Best PS4 games


Greatness awaits

After one of the longest console generations of all time (seriously, that went on for-ev-er), a new era of console gaming has arrived. You’ve likely already read our PS4 review and made up your mind about the system; now it’s time to decide which games are worth buying. Do you pick up the exclusive AAA titles, focus on downloadable indie releases, or just snag the year’s biggest shooters? Well, we have some answers.

This list is currently a bit light, to be sure–but we’ll continue to update it as new games come out (and, more importantly, as embargos lift). Want to know which games to buy on day one? Well, look no further…

15. Knack

Knack is so close to being the game you want it to be. When the camera’s pulled in tight the graphics looks fantastic, and when the combat is at its best, it’s surprisingly clever. The end result is something of a muddled experience, with gameplay that seems stuck between the past and the present, and characters you’ll forget the moment they’re off-screen.

That said, there’s definitely an audience (see: kids) for the game, as we discussed in our Knack review. It has a ton of content, with a meaty, 10+ hours of story and plenty of replay value with its unlockable skins and gadgets. There’s even a downloadable companion app that’ll help you along the way, giving you access to new items that help keep the combat varied. Sony might not have a new mascot in Knack, but it definitely has a serviceable brawler.

14. Warframe

How does that saying go? “You can’t argue with free?” Okay, that may or may not be an established saying, but it rings fully true with regards to Warframe, a competent online cooperative shooter with a few unfortunate issues. But its strong base mechanics, visual style, and interesting universe make it worth a look, especially because its barrier to entry isn’t a monetary one.

Calling it free is a bit misleading, because you’ll have to play it for an inordinate amount of time to unlock most of the content you could pay negligible fees for. But jumping in without shelling out a dime will still give you enough base-level material to enjoy for hours on end, and Warframe does bring some fun ideas that you won’t find anywhere else. Like, for example, you play as a space ninja. When all you have to give up is a bit of your time, how can you turn that down?

13. Super Motherload

Create the most badass mining rig the universe has ever seen. That’s your goal inSuper Motherload, a score-based downloadable that tasks you with harvesting all the riches you can from the underbelly of Mars. The gameplay here follows a predictable cycle: dig for resources, return to your mining ship to refuel and unload your harvest, then get back to it. But once you start figuring out the subtle but rewarding tricks for increasing your payout, and once you start spending all that hard-earned cash on upgrading your mining operation, you’ll be eager to return to the driller controls.

Super Motherload isn’t exactly the most exhilarating game out there, as its gameplay is simple and repetitive. But it has a sort of calming effect to it; turns out, mining on a planet other than Earth is an isolating process, and it’s easy to fall into a hypnotic trance once the game’s eclectic soundtrack kicks in. If you’re after some sort of epic simulation experience, look elsewhere–but if all you want is to rack up a boatload of resources and fill your pockets with cash, Super Motherload is a decently enjoyable venture.

12. Contrast

All a puzzle platformer needs is one interesting mechanic and we’re hooked–andContrast absolutely has that one interesting mechanic. In it, the heroine can meld into the shadows, interacting with the darkness cast on the wall by objects in the environment. That means you’re able to push a box in front of a lamp to give it a bigger shadow, then climb on it. Impressive, right?

Technical hiccups and a lack of character hold it back from true greatness, but the beautiful world does a good job at providing you plenty of eye candy to gawk over as you explore the dreamlike 1920s setting. And, like, it’s free on PlayStation Plus, so… you might as well, right?

11. Doki Doki Universe

Finally, a sequel to Doki Doki Panic. Wait, apparently that’s factually inaccurate. That’s okay though, because Doki Doki Universe is a thoroughly bizarre, endlessly charming adventure that harkens back to the specific type of weird Japanese game that hasn’t really been around since the PS1 days.

Yes, the game has some problems, both technical and design-related, that get in the way. But it’s still an adorable, family-friendly experience that’s so refreshing in the face of the copious realistic violence of other next-gen releases. And aside from its pleasant atmosphere, the Scribblenauts-meets-Monkey-Island-meets-bonkers gameplay is enough to keep you invested on its own.

10. Skylanders: Swap Force

With Skylanders: Swap Force, you have yet another chance to feed your obsession and collect even more Skylanders figures. Just drop them on the power portal, level them up, and get absurdly addicted to the beat-em-up, co-op adventure. The new Swap Force figures take center stage, adding more variety to the gameplay with their ability to take on other character’s powers by switching out the figures’ lower half.

