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Free yet illegal Premier League and Game of Thrones streams could help criminals steal your money using malware


Free illegal streams of films, TV shows and sports fixtures could end up costing you a lot, cyber security experts have warned. 

According to a new report, pirates are letting criminals plant malware on their sites in exchange for money, with the content simply being used as bait to hook in as many potential victims as possible. 

This malware can be used to hijack a target’s computer and steal sensitive information from it, such as bank details and passwords. 

Digital piracy is becoming an increasingly big problem. More people watched the latest season of Game of Thrones illegally than legally, it emerged recently, and the Premier League has been working to block illicit streams of matches since the beginning of the 2017/18 season.

A new report has just been released, titled Cracking Down on Digital Piracy, which links piracy with serious security risks. 

It was created in consultation with the Federation Against Copyright Theft, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, the Intellectual Property Office, Police Scotland, Entura International, the Government Agency Intelligence Network and broadcasters – organisations that are all campaigning fiercely against piracy.

However, security researchers say their warnings aren’t merely designed to scare people into avoiding illegal streaming sites.

“By using potentially harmful adverts to persuade unsuspecting users to click on links and install ransomware, criminals are extending their victim base and accessing vast amounts of information,” Raj Samani, McAfee Fellow and chief scientist, told the Independent.

“Ransomware and malware services are surprisingly easy to find online at very low cost, enabling even the most amateur criminals to attack individuals. 

“Criminals are well aware of the huge potential for financial gain when launching ransomware attacks – one group we tracked made over £49,000 in just 10 weeks by attacking organisations in this way.”

Earlier this year, a report from the National Crime Agency concluded that “very little skill” is required to become a cyber criminal, due to the availability of online tutorials, video guides and free hacking tools. 

Security firm Check Point also discovered a vulnerability that allowed criminals to attack Kodi box users through subtitles. The issue has now been fixed.

“In the case of illicit streaming, I don’t see this case as a major issue because, fortunately, there are relatively small numbers of people visiting these sites,” Simon Crosby, the CTO of Bromium, told the Independent.

“The people that do visit them think they are being clever and getting something for free, and then they get hit. Bad guys are incredibly good at taking advantage of these suckers, and a trend such as illegal streaming is always something they are going to jump on.”

According to the piracy report, cyber criminals can make hundreds of millions of pounds of profits per year by monetising stolen content.

They’re also using the Dark Web and anonymising tools to sell information, including customer data they’ve acquired through malware, without being caught.

“As a society, we continue to be in a state of conflict when it comes to data. On the one hand, we’re often outraged over regular news around data breaches, while on the other hand we think nothing about trading our identities for watching something for free or another enticement, often volunteering intimate data such as medical or financial information,” added Mr Samani.

“When we think about our data and where it’s going, who is using it and what we’re giving it away for, we need to be even more cautious and hard-nosed about entering into data transactions by driving harder bargains and asking ourselves smart questions such as who our data will be shared with and how it’s going to be protected.”




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Jelly Babies get a tropical twist


Popular sweets Jelly Babies’ hot new flavours makeover will give fans a taste of the tropics whatever the weather.

New flavours include banana, mango and pineapple – the soft, fruit bursting jelly chews promise to give a taste of summer all year round.

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New tropical flavours (Maynards Bassetts)

The tropical range is the first time Maynards Bassetts have innovated with the flavour of classic favourite Jelly Babies.

The sweets giant also recently celebrated its creations by launching the UK’s first sweet art gallery in London’s Soho.

The unique pop-up hit the sweet spot with art and candy lovers alike who were able to immerse themselves and enjoy their favourite Maynard Bassetts all under one roof.

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Artworks made using the nation’s favourite sweets (Maynards Bassetts)

Watch the video featuring an array of artworks inspired by and made using the UK’s favourite sweets.




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CCleaner: Extremely popular cyber security app infected millions of users with a virus


More than two million people used an extremely popular software cleaning tool that had been infected with malware.

CCleaner, which has a high ranting on Google Play and has been downloaded by more than 50 million Android users, was compromised “in a sophisticated manner” in August, and the problem was only spotted and fixed in mid-September. 

It’s also avaialble on Windows and Mac.

Piriform, which is owned by Avast and develops the app, has fixed the issues and apologised to users.

“We estimate that 2.27 million people used the affected software,” said Piriform. “We resolved this quickly and believe no harm was done to any of our users.”

