Watch Intense Walking Dead Minieseries Michonne Launch Trailer

Telltale’s celebrated The Walking Dead franchise returns this week with the miniseries Michonne, the first episode for which arrives tomorrow, February 23. Now, the developer has released the launch trailer for “In Too Deep,” the first of three episodes in the miniseries. Check it out below.

In Too Deep will be available February 23 for PC/Mac, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360. It comes to iOS and Android devices a couple days later, on February 25.

The next episode, Give No Shelter, comes out in March, while the series will conclude with What We Deserve in April. You can pay $15 to unlock In Too Deep and the next two installments when they are released.

In Too Deep follows lead character Michonne (played by Orange is the New Black‘s Samira Wiley), as she joins with Pete and his squad on a ship named The Companion. They are sailing the coast looking for survivors and supplies. It probably won’t go very well, if the following description is any indication.

“When a desperate signal for help draws them to a scene of horrific massacre, Michonne and the crew are lead further to the floating survivors’ colony of Monroe, which may just be harboring the person responsible for the carnage,” Telltale said.

Telltale is also working on a third season of The Walking Dead, but a release date has not been announced.

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Author: Eddie Makuch

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Political campaigns collect tons of data, but they’re terrible at protecting it

Over the last three months, more than 100 million US voters have had their data exposed online. These data breaches weren’t caused by a sophisticated hack or malware. Instead, political campaigns’ abysmal cybersecurity practices are to blame. Although modern campaigns constantly acquire and purchase massive amounts of data, they often neglect to fully beef up security surrounding it, effectively turning the campaigns into sitting ducks — huge operations with databases left open and vulnerable.

Most people understand that free online services monetize their business by collecting data. Users know the unspoken deal they’re agreeing to when they sign up for something. However, this isn’t the case when it comes to voter data. It’s typically…

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Author: Ashley Carman

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Halo 5 Microtransactions Have Now Generated At Least $1.5 Million

Whatever your opinion is about microtransactions, they are popular, and this continues to be true for Halo 5: Guardians. Microsoft has now confirmed that sales from the game’s Req packs have generated at least $1.5 million. This is up from $1 million in December 2015, $700,000 as of November 19, and $500,000 as of November 5.

As Microsoft said in the past, these funds will be added to the Halo World Championship prize pool, lifting the total prize purse to $2.5 million. The prize pool started at $1 million.

“Since we first announced a starting prize pool of $1 million at Gamescom 2015, the winnings for the Halo World Championship has grown immensely due to community crowdfunding via the Halo 5: Guardians Req system,” Microsoft said today.

One of the latest Halo 5 microtransactions released for the game was a $25 Arena Req bundle. It adds to Halo 5’s existing lineup of microtransaction offers that range in price from $2-$100. You can see all of the offerings here on Halo 5’s website.

Halo 5 microtransaction revenue is likely even higher than $1.5 million. As Microsoft said before, only a “portion” of Req bundle sales are contributed to the Halo World Championship prize pool.

The prize pool is now locked and will not go any higher. The winning team the Halo World Championship will take home $1 million, which Microsoft says is the “biggest individual prize pool in console esports history.”

Finally, Microsoft announced the 16 teams that will compete in the Halo World Championship 2016 finals this March. Eight teams, including Evil Geniuses and Denial, are from North America, while the rest represent places like Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Asian, and Latin America.

The championship weekend takes place March 18-20 at a venue in Hollywood to be announced on March 4.

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Author: Eddie Makuch

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Amazon raises free shipping minimum to $49

Amazon revealed this morning that it’s raising its free shipping minimum to $49. That’s a $14 bump up from the previous minimum of $35 it set when it last raised prices in 2013. Customers looking to buy $25 worth of books will still get free shipping, though.