On the PS4, the visuals get kicked up a notch. The environments are exquisitely detailed, CGI cutscenes look like they came straight out a Pixar movie, and your characters are even more lifelike than before. There’s more in our Skylanders: Swap Force review, but if you haven’t already committed to purchasing Swap Force on current-gen, you won’t be disappointed by the look of your characters on the next-gen hardware.

9. Flower

Flower is the kind of game that makes the word “game” seem meaningless. In it, you fly around beautiful, vivid landscapes as a flower petal, triggering flowers to bloom and spread color to the world. It’s relatively simple and won’t provide you with a challenge, but it’s the perfect game to zone out to thanks to its clean visuals and fantastic music.

The PlayStation 4 version of the game isn’t a huge departure from the original, though you’re not going to mind. The 1080p visuals are much cleaner, and make the already entrancing world look all the more stellar. While it might not move you as much as thatgamecompany’s more recent works, it’s definitely a worthwhile, magical journey (oh, man, that has to come out on PS4 too).

8. Need for Speed: Rivals

Fans of Criterion’s recent run of arcade racers will be happy to know that Ghost Games’ first Need For Speed continues in the Burnout developer’s path of fast, fun racing. Set in an awesome world full of things to do (our Need for Speed: Rivals review called it the Skyrim of racers), the game features brilliant driving that looks downright fantastic on the PS4.

Those interested in changing engine parts and simulating driving in circles need not apply–Rivals is made for those more comfortable running opponents (or, let’s just say it: rivals) off the roads. With a suite of online multiplayer options, NFS: Rivals has plenty to offer.

7. DC Universe Online

DC Universe Online isn’t a new game by any means–it’s been alive and well on the PC and the PS3 for some time now. The free-to-play MMO gives you the ability to customize and create your very own hero or villain and fight through you all your favorite DC locations, with powerful, physical combat that makes the game feel more like a brawler than a traditional MMO. It’s ranked pretty high on our list of the best free MMORPGs, too, and it stands the test of time.

The changes to DCUO on the PS4 are pretty minimal when you put them side-by-side. A few new environmental effects pop up from time to time, and overall things are a little less jaggy. When you’re flying high above the city you will still get substantial pop-in, but it’s hardly a deal breaker. Instead of a leap forward to next-gen, DCUO on PS4 is more for people to continue their current experience onto their new console.

6. NBA 2K14

It’s not just about shiny basketball men with wavy shorts (although the player models and cloth physics are amazing). NBA 2K14 on next-gen plays slicker thanks to improved on-court animations and smoother flow in between them. It also adds more immediate tactical options, and refreshes the presentation with mid and post-game interviews.

Big changes abound in the modes too. My Career is now a proper story, with cut-scenes, characters and interesting scenarios to smash through. It’s a fantastic way to revamp the stale career mode. Meanwhile My GM makes franchise-management easier on the eye, and My Team gets online tournaments. Only rough edges and some reused presentation content spoil an otherwise superb next-gen sports experience.

5. Resogun

Nothing quickens the pulse like a wall of incoming fireballs, speeding at you amidst an eye-popping chaotic neon light show. And wouldn’t you know it–that feeling encompasses every moment of Resogun, an arcade shooter that’s traditional in its gameplay and stunningly advanced in its presentation. This PS4 downloadable is just the kind of experience you’re looking for at launch: a score-driven good time that’ll have you chasing your friends’ records for weeks.

When you’re not engrossed by the frenetic shmup action, you’ll be in awe of Resogun’s particle effects, which fly around the screen at a furious pace. Your reward for completing levels is actual Armageddon, as the whole mother-loving cityscape explodes around you into itty-bitty fragments. It’s glorious destruction at its best, and serves as a fitting incentive for saving the last remnants of humanity.

4. Call of Duty: Ghosts

So, you’re looking for a shooter and you don’t feel like playing Killzone: Shadow Fallor Battlefield 4? Good news! As our Call of Duty: Ghosts review explains, the latest COD has everything you’re looking for. Want to blow up a nuclear-missile-launching space station while floating around in zero gravity? Yeah, that happens. Like, right away.

Oh, you’re a multiplayer gamer? CoD: Ghosts has one of the most polished and robust multiplayer offerings on the market. How robust? Dude, you can be a female soldier, customize your loadout with 30 perks, and play in a bunch of multiplayer modes. Not a multiplayer gamer? What else is there? Oh wait! Aliens. Extinction mode. Co-op. Boom!