The malicious code attempted to connect computers with recently registered web domains – a common tool used by hackers to download further malware onto infected computers.

“Our new parent company, the security company Avast, determined on the 12th of September that the 32-bit version of our CCleaner v5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud v1.07.3191 products, which may have been used by up to 3% of our users, had been compromised in a sophisticated manner,” it said.

The company says it released safe versions of both programs within three days, but the modified version of the software had been available for a month.

It added: “The compromise could cause the transmission of non-sensitive data (computer name, IP address, list of installed software, list of active software, list of network adapters) to a 3rd party computer server in the USA. 

“We have no indications that any other data has been sent to the server. Working with US law enforcement, we caused this server to be shut down on the 15th of September before any known harm was done.”

It’s a particularly embarrassing error, because people use CCleaner to clean up their devices. 

Piriform’s vice president of products, Paul Yung, said: “We would like to apologize for a security incident that we have recently found in CCleaner version 5.33.6162 and CCleaner Cloud version 1.07.3191.

“A suspicious activity was identified on September 12 2017, where we saw an unknown IP address receiving data from software found in version 5.33.6162 of CCleaner, and CCleaner Cloud version 1.07.3191, on 32-bit Windows systems.

“Based on further analysis, we found that the 5.33.6162 version of CCleaner and the 1.07.3191 version of CCleaner Cloud was illegally modified before it was released to the public, and we started an investigation process.

“We also immediately contacted law enforcement units and worked with them on resolving the issue.”

Mr Yung said the company could not yet confirm how the malicious code had appeared in its software and “would not like to speculate”, but added that an investigation was “ongoing”.

“Before delving into the technical details, let me say that the threat has now been resolved in the sense that the rogue server is down, other potential servers are out of the control of the attacker, and we’re moving all existing CCleaner v5.33.6162 users to the latest version,” he said.

“Users of CCleaner Cloud version 1.07.3191 have received an automatic update. In other words, to the best of our knowledge, we were able to disarm the threat before it was able to do any harm.We are taking detailed steps internally so that this does not happen again, and to ensure your security while using any of our Piriform products.

“Users of our cloud version have received an automated update. For all other users, if you have not already done so, we encourage you to update your CCleaner software to version 5.34 or higher.” 

The latest version of CCleaner is available to download here

Additional reporting by PA




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Pirate treasure: How criminals make millions from illegal streaming


Digital pirates can make hundreds of millions of pounds of profits per year by monetising stolen content, according to a new report.

Cracking Down on Digital Piracy has detailed several of the ways in which criminals are earning money from piracy.

The first stage, however, is actually getting the content online.

So-called “release groups” compete with each other to source content and get it up first, in order to attract the most traffic, downloads and money, the report says. 

With new releases, a “cammer” will be used to record the film at the cinema, and can even upload the content in real-time. Release groups can also use editing software to combine video footage stolen from one source with audio stolen from another.

They can rip content from online services like iTunes too, and the report says there has been a “significant rise” in the number of streams ripped from live TV and video-on-demand, usually high-profile sports fixtures.

They’re still ripping content from DVDs and Blu-Rays too, using specialist software, but this is understandably in decline.

One relatively new way to access illegal content is through so-called Kodi boxes. According to the report, significant numbers of British criminals are importing these boxes wholesale through entirely legal channels, modifying them at home and selling them on.

Others, meanwhile, are working with “sophisticated criminal networks” to bring them to the UK.

Once pirates have put the content online – often on multiple sites, to maximise their chances of being found by users, and to ensure they remain online even if one of their sites is shut down – they can start monetising it. 

The operators of streaming sites make the most money from piracy, though it isn’t clear if they’re always made up of the same people as release groups. 

According to the report, site operators “often steal innocent people’s credit card details first, so they can access hundreds of premium channels under those people’s names and cover their own tracks. They then put these streams online for their customers to watch and make money from them.”

Advertising is key to “the majority” of digital piracy groups, the report adds.

“These ads are typically banner ads or pop-up windows for casinos, dating sites and download services, often based in Russia or China,” it explains. “But some of them feature ads from legitimate brands, helping them fake an air of respectability.

“Many of these ads are placed through ‘adtech platforms’ that automate the process of publishing advertising across the internet, which means legitimate brands often don’t know exactly where their ads are going but can give the site an impression of respectability.”

Some sites also offer paid-for “premium” subscription plans to users, which promise no advertising and faster downloads.

