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  1. Epic seems to have paid $10.5 million for Control’s PC exclusivity Money likely came as advance against earnings ahead of Epic Games Store sales. First image of article image gallery. Please visit the source link to see all images. At this point, we know Epic is committed to paying a lot of money for exclusive games to attract players to its Epic Games Store. Now, we seem to know how much it paid up front for at least one of those exclusives: €9.49 million (about $10.45 million at today's exchange rates). The EGS exclusive in question is Remedy and 505 Games' supernatural shooter Control, and the number in question comes buried in an Italian earnings report from 505 Games parent company Digital Bros. (as noticed by analyst Daniel Ahmad). That figure is listed in two tables in the document, corresponding to total revenue from Control and total revenue from the Epic Games Store, both for the period ending June 30, 2019. "Revenue comes from the computer version of Control," the report reads, according to a rough translation of a portion of the document. "The game was released on August 27 but the structure of the marketplace who requested the PC exclusivity has made possible to gain the revenue starting from this quarter." “We don't comment on the terms of our deals,” an Epic Games representative told GameDaily in response to a request for comment. "Everyone should play Control; it's really good." Back in July, Ooblets developer Glumberland revealed via blog post that the money it received up front from Epic represented "a minimum guarantee on sales that would match what we’d be wanting to earn if we were just selling Ooblets across all the stores." Epic's Sergei Galyonkin has also said that Epic's exclusivity deals tend to be structured as minimum guarantees against future sales. Assuming Digital Bros. got a similar deal, that means the publisher won't make any additional money from Epic Games Store sales of Control until it earns back the €9.49 million upfront payment. For context, at $60 per sale and Epic's standard 88% revenue share, Control would have to sell roughly 200,000 PC copies for Digital Bros. to meet that minimum (or more if the average sales price comes down due to discounts). Guaranteeing that revenue up front, though, helps Digital Bros. avoid uncertainty in its balance sheet and, in turn, helps Epic bring in new customers to its growing storefront. Back in 2017, Digital Bros. revealed that it would be paying a royalty of 45 percent of net sales from Control to the developers at Remedy. And last month, Remedy CEO Tero Virtala said the company spent between €20 and €30 million ($22 to $33 million) to develop the game, which is also available on Xbox One and PS4. "It's been about three years now and at the peak of production we had about 100 developers on average," Virtala added. "I can't give you the exact number, but within one-to-two million units, we will have broken even. After that we are profitable." The PC version of 505 Games's co-op adventure Journey to the Savage Planet will also be an Epic Games Store exclusive when it launches next January. Source: Epic seems to have paid $10.5 million for Control’s PC exclusivity (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image gallery, please visit the above link)
  2. Review: Control is Remedy’s best game yet—and a ray tracing masterpiece The promise of solid games like Alan Wake, Quantum Break has finally been fulfilled. Enlarge / This is what it looks (and feels) like to play the telekinetic insanity of Remedy Entertainment's latest game, Control. Remedy Entertainment Game details Developer: Remedy Entertainment Publisher: 505 Games Platform: Windows 10 (reviewed), Xbox One, PS4 Release Date: August 27, 2019 ESRB Rating: M for Mature Price: $60 Links: Amazon | EGS | Official website Gamers of a certain age and persuasion have been waiting years for this: a video game from Remedy Studios that feels like a worthy successor to the studio's 2001 breakout Max Payne. The Finnish studio has been trying for years to pull this off, albeit with less emphasis on MP's Matrix-like bullet-time combat and more emphasis on dimension-shifting battles, memorable characters, and serious intrigue. If you've appreciated the developer's attempts for the past decade-plus, including Alan Wake and Quantum Break—or even if you found those attempts close-but-not-quite—Control should land on your must-play list before year's end. Consider its status on our end-of-the-year list a given, in spite of some imperfections and fumbles. And if you paid for one of the newest Nvidia graphics cards on PC, complete with a dedicated ray tracing chip, fast forward that must-play recommendation to "ASAP." Control is exactly the showcase graphical achievement that will ease any buyer's remorse. Fling the boxes, sip the Jesse juice Control takes its admittedly forgettable name from the game's fictionalized US agency, the Federal Bureau of Control, or FBC. (Sorry, Janet Jackson fans.) This agency was established decades ago in an effort to contain, research, and possibly exploit a supernatural discovery—the likes of which would make all those "Invade Area 51" Facebook groups blush. Within the game's opening minutes, your hero, Jesse Faden, declares what she's doing at the FBC's doorstep: she was the sole survivor of this agency's "ground zero" event as a child, and she's come all this way to find the brother she lost on that day. A few mysteries remain unanswered when she arrives, like how she knew her brother might be here and why Jesse's face is all over the agency's walls as a portrait. (This is explained later, but I'm leaving it vague for now in the course of our spoiler-free coverage.) But clearly, the FBC was expecting Jesse, and conveniently enough, she soon realizes she's had some powers within her all along. She uses these powers to quell the sudden, terrifying bursts of activity within the FBC, all identifiable by glowing red clouds and a creepy murmur of simultaneous, nonsensical voices. When she arrives, she's informed that she's been named head of