3. Killzone: Shadow Fall

Easily the better of the PlayStation 4’s two AAA launch titles (as you likely read in ourKillzone: Shadow Fall review), the latest entry in the Killzone franchise is an immensely enjoyable first-person shooter, with decent multiplayer and a single-player campaign that’s wrapped in a surprisingly tense Cold War narrative. Its main characters are a bit bland at times, but the campaign more than makes up for their shortcomings with powerful vignettes that depict the effects of its fictional sci-fi war. And even if you can’t be bothered to care about its story, the gunplay here is great, thanks to open-ended levels and really awesome equipment that lets you apply some strategy to your next-gen firefights.

On the multiplayer side, Shadow Fall features a suite of standard modes, including variants of team deathmatch and capture the flag, among others. The series’ trademark Warzone mode, which randomly rotates through various objectives on the fly during a single match, makes a triumphant return, and the ability to customize your own rulesets means players can create a variety of unique modes separate from the official offerings. As a complete package, Shadow Fall is definitely a PS4 game worth getting excited about.

2. Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

We weren’t too sure what to think when we heard that the Assassin’s Creed franchise would be heading to the high seas in a pirate-filled adventure. What we definitely didn’t expect, though, was for our Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag review to call it the best AC yet. Seriously, it’s that good. The land combat is as strong as ever, and features some of the most interesting outdoor locations we’ve explored in the series–but it’s really the open ocean where AC4 is at its best.

When you’re sailing through a massive storm, raiding enemy ships for rum and harpooning whales for crafting materials, it’s easy to forget how mediocre AC3 was. Blasting apart enemies is rewarding thanks to refinements to the ship combat, and boarding vessels provides a non-stop source of entertainment. Turns out, Assassin’s Creed’s combat works really well within the bounds of a pirate game–who knew?

1. Battlefield 4

No doubt about it, Battlefield 4 on the PS4 is hands-down one of the best ways to experience this absolutely thrilling multiplayer shooter. The difference between playing it on your PS3 and a shiny new machine packing seven years of technological advancement is nothing short of astonishing. The visuals look roughly a billion times cleaner, which has a direct effect on the amount of enjoyment you’ll derive from playing it. Few things are as exhilarating as fighting in massive battles with a total of 64 players, watching soldiers duke it out in the streets while tanks hurl shells at anything that moves.

You’ll instantly understand why we fell in love with this game the second a humongous battleship comes plowing through the shoreline, while player-controlled fighter jets dogfight in the sky overhead. The environmental destruction is more impressive than ever, the battles are tense, and even the single-player campaign has been greatly improved in comparison to the tragedy that was Battlefield 3’s solo offering. If you’re planning on playing Battlefield 4 on consoles, go PS4 or bust.

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What are the Best Xbox One Games?

Wondering which of the Xbox One’s games are worth getting? Team USG pick the ones they think are the best – and explain why.

By USgamer Team

Xbox One weighs in at a fairly hefty retail price of $499. The machine includes a built-in Kinect system, and has a variety of features that enable users to watch an enhanced version of TV. However, it’s the games we’re most interested in, and that’s what we’re looking at today. Each member of Team USG has looked at the roster of Xbox One titles and have chosen the ones they think are the best to buy.

Forza 5

I’ve been going on and on about this for months, so it’s no surprise Forza 5 sits at pole position on my must-buy Xbox One launch games list.

When I played it at E3, I was very impressed. Not quite blown away, but definitely impressed. This is largely due to the narrowing technical gap between generations that we’ve been seeing since the 90’s. While we will eventually see a clear and significant difference between the incoming generation and the outgoing one, it’s going to take some time. Until then, to the untrained eye, many games will look very similar.

Anyone expecting a huge upgrade from Forza 4 may be disappointed. This time around it’s all about subtle details and atmospheric effects.

Forza 5 is such a game. On the face of it, it’s not a huge step up from Forza 4. There are differences, however – it’s just that they’re in the details. The richer level of atmospheric effects, the more complex lighting, the slightly more convincing interiors, and minutiae like leaves that swirl as you drive past them. The backdrops are more sophisticated too, and draw distances have been pushed way out. It’s difficult to appreciate them when you’re driving down a narrow road at 125 mph trying to overtake an opponent, but they’re there if you look.

The new and much-heralded AI system is a little hit-and-miss. It’s supposed to be based on real people’s driving, but it sometimes does some really dumb things – like braking ridiculously early, or freaking out on a straight. Perhaps that’s what some people do, but sometimes it just seems a bit off. Ultimately, if you spend more time competing with other players, it’s all moot anyway.

We’ll have to wait and see whether Gran Turismo will catch up when it finally arrives on PS4. If its recent performance is anything to go by, it’ll likely arrive around the same time we’ll be expecting Forza 6. Until then, Forza 5 sits atop the podium as greatest racer out there.