Prices and packages vary, tend to range between £5 and £50 per month, the report says.

The most worrying claim outlined in the report is that other cyber criminals are paying pirates to let them put malware on their sites.

“The criminals behind digital piracy often make the content freely available as ‘bait’ to attract large numbers of visitors,” the report says. 

“They then make money by charging other cyber criminals to put malware on the site, enabling those criminals to hijack the users’ computers.”

As we’ve seen in recent months, thieves have started targeting content creators too, and are now trying to earn money by hacking and threatening to leak unreleased TV shows and films.

A group attempted to hold Disney ransom by claiming to have got its hands on a copy of Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge earlier this year. Disney later concluded that it was not hacked.

Similarly, a hacking group called The Dark Overlord demanded money from Netflix after leaking an unfinished episode of Orange is the New Black.

“People seem to think that because parts of the mainstream media don’t see this as a big deal, that there’s not organised crime behind the selling,” said the Intellectual Property Office. 

“Time will reveal the tens of millions of pounds involved in these international networks, and the potentially crippling impact on creation in broadcasting.”

The report was created in consultation with the Federation Against Copyright Theft, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, the Intellectual Property Office, Police Scotland, Entura International, the Government Agency Intelligence Network and broadcasters.




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Miranda Kerr's former chef reveals her supermodel diet secrets


When your looks are how you make a living, it’s understandable you have more motivation to keep your body in tip-top condition.

Take supermodel Miranda Kerr for example – with her strong, toned, slim physique, you’d be forgiven for thinking the former Victoria’s Secret model survived on a diet of sad kale smoothies, plain grilled chicken breast and seeds.

But you’d be wrong. According to her former chef, Kerr’s diet is all about moderation, and she does indeed enjoy curry, chocolate and cake from time to time.

Like many healthy people, Kerr follows the 80/20 rule – eating healthily 80 per cent of the time and indulging in a little of what she fancies the other 20 per cent. 

But of course, most of the time Kerr sticks to a healthy diet which includes lots of fruit and vegetables, salmon and gluten-free pasta, according to Kate McAloon, who has also worked with Steven Spielberg, Courtney Cox and Gwyneth Paltrow.

“She does eat clean, she really believes in the 80/20 diet,” McAloon told the Australian Daily Telegraph.

“She is very health orientated and it works for her, she looks great.”

McAloon revealed that Kerr was a particular fan of her special curry and coconut torte, although what goes into those we do not know. 

Since becoming a mother to her son, Flynn, Kerr’s cooking skills have also grown, according to McAloon.

It just goes to show you don’t have to deprive yourself of anything to stay healthy, fit and strong. It’s all about moderation. 

At the end of the day, life’s too short not to eat cake or curry or chocolate, and those foods are just too delicious. 

Following the 80/20 rule seems to be working for Kerr, so perhaps we should all take a leaf out of her book (just make sure the ratio is the right way round).




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iPhone X release date: New, premium Apple phone might not be easily available until 2018, report claims


You might not be able to get hold of an iPhone X until 2018, according to a new report.

The new handset is so hard to make and in such short supply that it will be difficult to buy until the new year, according to respected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. That’s despite Apple already having pushed back the release date of the premium phone to 3 November – a month and a half after the iPhone 8 comes out.

As such, probably the only way to get hold of the new phone anytime soon is when pre-orders open early in the morning of 27 October. The X will cost $999 or the same in pounds or euros, making it by far the most expensive phone Apple has ever made.

Mr Kuo says in a new report that he expects the “fullscreen design and facial recognition features will drive replacement demand for the iPhone X”, according to Macrumors. But while there’ll be a lot of people wanting to buy it, supply will be constrained and will stay that way into the new year.

Those problems will mean that Apple will suffer from “severe short supply for a while”. In practise, that will probably mean that even people pre-ordering the phones before the release date will be subject to long delivery times.

Apple moved the release date of the phone back in part to encourage people to instead buy the iPhone 8, which will be far more readily available. Staggering the dates means that the more flashy iPhone X won’t dominate the discussion or people’s choices, meaning both that the less premium phone will get a good showing and also that supply problems will be lessened.

The difference in supply is thought to be in large part a result of the way the two phones are made. While the iPhone 8 takes the basic design of the iPhone 7 – itself a version of the iPhones 6 and 6s – the iPhone X includes a range of innovative new designs, including a screen that sweeps all the way across the front of the phone and uses new display technology.

