed by a New York woman who alleges her 5-year-old son spent $65.95 on “crystals” while playing ‘Marvel Run Jump Smash!’ on an Android tablet.


Apple previously faced a similar class-action lawsuit and had to pay settlements to everybody affected. Which suggests Google faces a tough time seeking an alternative outcome. Because kids are stupid.

Apple Reduces iPhone Return Period

Apple has reduced the time period you can return a new iPhone from 30 days to 14 days. This brings the iPhone in line with all other Apple products, which have been subject to the 14-day return policy for a long time. Some seem angered by this move, but Apple was probably being over-generous offering 30 days in the first place.

Angry Birds Epic Is A Turn-Based RPG

The next Angry Birds game has been revealed. Just like the new South Park game, The Stick Of Truth Love South Park? Buy Stick of Truth. Now. (NSFW) South Park: Stick of Truth is a polished adventure role-play game, drawing from both JRPGs and point and click adventures of yesteryear. If you like the show, you will love this game. Read More , Angry Birds Epic is a turn-based RPG. Each of the multicolored Angry Birds we’ve come to know and love represent a different character class, while the hated pigs are once more pitched as the villains of the piece.

An early version of Angry Birds Epic is being launched on iOS this week in Canada and Australia before a wider release on iOS, Android, and (gasp!) Windows Phone in all other territories later this year.


Stallion83 Hits Gamerscore Of 1 Million

A gamer calling himself Stallion83 has become the first person to achieve a Gamerscore of 1 million on Xbox Live. Gamerscore points are awarded for Achievements, and it’s taken a full eight years (since the release of the Xbox 360) for someone to reach the 1 million milestone.

Stallion83, real name Raymond Cox, hit the 1 million mark playing Titanfall The Titanfall Beta Is Over: How Was It? Xbox One and PC owners the world over have one game on their radar right now: Titanfall. Read More . And with just 200 people of the 80 million+ Xbox gamers known to have even reached 500,000 points, this is an extraordinary feat. Sure, he does nothing but play games all day, but… wait, this is a bad thing?!

Learn Linux With A Free edX MOOC

If you have ever wanted to learn all about Linux, then a new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) from The Linux Foundation and edX could be just for you. The ‘Introduction to Linux Open For All: Linux Foundation & edX Launch Course For Learning Linux Learning Linux is about to get easier and organized with a two pronged push. In a major educational initiative, The Linux Foundation is building a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) program in partnership with edX. Read More ‘ course originally cost $2,400 but is now available for free. And with Microsoft ending support for Windows XP on April 8 the timing of this couldn’t be better.

If Apple Had Made The NES…

And finally, we get to see what the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) would have looked like had Apple made it rather than Nintendo. This is thanks to a company called Analogue Interactive, which is releasing the Analogue Nt, a remastered NES hewn from a single piece of aluminium.


The NES was originally released in Japan as the Famicom in 1983, and is the most important games console ever released. So to see it re-engineered into this sleek, silver machine capable of playing all the original cartridges is a dream come true for retro gaming geeks 8 Of The Best Retro Gaming YouTube Channels [MUO Gaming] Read More .

Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.

Image Credit: MW238 via Flickr

Related topics: Angry Birds, Anti-Malware, Nintendo.

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  1. Kitty
    March 14, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Internet really has a lot to offer and this includes invasion of your privacy. I sure hope I dont get planted with that malware.

    Kids are not stupid. My 4 year old nephew actually tricked my aunt he says he likes this free app so my aunt puts her apple ID password so he could download the free app(for 15 minutes you can download all the apps you like free/paid without putting your password again) he has an idea about that and so his next move was to go run as faraway as he can and hide so my aunt cant see and then purchase the paid apps then after a month my aunt got shock when she received receipts emails from apple that she bought a lot of paid apps she said she didnt buy those apps how come she received those bill receipts and when we check what apps that was bought it was all games and that gives us the hint who the culprit was. XD My aunt has no idea at all about the 15 minute limit to download so yeah good thing I told her. Kids nowadays are more techy than the past generations. My mom was amazed by my nephews they know the finger gestures on ipad without anyone teaching them they find it out on their own. Kids are actually fast learners. Usual game apps with in app purchase lures gamers to pay to get more energy or gems or whatever so they could win and the kid just wanted to win thats why its a basic instinct for the kid to do everything just so he could revive his character so yeah he might have purchased without knowing at all but the problem is the kids can purchase without parental control and thats what Google and Apple needs to add on their next OS versions a Parental Control feature. I know in app purchases are important for developers but some apps have been pushy to make you avail those in app purchase its almost like an ad that pops up to distracts you each time. I'm on the mother's side on this one because you cant always watch your kids and see what they do on their gadgets unless you're a techy parent who can track/ limit your child's gadget usage. Google and Apple should learn from this. I had a problem on apple before because actually I accidentally bought some paid apps before and there's no way you can refund good thing the apps I accidentally bought range from $0.99 to $1.99 only but bummer those apps are not even worth paying at all this was when apple doesn't require password before purchasing an app so that's why I was annoyed for paying for those useless apps.