Need for Speed: Rivals

Yes. Another driving game. But this one is a slightly different flavor to Forza 5. Where Turn 10’s elegant automotive experience is all about driving finesse, trying not to hit other cars and shaving tenths of a second off your lap time to reach the checkered flag first, Need for Speed is a brutal, no-holds-barred, four-wheeled war zone.

Forza 5 and Need for Speed: Rivals might both be racing games, but they offer diametrically opposed experiences. But both are fantastic!

It packs a ton of features that make it great, but the best of them all is AllDrive, which seamlessly integrates single- and multiplayer mode. If your friends are online, you can see exactly what they’re doing and join in their fun. Or you can just drive right past them and carry on doing whatever it is you’re doing. Which is inevitably driving flat-out like an idiot, either trying to catch the racer in front of you as a cop, or trying to avoid cops and challenging other players to races if you’ve decided to pursue a career on the wrong side of the law.

Boasting a wealth of cars, tons of missions, and a big open world that offers a full spectrum of driving opportunities, Need for Speed: Rivals is a gorgeous-looking, raucous-sounding, bonkers-playing combat race game that helps start this next generation off with a bang, followed by a huge slide, a collision with an oncoming car, and a barrel roll down the road.

Call of Duty: Ghosts..Or maybe Battlefield 4

I think both of these are great multiplayer games – but offer a weak single-player experience. If you’re playing solo, Call of Duty gets the nod from me. It’s shorter, but offers a lot more bang for the buck, delivering an almost cinematic experience during some of its spectacular set-pieces. But then again, these games are all about multiplayer, and both deliver an absolutely excellent experience here.

COD or BF? Neither are great as single-player games, but both deliver the goods on multiplayer. COD is tighter and more focused on gunplay. BF is like some kind of insane combat theme park.

If you’re after involving, close-up, visceral and fast-paced action, Call of Duty is definitely the game to get. It’s all about the subtleties of gunplay and finessing your loadouts to best suit your own personal playstyle – and the kind of combat you’re entering. Whether it’s classic deathmatch gameplay, or working with others on some of the new objective-based formats, Call of Duty: Ghosts is tense and exciting.

What I particularly like this time around is the new Squads mode that lets you construct a small army of bots and take them into battle. Again, you can experiment with roles and loadouts to see what works best where, and the AI is impressive enough to give you a really fun mulitplayer experience without having to go online and wait for others. Finally Extinction mode is a really cool, but all-too-short multiplayer co-op mode where you fight off an alien invasion. It’s incredibly good fun, and something I hope we’ll see more of in future COD games.

But while COD is the better choice for those who want the very best gun-oriented action, Battlefield is the one to have if you want more variety. From driving tanks, flying planes and blasting the enemy with a wide variety of weapons, Battlefield is a huge open space filled with mayhem. It’s not quite as authentic-feeling as COD, but it’s a lot more “fun” – and certainly has lots of different things to do. Either way, I think both are a great choice. I prefer COD personally, simply because I like its format of multiplayer better, but I still always enjoy myself whenever I play Battlefield, because it’s just so nuts.

Dead Rising 3

I’ve said before that I have a hard time getting stoked about launch lineups, and Xbox One really drives that fact home. It’s not that the system’s debut titles don’t have promise — they’re just not the sort of games I normally flip out for. Those typically come later, after developers have a chance to get a feel for the machine and time to develop deeper, more consuming ventures. Plus Xbox One lacks the huge roster of indie titles that balances out PS4’s flashy-but-shallow retail releases. There’s plenty to be excited about further down the road for the console — D4 looks interestingly wacky, and holy cow is Titanfall fun — but this early slate of software leaves me cold.

Fortunately, Dead Rising 3 embodies the shining exception to my launch blues rules: At once a substantial adventure, a sequel to one of the definitive titles for Microsoft’s previous system, and an ambitious open-world action thriller. The previous Dead Risings have been full of interesting ideas and systems that never quite gelled to perfection, but early buzz on the third game in the series suggests it has real potential. I’m not enamored with the second-screen elements (which basically amount to “use a tablet for an instant win”) but so long as they’re optional I’m happy to go about my zombie-slaying tasks with aplomb. Especially if it evokes the ridiculously un-serious fun of Saints Row. And this from someone who normally hates zombie games!