the agency, just as its leadership and research teams have begun vanishing or, worse, succumbing to forces that turn them into violent, shapeshifting monsters. (It's a bonkers transition of power within an American agency, but I have to wonder whether Remedy thought the angle seemed weirder in a more innocent political era.) By tapping into this slew of murmuring voices and shapeshifting forms (dubbed "The Hiss"), Jesse begins embracing her own supernatural powers, which she learns about one at a time while descending further and further into the trippy underbelly of the FBC. And her resulting arsenal of abilities makes her one of the coolest gaming superheroes we've seen in a while. In terms of third-person combat mechanics, the easiest comparison point is Remedy's own Quantum Break, which revolved around time manipulation. More accurately, Jesse errs on the side of telekinesis and material manipulation. She can use her mind to lift and throw most any object inside the FBC, and in a pinch, she can even break off chunks of ground, ceiling, or wall to use as deadly projectiles. No matter the size of the object, Jesse can likely use her mind to fling it across the room. It's the game's coolest party trick—its gravity gun, its Quake rocket launcher, its Super Mario jump. That power must be balanced with other kinetic abilities, all limited by a recharging "power" meter that drains when used. Eventually, Jesse learns how to warp-jump, which works both as a dodge and a tricky way to fly around; hypnotize her foes into joining her side as limited-time combatants; create a protective, temporary shield while running through danger; and more. Jesse also packs heat in the form of the Service Weapon, a special pistol taken from the FBC's former chief. Jesse can use her powers to transform this pistol at will, turning it into a shotgun, a machine gun, a railgun, and other weapons. Like in Halo, only two weapon forms can be set at a time, but unlike Halo, these weapons draw from their own "energy" pool of ammunition, which recharges on a regular basis. In practice, this juggling of two energy meters makes for some of the most phenomenal third-person combat I've ever seen. Imagine this: a well-rounded cast of foes storms Jesse's position in a massive, vertically staged battle arena, and each enemy comes with its own weapons, tactics, and trippy perks (particularly the floating baddies who easily dodge any flung objects). Successful combat requires constantly dodging and keeping an eye out for enemies that might suddenly appear in a mist, all while alternating between your pistol's modes of fire and your supernatural pool of Jesse juice. Those four enemies ahead of you, rushing your position in a veritable row? Fling a table at them to knock them all down at once, then turn to the right to shoot a floater before putting the hurt on a grenade-launching creature on a balcony. Once you've weakened the launching foe, if it's close enough to your position, you can hide behind a crumbling wall for long enough to convert it into an ally so that it helps you finish off the rest of the attacking fray. I ran into so many examples like this, where I always felt like the game pushed my energy resources to their limits to force me to make crucial tactical decisions while shuffling through a variety of satisfying superpowers. No other Remedy action game—not even Max Payne—has felt this fun. Looks great on any platform—but ray tracing reigns All the while, every single thing you're blasting and flinging has a clearly visible effect on the structures and geometry around you, and that emphasis on destructible environments is met by an oil-slick prism swirl that floods the air when corrupted "Hiss" enemies explode. (I'll take this trippy effect over realistically snapping body parts any day if it looks this cool.) Even without its wild stir of combat, Remedy nails a pretty incredible aesthetic. The FBC unfolds as a glossy, professional government facility, one that's eventually bombarded with endless, spiraling ceilings, randomly warping walls (usually in arresting geometric patterns), and overgrowth of seemingly organic blobs. Plus, if you've played a Remedy game in the past 13 years, you know the studio loves an opportunity to borrow liberally from the book of David Lynch, and without spoiling its weirder moments and set pieces, I'll simply say that the game's visual leaps in logic fit neatly into the game's otherworldly story without seeming like a ripoff of Blue Velvet or Twin Peaks. All of which is to say: if performance is solid on current-gen gaming consoles, then you're already in for a visually memorable time. But we don't yet have impressions of the game on Xbox One or PlayStation 4 systems, so we don't know on that front just yet. In good news, our tests on Windows 10 were quite revealing... because we went to town on its ray tracing pipeline. The above gallery includes captions and explanations for a bunch of after-and-before moments where I turned on the game's ray tracing options at the game's maximum "high" setting, then paused and captured the same moment with ray tracing completely disabled. In some cases, there's no discernible difference, since plenty of the game has been built to look good across all platforms. In particular, ray tracing effects aren't going to make a room full of concrete and other generic materials look that much different in terms of shadow and light. But as soon as players walk into rooms set off by reflective surfaces and more diverse materials, the effect is absolutely stunning. So much so that players are given a pretty intense question on how to proceed: more ray tracing, or more pixels? As of press time, only Nvidia's RTX series of graphics cards include ties to the DirectX 12 ray tracing pipeline, which thus limits your potential access to these ray tracing effects. In the case of Nvidia's cards, enabling ray tracing immediately drops the frame rate an apparent 15-20fps. This is where Nvidia's exclusive DLSS (deep learning super sampling) pipeline proves handy. This system uses a machine-learning model of 3D-rendering information