Expect another breach soon

January 23, 2018 — Another breach is in the offing that could rival comeleak in terms of number of personal data involved, local white hat hackers are ready to do “decoy insertion” and “index poisoning” two of the most effective torrent poisoning methods. The same thing they did with comeleak but failed because of the country’s very slow internet connection.

Yes, the biggest breach in the history of the Philippines could have been avoided if we only have a decent Internet connection.

I was told that a group of hackers started torrent poisoning by sharing corrupted and fake versions of the files when they first learned of the breach. Torrent poisoning is a technique used by digital rights managers of big companies to prevent peer-to-peer sharing of contents they own. But, in order to entice users to download the corrupted files, a high bandwidth connection is needed.

The white hat hackers anonymously helped COMELEC by aggregating all the bandwidth that they could get, still the connection was very slow thus the efforts failed.

In a message sent via Bitmessage, the white hat hacker told MB TechNews “Compared last year, we now have a more stable internet connection in the Philippines, we will be successful this time. We’re calling for volunteers to help secure the PH internet.”

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UBTech’s First Order Stormtrooper

Yes, we have this at the Manila Bulletin TechLab in Intramuros, Manila.

Fire up the Imperial March and command your own Stormtrooper! The built-in camera, using facial recognition technology, ensures its complete loyalty to you. You can program its movements via the UBTech Stormtrooper app. Watch the video to see it in action!

Ironman thumb drive

Got this from #CES2018.

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Review: Acer Predator Cestus 500

by Adlai Rosh
(first published in technology.mb.com.ph)

The cestus. That’s a word that means different things to different people. To a history buff, it’s an ancient weapon worn like a boxing glove. To a gamer, it’s a fist weapon found everywhere from Final Fantasy to Dark Souls. If you asked me, the Cestus is an amazing piece of hardware.

Part of the Predator line of gaming-focused Acer products, the Cestus is a gaming mouse with style and substance. At a glance, you can tell this mouse means business. Despite looking like something you’d find on the desk of an evil overlord, the Cestus fit in the palm of my hand perfectly. The matt surface on its mouse buttons provided a nice sense of grip without any sort of annoying abrasion. The rubber on the scroll wheel ensured that had perfect control over even the tiniest movements. I never overshot my target while switching weapons in first person shooters, and in more tense situations like real-time strategy games I could click my middle mouse macros without having to worry about accidentally zooming in. The finger stops at the side of each mouse button kept my clumsy fingers from falling off, which is something that has happened more times than I would like to admit. It even has customizable sides panels attached by small magnets that allow you to switch things up between the classic mouse claw grip and a more ergonomic palm hold. It even does away with the tech world’s bias towards righties – its design allows for both left handed and right handed use with a switch of a panel.

One of the first things I look for in a mouse is weight. Out of the box, the Cestus felt surprisingly light, but not flimsy. My cellphone weighed heavier than it, and I wondered how it would affect my muscle memory. Turns out, it didn’t matter much at all – after a few minutes of adjustment I had no trouble lining up headshots and racking up kills. With six DPI switches I could change sensitivity on the fly depending on what the situation needed. It even carried over to games like League of Legends. Mouse clicking resistance is also easily adjusted, with switches underneath allowing you to make the left and right mouse buttons firmer or softer depending on your comfort level.

Previously I had to worry about making sure my mouse was set up correctly or I’d be missing skillshots constantly. Here, I could switch up the sensitivity with a single push of a button. Input lag is barely existent, even at the lowest polling rate available, and the Angle Snapping feature allowed even my notoriously shaky hands to keep my aim focused on a strafing opponent.

As with all gaming peripherals nowadays, the Cestus is customizable. With eight different lighting themes to choose from and a massive range of RGB colors to pick it can fit into any gaming setup with just a little bit of tweaking. My personal favorite is the “Breathing” pattern, which causes the LED accents to softly pulse a solid color. Making it glow red brings to mind Daedric weaponry from the Elder Scrolls series.

Aside from the visual customization, it is customizable. Every button except the left mouse click can be assigned nearly anything possible, from mouse functions to keyboard strokes to even full-on macros. While I’m not big on using macros and keybinds myself – mostly since I’m not quite good at setting them up – it’s funny to set up a button on the mouse that allows me to use an in-game scream emote without having to type something up.

It’s also, evidently, portable. The packaging came with a soft cloth bag for storing the mouse when traveling, and its small profile and negligible weight means that it can fit inside your laptop bag for when you need to game on the go, or just have a magnificently head-turning mouse. Its braided cord is also nice and durable, so you don’t have to worry about tangling it or damaging it in transit.