It looks like 2013 is where Double Helix breaks out of its shell of mediocrity. Killer Instinct by all rights should be horrible; fighting games are hard to make and balance. Instead, it plays well; it’s fast, bright, and fun. The team has clearly looked at what works in the current fighting game market and updated the classic Killer Instinct gameplay accordingly.

The updated designs for the original cast have all been superb, even if Glacius’ new look will have to grow on me. Even more surprising, is that each character has clearly been pushed in different direction to allow for different playstyles. It’s impressive work, and it all comes together. The roster is a bit sparse, but this isn’t a fire-and-forget release. Microsoft and Double Helix intend to support the game with more characters and a story mode coming next year. I’ve been wanting a new Killer Instinct since 1996, and someone finally delivered.

Just Dance 2014

On the Xbox 360, the Kinect – yes, I have one – was only great for two things: dance games and Netflix voice commands. Of the two dance games out there, Harmonix’ Dance Central and Ubisoft’s Just Dance, I stuck with Dance Central. Just Dance was more fun, but Dance Central was the “hardcore” version. You felt like you could actually dance after long sessions of Dance Central, while Just dance was more forgiving. Harmonix has left the Dance Central series behind in order to create the family-friendly Fantasia: Music Evolved, so Ubisoft has this year’s dance card all to itself.

I was going to ignore Just Dance 2014, but having to wait at Ubisoft’s E3 booth for other appointments meant I had to watch three or four Just Dance 2014 songs performed by professional dancers and random crowd members. With each song, my interest peaked a little more. It looked like a ton of fun. Is there some sort of sinister hypnotism at work?

Just Dance 2014 features an impressive list of super pop-y songs for me to shake my ass to, and all-new Kinect works just as well as the old one. Will you booty shake with me?

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

Yes, Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was also on my list for PlayStation 4 and I loved it when I reviewed it on that platform, but I’m a bit of a rebel. If I was only getting one console and that was the Xbox One, ACIV would still be at the top of my list. Did the navel-gazing of Assassin’s Creed III’s Connor bore you at times? ACIV’s protagonist – ‘hero’ is a bit strong – Edward Kenway is far more charismatic and in tune with exactly what he wants from the world.

Did you hate the naval combat in ACIII because it never felt tied to the main game? Good, because now it’s an integral part of the experience! Did you love the naval combat in ACIII? Great, because now there’s a ton more of it!

I’m also excited for the DLC.

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is a big badass open-world and Ubisoft has had another year to hammer out the bugs in its new AnvilNext engine. While the game will still probably look good on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4, it looks goddamn gorgeous on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Even though it’s coming to current-gen as well, it’s still my next-gen title to beat.

Need for Speed: Rivals

I enjoy the Need for Speed games, but I always feel like they stop short of providing what I really want from them — an interactive Fast and Furious movie. Several past installments have tried to incorporate story into their gameplay with varying amounts of success, but mostly have just boiled down to racing. Fun, exciting, eminently silly racing, admittedly, but still little more than the same sort of thing we’ve been enjoying for years now, albeit a little prettier.

Need for Speed: Rivals still doesn’t really provide that experience, but it does the next best thing: gives us another Hot Pursuit. Autolog is simultaneously the best and worst thing to happen to racing games ever; competition with friends is good, but at the same time it can lead to repeatedly playing one single race over and over again in an attempt to smash that last record by a hundredth of a second rather than actually making any progress.

Hot Pursuit kept my friends and I battling it out for hundredths of a second for a significant period of time; Most Wanted unfortunately failed to recapture that magic. I’m hoping Rivals has the legs to support competition in the long term.

Zoo Tycoon

Most of the games that I enjoy tend to run towards the hardcore. Dota 2, for example, is my drug of my choice. However, Zoo Tycoon has me both charmed and rather curious. It’s being marketed as this zoo-building simulator of unparalleled beauty and accessibility. Why stop at making artfully realistic enclosures for the animals? Go in. Go wild! Stop by the elephant range and scrub down the entire family. I’m skeptical as to how realistic Zoo Tycoon will be. The less pleasant logistics associated with animal husbandry are most likely going to be glossed over.

Still, this is going to be something that I will be able to introduce to my mother and my sister, neither of whom are terribly comfortable around electronic devices. The notion of Zoo Tycoon possibly functioning as a gateway drug tickles me. If something as tactile as Zoo Tycoon is advertised to be cannot beguile the family into joining me in the Dark Side, nothing can. Plus, there’s also the appeal of checking out my first Zoo Tycoon game in god knows how long. It’ll be interesting to see how it fares on the next-gen console, especially with Frontier behind the wheels. Kinectimals was an adorable diversion but too shallow to engage me in the long-term. Will Zoo Tycoon take what was good about its spiritual predecessor and make it palatable to adults? Only time will tell.