to upscale any gameplay from a lower rendering resolution. In the case of Control, that's almost required to get ray-traced performance above a 60fps threshold on respectable resolutions, depending on your graphics card. In my case, I confirmed a frame rate hovering around 60fps when I used a notebook version of the RTX 2070 GPU at "1080p DLSS" resolution—meaning, a native 720p signal upscaled to 1080p. I could get comfortably in the 70fps range on my desktop system, powered by the $1,199 RTX 2080 Ti, when I ran ray tracing settings at "high" (the maximum) and picked "1440p DLSS" resolution (a native 960p signal upscaled). Want to get all the way to 4K? Even with a pricey card and a DLSS upscale, you'll have to do some serious option toggling to get anywhere near a 60fps refresh (unless you nix ray tracing, at least). Does DLSS magically nail a faked higher resolution? Heck no. Screenshots don't tell that story, since DLSS effectively works like temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) and thus fails the most when the in-game camera is moving. But in practice, the way light bounces as modeled by a full ray tracing pipeline is some of the most impressive stuff I've seen in real-time rendering in years. Full-room scenes benefit from a sense of weight and depth, and this lighting doesn't look insufferably dim, unlike the dramatic-but-iffy lighting model in Metro Exodus. The results are worth the resolution downgrade. I'd argue that the effective resolution and performance with DLSS turned on was somewhere in the 1200p range—clearly sharper than 1080p, and clearly not a perfect pixel match for my 1440p Gsync display. On my notebook version of the RTX 2070, the effective resolution looked like 900p—so, your average Xbox One S game. Lynchian for better, Lynchian for worse When the game isn't impressing with phenomenally fluid combat, rich ray tracing effects, or delightfully tricky puzzle-traversal moments, Control also comes with a standard-issue Remedy Studios plot. It's jibberish, but boy is it rich. Length, optional content Remedy is clearly proud of Control's combat, and that's likely why the game includes an easy-to-access series of side missions, which you can beat for more experience points and coins. Those can be used to upgrade your Service Weapon and your pool of supernatural powers. As a result, the 10-hour campaign is buffered by around five additional hours of optional combat and missions, along with some seriously tricky puzzles and an emphasis on "return to a previous section with a new power" exploration. As Remedy's first toe-dip into "Metroidvania" missions, it's a pretty good effort. But the criss-cross of confusing currencies for your power upgrades isn't as welcome, and worse, I got the sense that I could skip the side missions and be fine with my campaign progress. Though I did appreciate the missions giving me a little more time with the game's intriguing cast. Remedy is clearly drunk on its vision of a federal mad-scientist agency. For one thing, you won't find a much better implementation of full-motion video in an action game than in Control. The studio's knack for FMV was teased in Alan Wake, then proved to be a momentum-stifling, plot-confusing obstacle in the ambitious Quantum Break. Third time's the charm, apparently, as a slew of mostly optional video moments are cleverly staged and organically inserted into the FBC. At least one of them tantalizingly hints to a connection to another Remedy game. In BioShock-like fashion, various text documents are strewn all over the FBC's offices and labs. Unlike in Bioshock, though, these documents do a wonderfully subtle job of setting up clues and answers for moments and set pieces you run into later in the game. Plus, they liberally play with government agencies' knack for redacting and blacking out swaths of text—and it's easy to pick out the inherent humor and satire when Remedy goes this route. The worst part about Control's plot-immersion attempts comes from the real-time, in-game conversations, which often revolve around sloppy facial animation—sometimes dipping hideously into the uncanny valley—and occasionally rigid dialogue. I counted no less than a dozen moments that seemed like they were originally written in the studio's native Finnish tongue, then machine translated into English. In Remedy's defense, the studio winks at this fact in the form of one casting decision. The omnipresent weirdo janitor Ahti slips back and forth between his native Finnish and delightfully broken English when speaking to Jesse, all while issuing directives that sound equal parts ominous and whimsical. Does that sound like your cup of tea? Does a creepy guy whistling while mopping and talking in circles around the broken logic of a mysterious federal agency, all while your main character remarks openly about how weird she is before continuing on her journey to find her lost, troubled brother draw your interest? If so, then you shouldn't waste a second diving into the truly possessed weirdness that is Control. The plot payoff goes as far as you want it to, whether you fast-forward through the campaign to chase down the mystery of your sibling or because you dig deeply into side missions and optional flavor text. And every time the plot becomes obnoxious or confusing, you can liven things up with a frenetic, tactically rich opportunity to kick butt via telekinesis. Only in video games. The good Remedy delivers some of gaming's best third-person combat yet. Ray tracing on compatible PCs looks so incredible, it's worth the downgrade in resolution. The plot goes as weird and deep as players might want between the frenetic action. The plot's supernatural-mystery payoff is on par with the weirdest, most exuberant David Lynch fare. The bad Beautiful visuals don't always extend to the uncanny valley of facial animation. The effort spent completing optional missions isn't necessarily paid off with useful perks. The plot's supernatural-mystery payoff is on par with the weirdest, most exuberant David Lynch fare. (For some people, that is not a positive.) The ugly How much you have to pay in 2019 to get this game's ray traced version to run efficiently. Verdict: If you seek exhilarating third-person action, buy this before year's end. If you own a PC GPU that supports DirectX 12 ray tracing, buy this immediately. Source: Review: Control is Remedy’s best game yet—and a ray tracing masterpiece (Ars Technica) (To view the article's image galleries, please visit the above link)