If there’s one last thing to be said about this incredible piece of hardware, it’s this – like the cestus of old, the Acer Predator Cestus 500 is a weapon that fits like a glove.

Thank you for your support

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Got an overwhelming support from advertisers that we need to add six more pages to accommodate all of them. The Christmas issue of the Digital Generation comes free with the December 4 issue of the Manila Bulletin.

To our advertisers:
Come 2016, we will continue to buy our own gadgets to give you our unbiased take on your products and we will continue to reject offers of products for good reviews smile emoticon.

To our readers:
We will continue to guide you with your tech needs by telling you the truth about the available tech products and services. Our columnists are experts in their own fields and we are all Tech practitioners before coming to Technews. This is what differs us from the rest. Here at @manilabulletin TechNews we know what Tech really is.

To all of us:
Merry Christmas!!!

BlackBerry Priv: the best of both worlds?

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Today is the Philippine launch of the latest Blackberry device – The Priv. Expect to see great reviews from Pinoy users who would have a few minutes turning it on and off, checking the camera, testing the speed, appreciating the screen and admiring its beauty.

Manila Bulletin TechNews prides itself on getting the latest gadgets ahead of anybody else in the country, and true to this, we got the Blackberry Priv days before the local launch. Yes, we buy our own gadgets for review to give you our unbiased take about the latest gizmos and gadgets.

BlackBerry attempted to merge the best features of BlackBerry with the greatest features of Android in the Priv. You can now have a physical keyboard, BlackBerry Hub and Android’s Playstore in one device. However, this is Blackberry’s first attempt to power it’s device with Android; as expected there are few minor glitches and annoyances.

The first thing I noticed about the Priv is the display. With dual curved edge, it looks like a relative of the Samsung Galaxy Edge and Edge+. The 5.4inch QXD display is impressive, it has one of the best displays in a mobile device available in the market today.

When you slide the screen up to reveal the full QWERTY keyboard and slide down to hide it, you would hear a snap that assures you that it is solidly built. The keyboard however is not as comfortable as its older siblings. Unlike the Blackberry Passport, the Priv’s keyboards are cramped fitting the 35 keys inside a 3-inch space. As a long-time BlackBerry user, I could also say that it lacks the comfortable bulge of the keys found in the Passport and the Q10.

The rear-facing 18megapix Schneider-Kreuznach camera is impressive. Blackberry said that it is equipped with a “range of professional settings that you could apply as you frame the scene.” The company also claims that it is the only smartphone with dual-color (white and amber) flash, which enables better color balancing and could deliver a more natural and realistic images. The Priv is also capable of taking 4K resolution video at 30fps, other features include PDAS or phase detection auto focus – normally found in DSLRs, Optical Image Stabilization, panoramic shot with both the front and rear facing cameras, and 60fps video in 1080p.

While the rear facing camera could convince any photo-loving-smartphone-user out there, the 2megapix front facing camera however could be a deal breaker for selfie-enthusiasts. You need a lot of light to take mediocre selfie with the Priv and don’t ever attempt to use this device to take selfies in low light environment as you would not be happy with the results.

Also, there is no Gallery App in the Priv, you need to download a third party app to immediately view the pictures that you took or you could use the Google Photos if you’re using that app.

The battery life of the Priv is not as good as the Passport but the 3410 mAh battery is enough for me to last for a day plus a lot more spare power until I find a wall socket to charge or find someone who has a powerbank.

The Priv also has a built-in Chromecast and Miracast to show-off your pictures on your TV and other devices that supports it.

In the age of digital espionage, hacking and i-eavesdropping, privacy has become one of the major issues in getting a new device. According to Blackberry, Priv (formerly knows as Venice) is derived from Privacy “because privacy and security are at the core of Blackberry’s products.”

The security model of Blackberry is worth another page of this article, for ordinary mortals like us, it means: “Whether you’re protecting your personal privacy or business-critical data, the BlackBerry PRIV is designed to keep you safe and secure” and to guarantee that user’s privacy is protected and easily managed, Blackberry integrates security features in the Priv.

It “comes pre-loaded with DTEK application, designed to help users manage and protect their privacy. DTEK tells users which apps access their personal data and shows the overall security of the device based on factors such as the strength of password, encryption settings and the apps that are installed. DTEK also makes recommendations on how users can improve the overall security rating”.

Blackberry successfully merged the best of both worlds with the launch of Priv – a full Android ecosystem with assurance of full security and privacy. The only thing that would hinder Pinoys from buying this device is the price.

Portable power outlet

18k Black Hero 2

This is the first battery pack with an AC outlet you can take on the go.  Power just about anything, anywhere. From your laptop to your medical devices, and everything in between.