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Update: Alleged Dropbox Hack Is A Hoax, Website Is Back Up

by  (@ferenstein)

Update: The alleged hack against Dropbox is looking more like is an elaborate hoax, timed perfectly with the website’s incidental outage. As security researcher Wesley Mcgrew points out, the emails supposedly stolen from Dropbox have been found elsewhere on the web and a known Anonymous Twitter account is officially denying their involvement. Moreover, it seems the group claiming creditmay incur the wrath of Anonymous, because they said the attack was in the name of fallen internet activist, Aaron Swartz. 

Dropbox sent us this updated response, confirming the hoax:

“Dropbox site is back up.

In regards to claims of “leaked user information” – this is a hoax. This is not Dropbox data. The list was published 12/9/13 at:

Today’s outage was caused during internal maintenance, and was not caused by external factors. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

Our original story below:

Popular backup service Dropbox is offline and the hacktivist contingent, Anonymous, is claiming credit. “BREAKING NEWS: We have just compromised the @Dropbox Website #hacked #compromised,” tweeted an alleged Anonymous Twitter account.

Dropbox seems to be denying their website was hacked: “We are aware of an issue currently affecting the Dropbox site. We have identified the cause, which was the result of an issue that arose during routine internal maintenance, and are working to fix this as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience,” went a company blog post. [Update: Dropbox and has called us and is explicitly denying they have been hacked]

If they were, indeed, hacked it’s not clear who is ultimately responsible. Another hacktivist group, 1775sec, is also claiming credit:

We have reached out to Dropbox for more details and will update you on this story as details unfold.

Meanwhile, 1775sec and Anonymous have been mocking Dropbox’s denial and claiming the hack was done in the honor of fallen Internet activist, Aaron Swartz.

1775sec also claims that they successfully stole a list of email addresses from Dropbox, which they posted on the website,

Story is unfolding…


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Yahoo says malware attack farther reaching than thought

The company posts guidelines for Yahoo users worried about infection and says people outside Europe may have been hit. It also says the attacks went on longer than previously reported.



(Credit: CNET)

Yahoo has provided more information on an ad-related malware attack first reported a week ago that may have affected more than 2 million PCs and put Yahoo users’ personal data in jeopardy. The company said some people outside Europe may, in fact, have been hit and that the attacks started four days earlier than previously thought.

In a post made to its Yahoo Help site on Friday, the company said that “while the bulk of those exposed to the malicious advertisements were on European sites, a small fraction of users outside of this region may have been impacted as well.” Netherlands-based security company FoxIT had previously said that the UK, France, and Romania were the countries hardest hit by the attack.

Yahoo also said Friday that users of Yahoo services may have been affected between December 27 to January 3. Initially, the company said the attacks had occurred on January 3. It later said they’d occurred between December 31 and January 3.

Before Yahoo addressed the issue, visitors to Yahoo Web sites and users of services such as Yahoo Mail and Yahoo IM may have been served with malware via the Yahoo ad network. Users visiting pages or services with the malicious ads were redirected to sites armed with code that exploits vulnerabilities in Java and installs a variety of different malware.

Another Dutch security company, Surfright, said earlier that more than 2 million computers had been infected as a result of the malware campaign and that the malicious code could include exploits involving theft of usernames and passwords; the disabling of antivirus software; and the remote control of computers. It’s not clear if the new start date for the attacks means a higher number of infected machines.

US-based security company Light Cyber, said one of the malware programs was designed to shanghai infected machines into a Bitcoin mining operation.

Surfright said on January 5 that “not every ad on the Yahoo advertisement network contained the malicious iframe, but if you have an outdated version of Java Runtime…and you used Yahoo Mail [during] the last 6 days, your computer is likely infected.”

People on Macs or mobile devices weren’t susceptible, according to Yahoo.

In its new post on the incident, Yahoo said the attack occurred “because an account was compromised. The account has been shut down and we are actively working with law enforcement to investigate this.”

It also said that people worried about an infection should take the following steps:


Light Cyber had previously offered detailed information on detecting the malware. You can check that out here.

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The Best, Worst, And Weirdest Things We Saw at CES 2014

You say you weren’t one of the lucky 150,000 gearheads wandering the streets of Las Vegas for this week’s Consumer Electronics Show? Here are some of the things you missed.

Glasshole sitings: We counted 21 people wearing a $1500 pair of Google-powered spectacles. Next time, before going out in public wearing one of those things, try saying “OK Glass, Google ‘self respect.’”