  3. Moscow is developing a ‘sovereign’ web that critics say will enhance official power to silence dissent Thousands of protesters had gathered outside government headquarters in Magas, the capital of the heavily Muslim republic of Ingushetia in Russia’s north Caucasus. They were there to oppose concessions in a years’-long bitter border dispute with neighbouring Chechnya, but when they tried to share information about the protest on WhatsApp they found the internet was down on all three major Russian mobile providers across Ingushetia. The October outage began late at night before the protest was scheduled to start, and lasted until it died down more than two weeks later. When protests sparked up again, the internet suddenly went out of action once more. It amounted to a virtual blackout: locals’ fondness for voice messages has made WhatsApp the main form of communication in the north Caucasus. No official explanation was given until spring, when the FSB security service — the successor to the KGB — admitted in court that it had shut down the internet because of “terrorist threats”. All but one of the supposed threats coincided with the dates of the protests, says Andrei Sabinin, who filed a lawsuit against the FSB and the interior ministry over the outages. “They want to take down platforms for spreading information online,” the human rights lawyer says. “No WhatsApp means no communication in the Caucasus. As soon as you go into Ingushetia, it’s a black hole.” Protests in Ingushetia over land swaps with Chechnya in October 2018, when WhatsApp was shut down in the republic to curb discussion about the issue Activists fear Ingushetia’s blackouts could be repeated across Russia thanks to a law signed by President Vladimir Putin in May. The measure ostensibly aims to create a “sovereign internet” — effectively a parallel web run entirely on Russian servers — that would allow Moscow to keep the internet operating in the event of a foreign cyber attack aimed at disabling it. To do so, internet providers will be required to install equipment which Russia could use to separate itself from the worldwide web at the flick of a “kill” switch. The technology is meant to reroute all external traffic through Russian-controlled nodes while creating a back-up domain name system to help the country’s internet function independently. Russia’s dependence on foreign systems would be vastly reduced, hastening a global Balkanisation of the internet where the west’s influence is fragmented. It also uses a technique known as deep packet inspection, or DPI, to centralise filtration powers in the hands of Russian censors, who have previously relied on internet providers to block access to banned content. “It’s framed as a precaution, but it’s actually a means of control,” says Sergey Sanovich, a political scientist at Stanford University who specialises in Russian online censorship. “For the most part this is about making sure the Russian government can, when necessary, have more direct access to control of information space.” Russia let its internet grow largely untrammeled until 2012, when Mr Putin’s return to the presidency met with mass street protests organised via social media. The Kremlin responded with an aggressive crackdown on online dissent: opposition pages were put on a list of banned websites, dozens of people went to prison for “liking” and reposting material, and independent news websites were brought to heel. But this ad hoc system was seen as inefficient. In 2014, Mr Putin declared the internet a “CIA project” able to weaken Russia’s sovereignty. Officials blamed the US for using it to start the Arab spring and Ukraine’s Maidan revolution in 2013-14. Some pro-Kremlin figures spoke of emulating China’s Great Firewall — a mix of technologies and laws designed to regulate the internet domestically, whose architects were invited to Moscow to share advice. The crackdown intensified after 2017, when opposition leader Alexei Navalny aired a video of an anti-corruption investigation — which racked up more than 20m views on YouTube — to help spark the largest nationwide protests since the Soviet Union collapsed. In 2018, Russia restricted access to almost 650,000 websites— a nearly fivefold increase on the year before, according to human rights group Agora. Yet Russia’s late start meant it lacked both the infrastructure and the human resources to control the internet as effectively as Beijing. China boasts its own hugely popular messaging services, such as WeChat, and has a reported 2m people who police public opinion online. By contrast, Roskomnadzor — the communications ministry’s watchdog — has just over 3,000 employees. “The Chinese have been blocking things since day one,” says a person close to Russia’s communications ministry. “We can’t do that.” Roskomnadzor made its most ambitious effort to ban Telegram, the messaging service, last year, accusing it of failing to comply with FSB requests to share user data. The attempt to block the app was a disastrous failure. Pavel Durov, Telegram’s Russian founder, rerouted its traffic through cloud hosting services, forcing censors into a game of whack-a-mole that saw them temporarily take down more than 16m IP addresses, including their own website, while having little effect on Telegram. The ban became a running joke among officials. At a ministry party last year, Roskomnadzor chief Alexander Zharov was taking photographs of a picturesque sunset on his phone when guests joked that he should share them on the app, prompting a foul-mouthed tirade, according to one guest. The crackdown intensified after 2017 when opposition leader Alexei Navalny posted a video of an anti-corruption investigation, garnering over 20m views © AP “He’s a