    Im not surprised theres an Angry Bird RPG they just followed the footsteps of Plants VS Zombie who made an rpg too.

    1 million for a Gamerscore is nice to have for a Gamer's bragging rights. Will Microsoft award him for it? XD I'm surprise he still has a GF because he spends more time playing than spending time with anyone or anything at all. LOL.

    Great move for linux to offer a MOOC for free this will definitely attract more X-Windows users to jump to an open source OS.

    • Dave P
      March 16, 2014 at 2:26 pm

      The reference to kids being stupid was meant to be ironic. The fact that a 5-year-old can do anything on a tablet proves they are anything but stupid when it comes to technology :)

  2. Jdub
    March 13, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    If the NSA is pushing stuff people need to rely on AV engines made outside the US. I hate to say it but companies like Sophos and Kaspersky (who found stuntex). The best option is multi scanning with something like Metascan then doing behavior analysis.

  3. Tom W
    March 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    I get the feeling that today is going to be a bad day. I open my emails to find that some sick is trying to convince people that they have cancer in order to install malware, and I open my RSS feed to find out that the NSA is also infecting people with malware and botnets. Can America dissolve the NSA and replace it with a new Snowden-run security unit already?

    • Tom W
      March 13, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      That's supposed to read "some sick [expletive]", except I used angled brackets and the comment system thought I was trying to write HTML.

    • Dave P
      March 16, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      If Snowden ever sets foot on American soil then I fear he'll never breath fresh air again. :(

    • Tom W
      March 17, 2014 at 3:07 am

      My common sense tells me that Snowden will be looking over his shoulder the rest of his life, but I choose not to believe that because it's too depressing. Snowden has done so much to open our eyes to the monumental abuse of trust. He released information that was used by presidential advisors to asses an impossibly complex situation. And yet, he is labelled treasonous. It has eroded my faith in humanity more than pretty much anything else in recent times.

  4. Sa J
    March 13, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    from GigaOM: "In the case of Google, users typically enter a password to make a purchase, but this is not the case during a 30 minute “window” following an initial purchase. During the window period, the game maker can offer users — including children — an opportunity to buy things without re-entering the password..."

    This answers my question from my last comment. Still, pay the cc bill and take responsibility.

    • Dave P
      March 16, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      There is surely an argument for closing that 30-minute loophole though. I'm not saying Google is to blame -- clearly the child and parent are -- but moving forward Google should probably act.

  5. Sa J
    March 13, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    "Google is facing a class-action lawsuit over in-app purchases made on apps available through Google Play. The lawsuit, as reported on by GigaOM, has been filed by a New York woman who alleges her 5-year-old son spent $65.95 on “crystals” while playing ‘Marvel Run Jump Smash!’ on an Android tablet."

    Isn't there an option to have the Play store ask for a password or pin number when making purchases? Never share your password/pin, especially with a 5 year old. Situation avoided. I agree with the tweet; take responsibility.

  6. jkendal
    March 13, 2014 at 11:46 am

    From the NSA article: “As the president made clear on 17 January, signals intelligence shall be collected exclusively where there is a foreign intelligence or counterintelligence purpose to support national and departmental missions, and not for any other purposes.”

    Uh-huh. And if you believe that I have some prime beach-front property on the moon I'll sell you for a very reasonable price.

    • Dave P
      March 16, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      You can call the President of the United States a liar if you wish, but I couldn't and wouldn't ever do such a thing!