Number of men wearing porkpie hats at a jaunty angle so they could pretend they were members of the rat pack: Five, or roughly five too many.

Grooviest new gadget: 

The Dualo, an electronic musical instrument that you wear around your neck and whose music can be controlled both by tapping on the little circles or leaning and back and forth, via motion sensor.

Most egregious abuse of a Thomas Edison invention:

Yes, I know that there is such thing as electricity, and I know you can wield it to make your sign bright and flashy. But, for the love of god:reel it in. Chances are the majority of journalists who walk by your giant, disco ball of a booth have been staring at screens for the past three days. If anything, your horrible light show will make us move faster away from your booth. Also, it’s not even Thanksgiving.

Most confusing outfit in Las Vegas:


Why is this poor man covered in tablets and being paraded around the floor like a show pony? What are they even trying to sell me?

Most desperate scrawl:


Desperation comes in many forms at CES, in a PR person’s intense, emotionless gaze,endless shouting about free tote bags, and sometimes signs that say “Distributor Wanted!” Nothing says “My product is horrible” more than a sign that admits no one wants to sell it.

The worst thing to do to your smartphone:


A team of engineers likely spent a lot of time and money on the design of my smartphone. The last thing I want to do is cover it in a case that looks like it’s been vomited on by Paris Hilton.

Most enigmatic marketing slogan: Changhong, a Chinese contract manufacturer that recently started selling its own branded HDTVs, had the phrase “LOHAS, my dream” plastered all over its booth. WTF? Turns out that’s an acronym for “Lifestyle Of Health And Sustainability.” We liked it better when it was a mystery.


Dumbest question in response to an enigmatic marketing slogan: The Changhong booth featured a mini-pagoda, signs written in Mandarin, HDTVs showing Chinese cooking videos, and a 12-foot-wide scale replica of the eco-friendly “smart city” in China where its headquarters are located. So, naturally, a show attendee approached one of the company’s representatives and asked, “Lohas, is that Spanish?”

Most distressing idea for soda addicts: This Aullor soda fountain, which is affixed to a tablet and displays how many calories you’re dispensing as you dispense them, and also tells you how long you would have to run to burn all of that soda off. Maybe I’ll stick with water?


Greatest single technological innovation: The invisible mute button on the touchscreens found in the back of every Las Vegas cab,  all of which were showing the same three commercials for local attractions hosted by the buxom-yet-irritating Adrianna Costa. (Hint: It’s in the upper right corner. You’re welcome.)

Coolest booth on the show floor (literally): Liquipel, which makes water-proof coatings for mobile devices, featured an actual rain storm in its booth, dropping the ambient temperature in the overheated South Hall by a good five degrees. Show attendees were relieved; the electronics in the surrounding booths, not so much.


Most embarrassing booth babe costume: The competition for this award was intense, but our vote goes to the two women who were forced to wear costumes made from shredded paper to advertiseHammerill’s wireless printing services. Good thing they weren’t next to the Liquipel booth or we might have had to call in the vice squad.

Least persuasive product endorsement: WeatherSphere, an app that combines GPS navigation with live weather maps, featured the following endorsement on a placard in its booth at Eureka Park: “I would be dead if it wasn’t for this app” – iTunes user Gamer Tag weedy bird. Because if weedy bird likes it, you know it must be awesome.


Cutest idea: Teddy The Guardian, above, allows doctors to measure the temperature, pulse, and blood oxygen levels of toddlers by asking them to squeeze the bear’s hand, which contains a sensor and Bluetooth to beam that information to a computer. No matter howling kids as you attempt to stick a thermometer in them. Aww!

Most useful free giveaway: PC Keeper, a computer repair and security company, was giving away multicolored condoms in its booth. Because some things — like STDs — really should stay in Vegas.

Number of attendees who traveled thousands of miles to attend CES but spent most of their time at the show staring down at their phones: Nearly all of them.

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Microsoft reportedly planning Windows 9 release in April 2015

By Tom Warren

Windows Blue stock

Microsoft is currently working on an “Update 1″ for Windows 8.1, but the company has bigger plans for the future of Windows as part of a “Threshold” wave of updates. Windows watcher Paul Thurrott reports that the company’s Threshold plans will involve a release of Windows 9 around April 2015. Microsoft will allegedly unveil its vision for Windows 9 at the company’s Build 2014 developer conference in April, with a release planned for a year later.