hostage to the situation,” says the person close to the ministry. “He knows you can’t block it. We have no control over the process. The guys with epaulettes [in the FSB] bring bills to [lawmakers] and we have to implement them, [but] we look like idiots.” Part of the problem, experts say, is that Russia’s security bureaucracy rarely takes its own technical limitations into account. “Attempts to implement Russia’s notion of information security on the internet have been distinguished by mishaps because they don’t really understand how the internet works,” says Keir Giles, a senior fellow of the Russia and Eurasia programme at Chatham House. “If you prevent free flow of information across national borders you’ll break the internet.” Advocates for greater controls frame it as a way to ensure Russia’s independence from hostile powers. “A great deal of sectors of the real economy — power stations, transport infrastructure — depend very closely on the internet. It’s an issue of state security,” says Andrei Klishas, a member of the upper house of parliament, who co-authored the law. Mr Klishas cites the latest US cyber security strategy, with its emphasis on making countries like Russia pay “costs likely to deter future cyber aggression,” as the impetus for Moscow to act. President Donald Trump added to those fears last month, when he admitted that the US carried out a cyber attack against a Kremlin-backed “troll farm” in St Petersburg during the 2018 US midterm elections in apparent retaliation for Russia’s online meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign. Experts say Russia’s justifications for shutting the country off from the global internet are too vague to support such sweeping action. These scenarios include: a threat to network “integrity” that would prevent it from securing user communications; anything that would affect its ability to function such as a natural disaster; and “deliberate destabilising informational pressure from outside or within”. Russian president Vladimir Putin aims to create a 'sovereign internet' — effectively a parallel web run entirely on domestic servers © AP “There needs to be a way to react to the threats,” says Irina Levova, head of a government working group on internet issues. “[But] you can’t just say let’s go to Mars tomorrow and have everyone go without having the technology to do so.” Officials successfully tested the DPI system in a “fairly large region with a population of several thousand” — not Ingushetia — several months ago, says Mr Klishas, and plan to do a nationwide test later this year. But serious doubts remain about whether the law’s aims are even realisable. According to Ms Levova, maintaining the DPI equipment alone may cost as much as Rbs134bn ($2bn) a year— seven times Mr Klishas’ estimate — while many of the law’s technical provisions have yet to be clarified. Roskomnadzor reportedly hired RDP.RU, a company partly owned by state-run Rostelecom, to supply the DPI equipment before the bill was even passed. There is scepticism in the industry on whether Russia can produce the required technology. It has yet to undergo a full-scale test. And attempts to separate Russia from global technology value chains have failed: 96 per cent of state institutions still use unapproved foreign software despite an attempt to move them on to domestically produced alternatives, according to the audit chamber, which monitors the spending of government departments. Russia’s government bought Rbs82bn in foreign hardware last year, compared with just Rbs18bn of domestically-produced equipment, according to state defence conglomerate Rostec. “Right now it’s totally impossible,” says a senior executive at a major Russian tech company. “There’s no capacity to produce really productive, powerful chips. It would take years to develop that industry and in that time Apple will have gone much further. We could buy everything from China, they’ve done it all themselves, but that would raise national security questions.” The Russian web Centralising control over Russia’s internet — in a bid to make it more secure — could actually make it more vulnerable to foreign attacks, says Artem Kozlyuk, head of privacy rights group Roskomsvoboda. “Where the internet is more centralised and there is one state provider, then there is more risk of external meddling,” he says. Russia might also be trying to safeguard itself from the consequences of its own cyber operations, Mr Giles says. The WannaCry and NotPetya attacks — which ravaged businesses globally with ransomware and were blamed on Moscow — did considerable damage in Russia, taking some state-owned companies’ systems offline. “Massive disruption has blowback,” he says. “[These measures] make sure that you don’t suffer damage by cutting yourself off.” When Russian troops seized Crimea in 2014, they quickly took over the peninsula’s main internet exchange point and cable connections to the mainland. “That was the gold standard to achieve total information dominance — the only things the target population is receiving are yours,” says Mr Giles. Activists fear the internet isolation plan will do the same to Russian citizens. “It’ll be a totally different internet. It won’t be as quick or secure as it is now,” Mr Kozlyuk says. “Blocking will be totally non-transparent. It might take months until someone finds out there was some sort of internal order [to block a site].” Mr Klishas says the system will simply help Roskomnadzor enforce existing law, which is ostensibly aimed at preventing terrorism and child pornography but is often redirected to suppress dissent. “When states started fighting money laundering, the system was ineffective for a long time, especially [against] problems like drug trafficking and international terrorism. People always found ways to finance this unlawful activity. Then new procedures appeared to close these legal loopholes,” he says. Undeterred by the Telegram ban, the FSB recently made a similar demand to Yandex, Russia’s largest tech company. Yandex, which already shares some data with authorities, said on Tuesday it would push back against the