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Halo: Infinite multiplayer preview — Solid core gameplay

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Halo: Infinite multiplayer preview — Solid core gameplay

A new GamesBeat event is around the corner! Learn more about what comes next. 


Like a great many Halo Insiders, I played the Halo: Infinite public test this weekend and it brought back some good memories. I’m looking forward to playing a lot more of this game when it debuts in 74 days.

The public test of the multiplayer tech is running this weekend and next weekend as Microsoft’s 343 Industries collects data and feedback from the community as the developers move into the home stretch. I enjoyed playing the Halo: Infinite Arena multiplayer maps, where four players squared off against four enemies. You can see one of my matches in the embedded video. The game debuts on December 8.

It took me a while to get back in the swing of Halo multiplayer, as I haven’t played it in a while. You have to toss a grenade and hope to do some damage, shoot at the enemy as you close, and then finally take the enemy out with a well-timed melee swing. The trouble, of course, is that the enemies are trying to do the same thing to you, from all directions.

I learned that I didn’t really have much time for aiming down the site. Rather, I just fired my assault rifle at targets using hip fire. There wasn’t that much gun bounce and so that started to work fairly well for me. But I did get the best results when I could aim down the site and fire for a long enough time to bring down the target.

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Above: Fragmentation is one of Halo: Infinite’s big maps.

Image Credit: 343 Industries

As far as the stability goes, I had one small problem in a map when my gun wouldn’t stop shooting. I restarted it and it went away. I played on Steam on the PC with an Xbox controller. Everything worked as intended.

Insiders could also try out Academy experiences such as Weapon Drills and Training Mode. The whole point of the public test, which wasn’t technically a beta test, was to test the game’s online connectivity on a large scale on both the PC and the Xbox. You should give it a try. It’s a familiar Halo experience, with lots of new environments and maps to make it seem fresh. I enjoyed this embedded video match of Capture the Flag mode on the Bazaar map.

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Apple takes Russia to court over App Store ruling

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Apple takes Russia to court over App Store ruling

Apple is still fighting Russia over alleged App Store abuse. Both 9to5Mac and RT report Apple is asking for a judicial review of a Federal Antimonopoly Service warning from August that allows developers to mention alternatives to the App Store’s in-app payment system. FAS gave Apple until September 30th to alter its policies, but the company declined to change its rules despite the threat of a fine.

The opposition parallels Apple’s legal battles in the US. The judge in Epic’s lawsuit against Apple ordered the tech firm to let App Store developers point to other payment systems, but Apple appealed the injunction in hopes of a delay. The court denied Apple’s request, and the company will have until December 9th to let app makers point to other options. Apple will make exceptions to its policy for some media apps in 2022.

Pushbacks like those in the US and Russia aren’t surprising. Apple still makes most of its money through hardware sales, but its services business is growing. Easier third-party alternatives could theoretically hurt App Store revenues, not to mention increase the chances of rogue apps pointing users to malicious sites. The iPhone maker might not have much choice, however. Regulators are concerned Apple’s approach stifles choice and competition, and they’re unlikely to let the matter slide.

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Report: Phishing campaign is actively targeting U.S. military families

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Returning soldier hugging children at door

Image Credit: Mike Kemp // Getty Images

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New research from Lookout Threat Lab has found a long-running phishing campaign that is actively targeting families of United States military personnel, as well as individuals interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with a soldier. The scammers impersonate military support organizations and personnel to steal sensitive personal and financial information for monetary gain.

Based on Lookout’s analysis, it’s clear that the threat actor is looking to steal sensitive data from victims such as their photo identification, bank account information, name, address, and phone number. With this information, the actor could easily steal the victim’s identity, empty their bank account, and impersonate the individual online.

A number of infrastructure indicators and open-sourced intelligence findings lead the Lookout Threat Lab to believe that the threat actor operates out of Nigeria. The websites were primarily hosted by Nigerian providers that are offshore or ignore the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) — in both cases, these sites were fairly protected from takedowns. Researchers were able to further confirm the operator’s location from a phone number one of the web developers accidentally left on the draft version of the site. The country code of the number is from Nigeria.

Likely for economic reasons, the threat actors chose cheap, shared hosting services for the scam websites. This can present an obstacle to research, as hundreds or even thousands of domains may share the same virtual resources and resolve to the same IP address. To uncover additional sites from this campaign, Lookout researchers were able to reference the contact numbers on these sites, which happened to be reused.

When the Lookout Threat Lab dove into the registration information for various sites, they found that the actors practiced fairly poor operational security, often reusing phone numbers, email addresses, and other registrant information, which made the campaign easier to track. In addition to the shared resources and contact information on the actual websites, this information enabled Lookout researchers to identify 50 military scam sites tied to this campaign. They were also able to link this group to numerous other scams advertising fake delivery services, cryptocurrency trading, banks, and even online pet sales.

As compromised accounts are one of the most difficult threats to combat, the Lookout Threat Lab recommends all organizations deploy a dedicated phishing solution that works regardless whether the employee is working inside corporate perimeters or not.

See the full report by Lookout Threat Lab.

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eBay banned some users by mistake

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eBay banned some users by mistake

Twitter isn’t the only big-name internet company to have accidentally banned users this week. As The Verge reports, eBay has confirmed it suspended a “small number” of users by mistake on December 3rd. The company didn’t provide a cause or reveal the extent of the problem, but said it had fixed the slip-up and notified those affected.

There may have been a significant number of victims. Reddit users devoted a large thread to the bans, noting that there weren’t any potential red flags for at least some of the accounts. People were suspended even if they had excellent buyer and seller histories or hadn’t used eBay for years. Those who contacted eBay were denied appeals and, at least once, told they put eBay users “at risk.”

While it’s not always clear what prompts unintentional bans, incidents like these underscore the limits of moderating internet services. Companies often have to lean on automated moderation to handle the sheer scale of content, and those human moderators that are available can still make mistakes. Gaffes like this are rare, but might be difficult to avoid without double-checking decisions.

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