Chinese Army Ends 3-Month Hacking Hiatus
Today in international tech news: After a respite, China's People's Liberation Army is up to its old hacking ways. Also: Nintendo overturns gay marriage; an Australian minister has an unfortunate Facebook Like; a Latvian teachers gets in trouble for scanning and uploading a textbook; and Yahoo Japan is out 22 million login names.
May 20, 2013 10:08 AM PT
After a three-month lull, China's People's Liberation Army has resumed hack attacks against United States companies and government agencies.
Despite a ballyhooed February report from private security firm Mandiant, and despite public complaints from the Pentagon, Unit 61398, the PLA group made famous by the report, is again back to its hacking ways.
While declining to go into detail about targets, Mandiant said that some recent victims had been targeted by Unit 61398 in the past.
Obama administration officials expected the renewed attacks, which Mandiant put at 60 to 70 percent of the volume seen prior to its February report. Another security company, Crowdstrike, has corroborated the resumption of attacks, calling it "business as usual."
[Source: The New York Times]
Nintendo Overturns Same-Sex Marriage
Tomodachi Collection: New Life, a videogame akin to The Sims available for Nintendo's 3DS handheld system, has been amended so its male characters can no longer marry and raise children, as was the case before.
Recent games in The Sims franchise are programmed to permit same-sex marriage, as is the game Mass Effect.
Nintendo's progressive streak was short-lived; indeed, Nintendo said it never intended for that to be possible, and that it was a bug. Conservative gamers can download a patch that precludes the gay marriages.
Female characters in Tomodachi Collection, for whatever reason, were never allowed to marry their female avatar counterparts.
[Source: The Register]
Aussie Minister's Unfortunate Like
Peter Collier, the West Australian Minister for Education, Liked a Facebook photo that showed a teenage boy exposing his genitals.
The photo dates back to 2011 and came from a then 16-year-old who was Facebook friends with Collier. The Like went largely unnoticed until the teen tweeted about it recently.
Collier told media that he didn't notice the exposed genitals and that he felt "silly" and "embarrassed" about the mishap.
The teen apparently was engaging in the so-called "sneaky nuts" prank -- basically, one person in a group photo secretly exposes himself to spoil the shot.
An opposition spokesperson called for an investigation.
[Source: WAToday.com via The Age]
Latvian Teacher in Trouble for Textbook Upload
Pavela Jura, a teacher in Latvia who runs a history-centric website for students, was arrested -- and had his home searched and computer confiscated -- for uploading a scanned copy of a high school history book.
Jura's site has reportedly received plaudits from the Ministry of Education, but his transgression didn't go unnoticed.
While there was initially talk of jail time, a meeting has taken place to reach a settlement between Jura, legal authorities and copyright holders for the book, which sells for US$4.00.
[Source: Torrent Freak]
Yahoo Japan Suffers Enormous Data Theft
Yahoo Japan announced that up to 22 million login names may have been compromised during a recent hack attack.
A file containing ID details for 20 million-plus users was taken during the attacks. While the file did not contain passwords or enough information to allow attackers to impersonate people online, Yahoo has nonetheless urged people to change their passwords.
The attack was carried out late last week.