FSB’s requests to decrypt all user communications. Despite sweeping requirements on data storage and censorship compliance — which saw LinkedIn banned in 2016 — Roskomnadzor has made little progress in bending Facebook and Google to its demands. In December Russia fined Google Rbs500,000 for failing to sign up to a government system for sharing information with the security services. Google continues to defy the law, but there has been an escalation in Moscow’s attempts to pressure western companies, Mr Sanovich says. “The irony is that Putin, who is conducting all these information operations abroad, also makes Google or Facebook enforce censorship at home,” he adds. “If they comply they risk making the regime stronger and compromising the integrity of their platform, but it’s much more significant if they are blocked. The media environment in Russia is now so heavily government-controlled that these providers play a vital role in giving Russians access to unfiltered information.” Roskomnadzor is doubling down on that by making it more difficult to avoid its bans. Though virtual private networks remain widely accessible, several have recently abandoned their Russian servers after the watchdog ordered them to share user traffic information with the Kremlin. Mr Kozlyuk expects it to use DPI to enforce the ban by filtering individual VPN traffic and fining those using them. “It’s the logical extension,” he says, “first you control the content, then the infrastructure, then the users.” Source
  4. part 1 (YET ANOTHER) WARNING .... Your online activities are now being tracked and recorded by various government and corporate entities around the world. This information can be used against you at any time and there is no real way to “opt out”. In the past decade, we have seen the systematic advancement of the surveillance apparatus throughout the world. The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada have all passed laws allowing, and in some cases forcing, telecom companies to bulk-collect your data: United States – In March 2017 the US Congress passed legislation that allows internet service providers to collect, store, and sell your private browsing history, app usage data, location information and more – without your consent. This essentially allows Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and other providers to monetize and sell their customers to the highest bidders (usually for targeted advertising). United Kingdom – In November 2016 the UK Parliament passed the infamous Snoopers Charter (Investigatory Powers Act) which forces internet providers and phone companies to bulk-collect customer data. This includes private browsing history, social media posts, phone calls, text messages, and more. This information is stored for 12 months in a giant database that is accessible to 48 different government agencies. The erosion of free speech is also rapidly underway as various laws allow UK authorities to lock up anyone they deem to be “offensive” (1984 is already here). Australia – In April 2017 the Australian government passed a massive data retention law that forces telecoms to collect and store text messages, phone calls, location information, and internet connection data for a full two years, with the data being accessible to authorities without a warrant. Canada, Europe, and other parts of the world have similar laws and policies already in place. What you are witnessing is the rapid expansion of the global surveillance state, whereby corporate and government entities work together to monitor and record everything you do. What the hell is going on here? Perhaps you are wondering why all this is happening. There is a simple answer to that question. Control Just like we have seen throughout history, government surveillance is simply a tool used for control. This could be for maintaining control of power, controlling a population, or controlling the flow of information in a society. You will notice that the violation of your right to privacy will always be justified by various excuses – from “terrorism” to tax evasion – but never forget, it’s really about control. Along the same lines, corporate surveillance is also about control. Collecting your data helps private entities control your buying decisions, habits, and desires. The tools for doing this are all around you: apps on your devices, social networks, tracking ads, and many free products which simply bulk-collect your data (when something is free, you are the product). This is why the biggest collectors of private data – Google and Facebook – are also the two businesses that completely dominate the online advertising industry. So to sum this up, advertising today is all about the buying and selling of individuals. But it gets even worse… Now we have the full-scale cooperation between government and corporate entities to monitor your every move. In other words, governments are now enlisting private corporations to carry out bulk data collection on entire populations. Your internet service provider is your adversary working on behalf of the surveillance state. This basic trend is happening in much of the world, but it has been well documented in the United States with the PRISM Program. So why should you care? Everything that’s being collected could be used against you today, or at any time in the future, in ways you may not be able to imagine. In many parts of the world, particularly in the UK, thought crime laws are already in place. If you do something that is deemed to be “offensive”, you could end up rotting away in a jail cell for years. Again, we have seen this tactic used throughout history for locking up dissidents – and it is alive and well in the Western world today. From a commercial standpoint, corporate surveillance is already being used to steal your data and hit you with targeted ads, thereby monetizing your private life. Reality check Many talking heads in the media will attempt to confuse you by pretending this is a problem with a certain politician or perhaps a political party. But that’s a bunch of garbage to distract you from the bigger truth. For