Both phones were unveiled at an event in California last week, which also saw the introduction of a new Apple Watch and Apple TV, and the launch of new software.




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Bill Gates thinks an infectious disease outbreak could kill 30 million people at some point in the next decade — here's how worried you should be


As hurricanes and other natural disasters ravage the world and the threat of nuclear war looms, it’s hard to assess which risks for humanity are really the scariest right now.

But one of the biggest threats out there is one of the oldest: infectious disease, which can emerge naturally or be human-made, as in a case of bioterrorism.

As Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in their recently released “Goalkeepers” report, disease — both infectious and chronic — is the biggest public health threat the world faces in the next decade. And although Gates said on a press call that “you can be pretty hopeful there’ll be big progress” on chronic disease, we are still unprepared to deal with the infectious variety.

Gates has repeatedly stated that he sees a pandemic as the greatest immediate threat to humanity on the planet.

“Whether it occurs by a quirk of nature or at the hand of a terrorist, epidemiologists say a fast-moving airborne pathogen could kill more than 30 million people in less than a year,” Gates wrote in an op-ed for Business Insider earlier this year. “And they say there is a reasonable probability the world will experience such an outbreak in the next 10-15 years.”

Gates is right about the gravity of that threat, according to experts in the field.

George Poste is an ex officio member of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, a group created to assess the state of biodefense in the US,.

“We are coming up on the centenary of the 1918 influenza pandemic,” he told Business Insider. “We’ve been fortunately spared anything on that scale for the past 100 years, but it is inevitable that a pandemic strain of equal virulence will emerge.”

The 1918 pandemic killed approximately 50 million people around the globe, making it one of the deadliest events in human history.

David Rakestraw, a program manager overseeing chemical, biological and explosives security at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Tom Slezak, the laboratory’s associate program leader for bioinformatics, also agree with Gates. 

“Both natural and intentional biological threats pose significant threats and merit our nation’s attention to mitigate their impact,” they told Business Insider in an email.

It’s possible that a major outbreak could be intentionally created as the result of a biological weapon, but Poste thinks a serious bioterrorism attack is unlikely due to the complexity of pulling something like that off.

It’s very likely, however, that a highly dangerous disease would naturally emerge — and the consequences of that pandemic would be just as severe.

Regardless of how a disease starts to spread, preparedness efforts for pandemics are the same, according to Poste. And the recent outbreaks of Zika and Ebola have highlighted the need for more heightened disease surveillance capabilities. We’re still getting a handle on the health effects of Zika — and it seems like the mosquito-borne disease may be even more severe than we thought.

Experts have long advocated for better ways to recognize emerging threats before they become epidemics or pandemics. Poste also said we need to improve rapid diagnostic tests and get better at developing new therapeutics and vaccines — something Gates highlighted as a weakness in the “Goalkeepers” report as well.

Until that happens, that threat remains far more real than many of us realize.

Read more:

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• This chart is easy to interpret: It says we’re screwed
• How Uber became the world’s most valuable startup
• These 4 things could trigger the next crisis in Europe

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.




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Forget the $1,000 iPhone X — Apple's best iPhone is now its least expensive, at just $350


Apple introduced a new iPhone on Tuesday that looks incredible, is faster than ever, and… is outrageously expensive. The base model costs $1,000. One thousand dollars!

We’re still talking about phones, right? This is a phone?

Assuredly, millions of people will excitedly plunk down a full stack for the iPhone X. It’s more than just a phone — it’s a status symbol. I get it. It’s a much more affordable version of a Ferrari. Fine.

But I’m a Honda Civic kinda guy.

I want something affordable, powerful enough, and long-lasting. I’m not trying to impress anyone, nor am I the kind of person who lives on the bleeding edge of tech gadgets. That’s why I was excited to see that, alongside the announcement of the iPhone X, Apple quietly made the iPhone SE $50 less expensive. 

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At $350 to start, with 32 GB of storage and the internals of an iPhone 6S, the iPhone SE is the perfect Honda Civic of smartphones.

  • It’s beyond capable in terms of horsepower, though it’s not going to blow anyone away. The chip inside of it, an Apple A9 CPU, is the same chip that powers Apple’s iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, and the most recent iPad models.
  • The price is affordable when compared to most smartphones, and it’s especially low compared to other iPhone models. The new iPhone 8 starts at $700 (to say nothing of the iPhone X’s high price tag). 
  • Its rear camera is on par with all modern smartphones (once again, the camera is pulled from the iPhone 6S).
  • It runs iOS, the most reliable, user-friendly smartphone operating system on the planet.
  • It has a headphone jack!