It appears that Microsoft is currently planning to use the Windows 9 branding and vision as a way to move away from some of the criticisms of the Windows 8 operating system. It’s not immediately clear what type of changes will be made to Windows 9, but “Metro 2.0″ inside the new OS will reportedly include a major focus on improving Microsoft’s new app world and tiles. Previous rumors have suggested Microsoft is planning to separate out its Windows 8-style (“Metro”) apps to allow them to float and run in separate windows on the traditional desktop. The Verge understands Microsoft is also planning a Start menu return for Windows 9, but that the company may deliver this early in a second “Update 2″ for Windows 8.1 later this year.


Microsoft will reportedly use three major milestone development points for Windows 9, but it’s not clear how many of them will be released to the public during the development period. The software maker is currently in the final planning stages for Windows 9 and work is expected to begin after the Build 2014 developer conference in April. It sounds like Microsoft will use Build 2014 as a launch point for its vision of Windows 9, detailing some of the planned changes in an attempt to generate excitement around the company’s future plans.

Windows certainly needs excitement, Windows 8-style apps, and innovation if Microsoft is to succeed with its vision of a hybrid tablet and desktop operating system. If Microsoft manages to pull off a Windows 9 release with significant improvements over Windows 8 then that may relegate Windows 8 to a Vista-like release in the minds of consumers. The company clearly isn’t confident with any continued use of the Windows 8 brand in the same way that Apple does with its OS X point releases. While there will be further tweaks to Windows 8.1 shortly, Windows 9 looks to be the next major release.


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Near the end of the workday Friday, an office manager at a startup in San Francisco’s industrial Potrero Hill neighborhood scurried to grab a chilled bottle of sparkling wine. The company was commemorating its App Store approval: Beats Music, which launches Jan. 21 for $10 a month.

The streaming service from Beats Electronics, which came to dominate the premium headphone market after launching in 2006 (and reportedly raked in $1.4 billion in revenue last year), also marks Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers’s year at the company. Rogers joined last January to lead this $60 million streaming initiative, codenamedProject Daisy at the time. In the process, Beats acquired MOG, a well-reviewed service that struggled to gain a user base, for $14 million.

Hoping to replicate its headphones success in the streaming market, Beats is positioning its service–which will take on the likes of Spotify, Google, Apple, and others–as the one that understands users’ emotions, offering the best of human curation and computer algorithm. A deal struck with AT&T will also bundle the music service with the wireless provider’s monthly smartphone service. A $15 family plan will give up to five users separate streaming accounts.

“You want to feel that emotion that only music can make you feel, where it transports you to something else,” Rogers tells Fast Company. “We want to be of service, not just a server for the user.” He elaborates by talking about how other streaming companies make the mistake of viewing music through the lens of data. “Bob Dylan’s discography is his career, not just data,” he adds.

At launch, the company’s catalog will number 20 million titles, and Rogers maintains that it’s not saturated with “spam,” such as cover or karaoke versions. Instead, the company is focused on cleaning up its catalog (eg. so a remastered album shows the original year of its release) and also bringing in those pivotal albums from indie labels, which ordinarily would go the iTunes route, he says. Personalization and customization are woven deeply throughout the app. During the onboarding experience, users are asked to select genres and artists to gauge their music tastes. Other cues–including liking, disliking, and skipping songs, as well as following artists and playlists–help influence what music is presented to users.

At work are two components: an algorithm that understand user preferences and hand-crafted playlists that “are blessed by human beings.” As of Friday, there were 5,400 playlists created by an in-house team of 15 music editors as well as about 100 outside music experts, including music magazines such as Pitchfork, and Rogers says those numbers are growing. “The technology underneath helps that human touch scale,” Rogers says.

This is the case with the default home screen called Just For You, which surfaces album and playlist recommendations, as well as Right Now, which tailors music to users’ surroundings and mood. Almost like a mad lib, it asks users to fill in the blank: “I’m [at location] and feel like [activity] with [person/people] to [music genre].” Rogers says there are about a million combinations possible with Right Now, all of them curated playlists.

“When these guys showed me how this was being done, I was completely blown away,” Rogers says. “I love this feature. I think it exemplifies with Beats Music is–scaling curation. Here, you have these human-tuned, almost emotional settings for music, but they scale.”

Yet as proud as Rogers is, Beats Music is still a work in progress. The company admits it’s lacking social features, and what exists on the app is bare bones–largely centered around notifications and following users, artists, and playlists. Building out these social features will play a role in the company’s vision for curated music. Because as much as it relies on its so-called music experts, the focus is on surfacing music based on trusted sources, and they doesn’t always come from a magazine or podcast.