decades, politicians from all sides (left and right) have worked hard to advance the surveillance agenda around the world. Again, it’s all about control, regardless of which puppet is in office. So contrary to what various groups are saying, you are not going to solve this problem by writing a letter to another politician or signing some online petition. Forget about it. Instead, you can take concrete steps right now to secure your data and protect your privacy. Restore Privacy is all about giving you the tools and information to do that. If you feel overwhelmed by all this, just relax. The privacy tools you need are easy to use no matter what level of experience you have. Arguably the most important privacy tool is a good VPN (virtual private network). A VPN will encrypt and anonymize your online activity by creating a secured tunnel between your computer and a VPN server. This makes your data and online activities unreadable to government surveillance, your internet provider, hackers, and other third-party snoopers. A VPN will also allow you to spoof your location, hide your real IP address, and allow you to access blocked content from anywhere in the world. Check out the best VPN guide to get started. Stay safe! SOURCE
  5. Peel Universal Smart TV Remote Control v10.1.7.4 [Pro] Requirements: 4.1+ | 6.0+ Overview: Peel Smart Remote revolutionizes your home entertainment experience by combining universal remote control and live or streamed TV listings into one simple-to-use app. This is the only remote and TV guide you need. This Remote Changes Everything! Universal Remote Control Reliably control your TV, set-top box, DVD player, Blu-ray, Roku, Apple TV, audio system, and home appliances like air conditioners and heaters, using the built-in infrared IR blaster on your smartphone,including models from Xiaomi, Samsung, HTC, LG and more. Find Something Good to Watch Peel provides smart show recommendations and TV guide listings based on your preferences and past viewing behavior, all organized in an easy to navigate interface. Best of all, the more you “Peel-in”, the smarter it gets. Easy to Set Up. Easy to Use. Peel is super simple. No matter where you live, what brand of TV or set-top box you own, or who provides your service, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3. Confirm your location from 110 different countries, choose your TV provider, and then pair Peel Smart Remote with all your home electronics. It can replace your Samsung TV remote, LG TV remote, Sony TV remote, Vizio TV remote, Dish remote, DirectTV remote, Apple TV remote and more. Peel supports more than 400,000 devices. This is the only universal remote control you will ever need. Never Miss Your Favorite Shows With the Peel Smart Remote you can easily set a calendar reminder so you never again miss a favorite show, movie or sports event. Simply tap on the reminder notification to “Peel-in.” Peel-in to Your Favorites Customize your Peel Smart Remote by selecting your favorite channels and shows. Finding out when and where your favorite programs and movies are available to watch on TV has never been easier. Personalize Your TV Program Guide & Listings Unlike other universal remote controls, Peel Smart Remote allows you to easily personalize your TV channel listing to match your local over-the-air, dish or cable provider or streaming service. Easily Discover Streamed Content Peel Smart Remote allows you to discover your favorite shows and movies on your streaming video services. Whether you prefer Netflix, Hulu, Roku, Apple TV or dozens of other digital content providers, Peel will help you find something good to watch. The More You Use, the Smarter it Gets Peel is the world’s most popular smart remote with 140 million-plus registered users worldwide and more than 10 billion smart remote commands a month. No more worrying about what to watch on TV, how to find your favorite content, or where your remote is hiding. The more you tune-in with Peel, the smarter it gets. Help and Support is Close By Go to http://help.peel.com for FAQs or email [email protected] You can also visit http://peel.com, follow us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/peeltv) and Facebook (http://facebook.com/peeltv) for the latest app updates. You can also go to https://m.facebook.com/ads/ad_choices for Facebook Ad choices. This app has no advertisements More Info: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tv.peel.app&hl=en Download Instructions: Paid content unlocked Hidden Content (for members only) For Android 4.1+ uploadocean turbobit depositfiles For Android 6.0+ uploadocean turbobit depositfiles
  6. Windows Firewall Control Changelog: https://www.binisoft.org/changelog.txt Download: https://www.binisoft.org/download/wfc4setup.exe Changes: What's new in version (04.10.2017) - New: Connections Log contains now an "Auto refresh on open" check box which will automatically trigger Refresh when the window is opened. - New: Connections Log contains now an "Auto receive updates" check box which will automatically add the newest entries on top of the list. More info can be found in the user manual. - New: Main Panel displays now the currently connected location of Windows Firewall. - New: Added "Open the website" functionality in the About tab. - Fixed: Duplicate notifications may be displayed if the location of Windows Firewall changes after WFC service start-up and there are rules defined for specific locations. - Fixed: Merge rules functionality from Rules Panel does create the merged rule, but does not remove anymore the old rules. - Fixed: Import policy displays a successful operation result, even if the import has failed due to a file access denied error. - Fixed: Refresh does not work anymore in Connections Log after using the search. The window must be closed and reopened to be able to refresh again the data grid. - Fixed: Some group names from Windows 10 are not recognized. - Fixed: 'mDNS' keyword is not valid in Properties dialog as local port when opening such an inbound rule for UDP protocol. - Updated: The user manual was updated with new screenshots and updated topics.