The one limitation of the iPhone SE — its relatively small size — is actually something I personally prefer. I don’t watch movies or TV shows on my phone for the most part, and I’m not someone who buys the Plus versions of iPhones. 

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Of course, if you’re looking for something with a slightly larger, prettier screen, the iPhone 6S is a $100 step up. Perhaps you prefer the rounder design? There are a variety of options for you in the iPhone line, seen above.

But if you’re anything like me, the perfectly utilitarian, adorably vintage-looking, shockingly affordable iPhone SE is the best iPhone option by a mile.

Read more:

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• This chart is easy to interpret: It says we’re screwed
• How Uber became the world’s most valuable startup
• These 4 things could trigger the next crisis in Europe

Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2016. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.




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Snapchat cuts off Al Jazeera in Saudi Arabia, leading news posts to disappear



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    Designed by Pierpaolo Lazzarini from Italian company Jet Capsule. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.

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    A humanoid robot gestures during a demo at a stall in the Indian Machine Tools Expo, IMTEX/Tooltech 2017 held in Bangalore

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    A humanoid robot gestures during a demo at a stall in the Indian Machine Tools Expo, IMTEX/Tooltech 2017 held in Bangalore

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    Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea

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    Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea

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    The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie ‘Avatar’ and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company

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    Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea

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    Waseda University’s saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi

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    Waseda University’s saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session

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    A test line of a new energy suspension railway resembling the giant panda is seen in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

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    A test line of a new energy suspension railway, resembling a giant panda, is seen in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

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    A concept car by Trumpchi from GAC Group is shown at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China

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    A Mirai fuel cell vehicle by Toyota is displayed at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China

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    A visitor tries a Nissan VR experience at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China

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    A man looks at an exhibit entitled ‘Mimus’ a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London

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    A new Israeli Da-Vinci unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by Elbit Systems is displayed during the 4th International conference on Home Land Security and Cyber in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv

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    Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S

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    The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. This is a production preview of the Jaguar I-PACE, which will be revealed next year and on the road in 2018

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    Japan’s On-Art Corp’s CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company’s eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot ‘TRX03’ and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan

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    Japan’s On-Art Corp’s eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot ‘TRX03’

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    Japan’s On-Art Corp’s eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot ‘TRX03’ performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan

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    Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company’s concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China

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    The interior of Singulato Motors’ concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China

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    Singulato Motors’ concept car Tigercar P0

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    A picture shows Singulato Motors’ concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China

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    Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota’s “connected strategy” in Tokyo.
    The Connected company is a part of seven Toyota in-house companies that was created in April 2016

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    A Toyota Motors employee demonstrates a smartphone app with the company’s pocket plug-in hybrid (PHV) service on the cockpit of the latest Prius hybrid vehicle during Toyota’s “connected strategy” press briefing in Tokyo

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    An exhibitor charges the battery cells of AnyWalker, an ultra-mobile chasis robot which is able to move in any kind of environment during Singapore International Robo Expo

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    A robot with a touch-screen information apps stroll down the pavillon at the Singapore International Robo Expo

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    An exhibitor demonstrates the AnyWalker, an ultra-mobile chasis robot which is able to move in any kind of environment during Singapore International Robo Expo

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    Robotic fishes swim in a water glass tank displayed at the Korea pavillon during Singapore International Robo Expo

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    An employee shows a Samsung Electronics’ Gear S3 Classic during Korea Electronics Show 2016 in Seoul, South Korea

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    Visitors experience Samsung Electronics’ Gear VR during the Korea Electronics Grand Fair at an exhibition hall in Seoul, South Korea

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    Amy Rimmer, Research Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, demonstrates the car manufacturer’s Advanced Highway Assist in a Range Rover, which drives the vehicle, overtakes and can detect vehicles in the blind spot, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

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    Chris Burbridge, Autonomous Driving Software Engineer for Tata Motors European Technical Centre, demonstrates the car manufacturer’s GLOSA V2X functionality, which is connected to the traffic lights and shares information with the driver, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

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    Ford EEBL Emergency Electronic Brake Lights is demonstrated during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire

