Microsoft revamps Games for Windows Marketplace next month

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on October 27th, 2010

Having updated Xbox.com for Xbox 360 gamers, Microsoft is readying a relaunch of their Games for Windows Marketplace online portal for PC gamers.  The gaming on-demand online distribution site “will offer PC gamers a robust lineup of games they love, easier navigation and purchase, and recurring specials such as Deal of the Week.”  The new streamlined experience promises fewer clicks to purchase and download games and better search functionality.  The Marketplace will launch with a portfolio of 100 “top-quality titles” including Fable: The Lost Chapters from Microsoft and Grand Theft Auto III from Rockstar.  As long as you’ve got a Windows Live ID (that emcompasses Windows Live, Xbox LIVE, Games for Windows – LIVE and Zune accounts) you will have access to the store and all that it offers.  Microsoft Points are accepted as currency.  Expect the site to undergo core and aesthetic changes November 15.  In a recent interview with Kotaku, Microsoft’s Peter Orullian says that the company is “doubling down” on PC gaming”, so you can expect the revamp of the Marketplace the beginning of a chain of events in the PC gaming realm as far as Microsoft is concerned.  Better Windows/Xbox 360/Windows Phone 7 integration?  Fingers crossed.  PR after the break.

[Via Engadget, here & here] (Click here for more…)

Twitter, Facebook under attack

Posted in News,Technology by Scott Meisner on August 6th, 2009

The Twitter service went down today for several hours due to a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack.  What exactly is a DDOS attack, you ask?  Let CNET’s Elinor Mills explain:

In the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on the sites, computers that have been compromised by viruses or other malware are instructed by the attacker’s computer to visit the specific Web sites all at the same time and repeatedly. The barrage of connection requests overwhelms the target sites, making it so that legitimate Web traffic can’t get through.  Such coordinated attacks require the efforts of tens of thousands or more of hijacked computers, which together form a botnet. Spammers send e-mails with malicious attachments or URLs to millions of people to create botnets.

Basically, computer hackers are putting heavy pressure the servers that run websites and making them fall to their knees.  The end result is users not being able to access the service’s main portal to log in.  Why did this happen today to Twitter and other related social media sites, though?  According to the latest reports, a Georgian blogger who goes by the name “Cyxymu” was targeted by a group of hackers.  Cyxymu had accounts on the sites Twitter, Facebook, Live Journal, and Google’s Blogger and YouTube.  These sites were affected by a DDOS attack because the group of hackers did not want Cyxymu to voice his opinions on these social websites.  Immature, huh?  Max Kelly, chief security officer at Facebook: “You have to ask who would benefit the most from doing this and think about what those people are doing and the disregard for the rest of the users and the Internet.”

Kelly had this to say about the culprit(s): “We’re actively investigating the source of the attacks and we hope to be able to find out the individuals involved in the back end and to take action against them if we can.”  A Google spokesman: “We are aware that a handful of non-Google sites were impacted by a DOS attack this morning, and are in contact with some affected companies to help investigate this attack. Google systems prevented substantive impact to our services.”  Twitter and Live Journal have yet to comment on the matter.

[Via CNET]