  7. A remote access trojan (RAT) is using Dropbox for command and control in a targeted attack against the Taiwanese Government, malware analyst Maersk Menrige says. The upgraded PlugX RAT is the first targeted attack to use Dropbox to update command and control settings, Menrige said, as distinct from other malware and ransomware which used the popular cloud storage platform to fling malicious files at victims. The trojan logs a victim's keystrokes, maps ports and opens remote shells to facilitate further data theft and exploitation. "The use of Dropbox aids in masking the malicious traffic in the network because this is a legitimate website for storing files and documents," Trend Micro's Menrige said. "[The May execution data] is probably done so that users won’t immediately suspect any malicious activities on their systems." Dropbox had been shown by researcher Jake Williams (DropSmack: Using Dropbox to steal files and deliver malware [pdf]) as a workable platform for malware command and control, but Menrige said it was the first time it had been exploited in malicious attacks. PlugX variant II messed with anti-virus systems, contained anti-forensics capabilities and hid behind a fake parked domain until the 5 May go live date. Attackers with command and control links established could migrate laterally within corporate networks using a variety of tools to avoid detection. The code includes tools such as password recovery, network utilities, port scanners and the common HTran reverse proxy tool used to hide command and control. The latter Chinese-built connection bouncer tool was first discovered in 2011 by Dell used in the high profile data breach of security company RSA. PlugX II bore sufficient similarity to version I that enterprise security bods could check for flags on their networks. The first iteration of the malware was detected in 2008 and had since been used in targeted attacks against a unnamed South Korean company and US engineering firm. In February Trend Micro senior security researcher Pavithra Hanchagaiah reportedPlugX was being foisted through a since fixed Adobe Flash exploit. More detail on PlugX could be found on the Trend Micro blog. Source
  8. Notebook Hardware Control 2.4.3 Professional Edition Portable Managing the components of a portable system and optimizing their usage to obtain the best performance with minimal power consumption is not an easy task, unless a specialized software is available. One such utility is Notebook Hardware Control (NHC), a program dedicated to power management and hardware monitoring. The well organized interface provides information about system components as well as quick access to all the functions of the application. Notebook Hardware Control helps you to: control the hardware and system power managementcustomize the notebook (open source ACPI Control System)prolong the battery lifetimecool down the system and reduce power consumptionmonitor the hardware to avoid system failuremake your notebook quietThus, you can view details like the CPU clock and current load, the processor and hard drive temperatures, CPU voltage and speed, as well as the available physical and virtual memory. Notebook Hardware Control (NHC) is able to detect for how long the system has been running (the power-on time) and read battery stats. The software features an Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) control system that can handle may power options, and set thresholds for critical CPU temperature that send a warning or shutdown the system, depending on the selected values. A neat thing about Notebook Hardware Control (NHC) is that it allows you to activate a set of tray icons for various parameters that you may want to monitor without having to bring up the program's interface every time. You can choose icons for processor clock, temperature, speed or load, as well as HDD temperature. Notebook Hardware Control (NHC) can also track the battery charge level and for certain laptops it provides a function called Notebook FAN Control which is useful for reducing the noise coming from the system cooler running at high speeds when it doesn't have to. To sum things up, it's safe to say that with the help of this application users can really benefit and adjust the power settings of their notebooks in such a manner that the system components are spared of unnecessary wear and tear. Here are some key features of "Notebook Hardware Control": prolong the battery lifetime and cool down the system with CPU Voltage Control and ATI Clock Control.full processor speed control with custom dynamic switching and CPU Speed Control (CPU policy)monitor the battery charge level and system temperature.control and monitor the Hard Drive with S.M.A.R.T management, acoustic & advanced power management and Hard Drive temperature monitoring.reduce noise with Notebook FAN ControlWebsite: http://www.pbus-167.com/ OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 (Only x32!) Language: ML Medicine: Serial Size: 4,38 Mb.
  9. Windows 8 changes it's ACL scheme.. although possible.. it's a bit tricky. obviously, you must be an administrator. - works for files and registry. Transcript Right click > select Propertieshighlight Administratorselect both checkboxes under "Allow"click "Advanced"click "Change"click "Advanced"click "Find Now"highlight Administrator w/out down arrowpress OKselect Checkbox for "Replace owner on subconotainers and objects"press OKpress OK Alternatively, you can use RegOwnit as mentioned by knowledge.
  10. Hi friends, I need a Software to Control LAN Computers like TeamViewer, and my Point is to Show my Predefined Message (Like Admin Work in Progress) or Black Screen on Client Side.. Teamviewer is Doing my Job Correctly But the Problem is Teamviewer updating its software on weekly basis :( So need a Alternative Remote control software with Our Message to Show on Client Side.. Suggest me :rolleyes: :wub: 2 :wub: Reena0307
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