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    Full-scale model of ‘Kibo’ on display at the Space Dome exhibition hall of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center, in Tsukuba, north-east of Tokyo, Japan

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    Miniatures on display at the Space Dome exhibition hall of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center, in Tsukuba, north-east of Tokyo, Japan.
    In its facilities, JAXA develop satellites and analyse their observation data, train astronauts for utilization in the Japanese Experiment Module ‘Kibo’ of the International Space Station (ISS) and develop launch vehicles

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    The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to the music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight. At this biennial event, the participating companies exhibit their latest service robotic technologies and components

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    The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight

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    Government and industry are working together on a robot-like autopilot system that could eliminate the need for a second human pilot in the cockpit

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    Aurora Flight Sciences’ technicians work on an Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automantion System (ALIAS) device in the firm’s Centaur aircraft at Manassas Airport in Manassas, Va.

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    Flight Simulator

    Stefan Schwart and Udo Klingenberg preparing a self-built flight simulator to land at Hong Kong airport, from Rostock, Germany

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    Dishonored: Death of the Outsider review: Enough bite to keep things interesting


    Arkane Studios will forever be characterised by a relentless pursuit for more: more pathways, more abilities, more approaches to problem-solving. That’s no less true of their latest creation Death of the Outsider, an extension chapter to Dishonored 2 – a game that, in itself, echoed its predecessors but still felt innovative in its own right. 

    By far, the smartest choice here is in its choice of protagonist, with Death of an Outsider checking in on one Billie Lurk (voiced by Rosario Dawson). She’s known to fans of the franchise as having quite the colourful history: a street urchin turned deadly assassin, who betrayed her mentor Daud before escaping into a life as enigmatic sea captain Meagan Foster, which is where we meet her in Dishonored 2.

    There’s enough intrigue already established there that Billie’s story feels immediately intimate, and engaging, as she goes on the hunt for Daud in an effort to earn his forgiveness.

    When they finally meet, Billie’s mission becomes an earth-shattering one for the world of Dishonored: the death of a god. Specifically, the Outsider, who has spent centuries meddling in mortal affairs. Occasionally, a chosen few are granted with supernatural abilities drawing power from his lair, the Void: essentially the basic set-up for why Dishonored‘s protagonists so far – Corvo Attano and Emily Kaldwin – have such cool tricks up their sleeves. 

    Death of the Outsider imbues Billie with four of these abilities (with a slight twist), but there’s an easy balance created here: her powers are familiar enough for players to dive into without hesitation, but differ enough to feel fresh. Displace, for example, is a standard teleport power with the addition of a ghostly marker, though the real kick is the ability to transport yourself inside of a person’s body and explode them from within. Foresight freezes time and allows your mind to explore your immediate surroundings, Semblance allows you to steal someone’s identity, and Void Strike will help clear your way of enemies.

    You can also listen to rats. It’s a cute addition that doesn’t particularly add anything to the game unless you’re a dedicated fan of solving riddles delivered exclusively in high-pitched, childish voices, but the effort is appreciated; it’s impressive to see so much put into moulding Billie into a hero of her very own, to the point it’s almost a shame she wasn’t offered her own full game, as opposed to this five-mission addition. 

    Speaking of, Death of the Outsider‘s levels certainly aren’t as individually memorable as the Clockwork Mansion or Dust District levels of Dishonored 2. Which does and doesn’t matter to a degree: it feels more of the same, but since the original game flourished already merely on the intricacies of its environment design and atmosphere, that doesn’t feel like much of a burden. What’s more interesting, in fact, is the addition of new side missions available in the form of contracts; tasks that have enough of a level of intrigue and problem-solving not to feel like arbitrary pit-stops. 

    What’s been removed, however, is the Chaos system; though you can just as easily play as a silent assassin who never gets caught, or a monstrous fiend who throws grenades every which way, those actions no longer have any effect on the story outside of the usual achievements. It’s a little frustrating for those used to seeing Dishonored‘s gameplay as essentially binary, since the game’s design seems less focused on the ability to complete missions in a dual manner; some of the contracts, even, outright demand murder or for you to remain utterly undetected. 

    A game of compromises, perhaps. Yet, it’s hard to feel frustrated with Arkane’s lack when the studio has gone so out of its way to offer more, to be in a process of continual creation. In that way, Death of the Outsider hits the nail on the head when it comes to additional game chapters: it’s a sink straight back into the comfortable and the familiar, but with a quick bite to keep attention from slacking.




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