As usual, Amazon hasn’t revealed details as to why the price for shipping is being raised, but the reason why could be that, with its Prime service only growing, the retail giant is keen on pushing more of its customers into a $99 yearly subscription. What’s more, Amazon’s financials suffered last quarter mainly due to shipping and delivery costs. Hiking prices could potentially pull in more money, but it’ll be some time before we learn if the increase does the trick.

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Author: Kwame Opam

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Apple: Complying With FBI's Request Would Create "Dangerous Precedent"

Apple on Monday launched a new website that further explains why it does not plan to comply with the FBI’s request to create a iPhone backdoor hack. The government’s request is that Apple create a special version of iOS that could bypass security protections at the Lock screen as well as introduce a new feature that would allow passcode tries to be input electronically.

The Cupertinto-based tech giant is not going along with it, one reason being that if passcodes could be input electronically, iPhones would become easier to unlock via “brute force.”

“The passcode lock and requirement for manual entry of the passcode are at the heart of the safeguards we have built in to iOS,” it explained. “It would be wrong to intentionally weaken our products with a government-ordered backdoor. If we lose control of our data, we put both our privacy and our safety at risk.”

Additionally, Apple warned that the FBI’s order would create a “legal precedent” that could become a slippery slope. It would “expand the powers of the government and we simply don’t know where that would lead us. Should the government be allowed to order us to create other capabilities for surveillance purposes, such as recording conversations or location tracking? This would set a very dangerous precedent.”

Also in Apple’s new letter, the company explained that it is technically possible to do what the FBI is asking. Apple refuses, however, because it is “too dangerous.”

“The only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to never create it,” Apple said.

The FBI’s request for the iPhone backdoor hack was related to the iPhone recovered in the aftermath of the San Bernardino shooting in December 2015. Some have wondered if Apple could create this hack for this one phone and never use it again to comply with the FBI’s request. But that’s problematic.

“The digital world is very different from the physical world. In the physical world you can destroy something and it’s gone. But in the digital world, the technique, once created, could be used over and over again, on any number of devices,” the company explained.

“Law enforcement agents around the country have already said they have hundreds of iPhones they want Apple to unlock if the FBI wins this case. In the physical world, it would be the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks. Of course, Apple would do our best to protect that key, but in a world where all of our data is under constant threat, it would be relentlessly attacked by hackers and cybercriminals. As recent attacks on the IRS systems and countless other data breaches have shown, no one is immune to cyberattacks.”

“The only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to never create it” — Apple

Apple added: “Again, we strongly believe the only way to guarantee that such a powerful tool isn’t abused and doesn’t fall into the wrong hands is to never create it.”

The company went on to say that, though it has received requests to unlock iPhones for law enforcement in the past, it has never done so. It has, however, extracted data from certain iPhones (those running pre-iOS 8) at the request of authorities when a lawful court order is obtained, the company explained.

“We’ve built progressively stronger protections into our products with each new software release, including passcode-based data encryption, because cyberattacks have only become more frequent and more sophisticated,” it said. “As a result of these stronger protections that require data encryption, we are no longer able to use the data extraction process on an iPhone running iOS 8 or later.”

The US government’s Justice Department has called Apple’s refusal to comply with this request a marketing stunt, but Apple obviously doesn’t see it that way.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. This is and always has been about our customers,” it said. “We feel strongly that if we were to do what the government has asked of us–to create a backdoor to our products–not only is it unlawful, but it puts the vast majority of good and law abiding citizens, who rely on iPhone to protect their most personal and important data, at risk.”

Also on the new website, Apple says it’s already done everything in its power and within the law to assist the FBI in the San Bernadino case. “As we’ve said, we have no sympathy for terrorists,” Apple said.

“We provided all the information about the phone that we possessed. We also proactively offered advice on obtaining additional information,” it said. “Even since the government’s order was issued, we are providing further suggestions after learning new information from the Justice Department’s filings.”

Apple suggested to the Justice Department that they pair the phone to a previously joined network, in turn allowing them to back up the phone and get the information they are looking for. But this is no longer possible, Apple says, because “while the attacker’s iPhone was in FBI custody the Apple ID password associated with the phone was changed. Changing this password meant the phone could no longer access iCloud services.”

“As the government has confirmed, we’ve handed over all the data we have, including a backup of the iPhone in question. But now they have asked us for information we simply do not have.”

Finally, Apple said it hopes the government will withdraw its demands. The company would also like to see a special panel formed where experts in the fields of intelligence, technology, and civil liberty can talk about what to do in these types of situations. “Apple would gladly participate in such an effort,” it said.

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Author: Eddie Makuch

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Sidewalk Labs hires 'dream team' to tackle city design in the self-driving age

Google’s “smart city” spin-off Sidewalk Labs just hired a team experts whose goal will be to create a new line of technology products that can fix the many problems of city life. Last year, Sidewalk Labs acquired a company called Intersection, which is now in the process of installing hundreds of high-speed Wi-Fi hubs across New York City. The hope is that this new team of engineers, city planners, and entrepreneurs can roll out a host of similar attention-grabbing ideas over the next few years to convince cities that technology is their ultimate savior.

Case in point: Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff tells The Verge that is company is working in close collaboration with 10 cities participating in the US Department of Transportation’s…

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Author: Andrew J . Hawkins

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Capcom "Rockestral" Concert Series Starts Next Month

Capcom is taking its music on a concert tour across the world. The Japanese company today announced “Capcom Live!” a concert series featuring “rockestral” music–a combination of rock and orchestra.

The tour begins March 19 in Shanghai, then goes to Beijing on March 26. The tour then travels to Boston, Mass. for a stop on April 9. Even more shows are planned for 2016, while “30-40” public performances are planned for 2017, Capcom said in an announcement today.

Here’s how Capcom summarizes the concert series:

“At Capcom Live! attendees can enjoy live performances of game music from more than ten Capcom masterpieces dating from the 1980s up through the present day, all completely synchronized to HD visuals. In addition to the performance of ‘Video Game Orchestra’—a group that combines rock and orchestral music into ‘rockestral’ concerts and boasts high notoriety in the US—the tour will pursue sophisticated entertainment via staging that weaves together visual effects and specialized lighting. This tour differs from events that have targeted only gamers by bringing to life a forward-thinking musical project that can engage music fans and general audiences as well.”

The concert series is part of Capcom’s “Single Contest, Multiple Usage Strategy” whereby the company leverages its brands beyond gaming alone. For this specific initiative, Capcom said one of its goals is to “achieve greater penetration of its brands in the broadening global game market, including emerging nations.” Capcom also noted today that it has 69 different games that have sold more than 1 million copies.

Capcom isn’t the first video game company with its own concert series. The Pokemon Company runs a touring Pokemon concert event, while Nintendo has The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses, a touring orchestra dedicated to the adventure series. Additionally, Video Games Live is a touring concert series dedicated to music from across a number of game franchises. It is run by Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler’s cousin, Tommy Tallarico.

More details on Capcom’s concert series–including a list of stops, songs to be performed, and ticket pricing information–was not shared today. When that information is divulged, we will bring it to you.

Would you be interested in attending a Capcom concert? Let us know in the comments below!

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Author: Eddie Makuch

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HSBC brings Touch ID and voice recognition to UK banks

HSBC plans to use Touch ID and voice recognition software to verify the identity of its customers in the UK, as the bank looks to replace passwords and security questions with biometric technology. As the BBC reports, the services will launch in the next few weeks at First Direct, a HSBC UK subsidiary, before being rolled out to 15 million HSBC customers. Francesca McDonagh, head of retail banking and wealth management for HSBC UK, describes the move as “the largest planned rollout of voice biometric security technology in the UK.”

“The launch of voice and Touch ID makes it even quicker and easier for customers to access their bank account, using the most secure form of password technology — the body,” McDonagh told the BBC.

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Author: Amar Toor

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