Continuing on from the recent Sony hacks, Codemasters has admitted being subjected to an intrusion themselves. Interestingly, it's taken them a week to admit it:
Important information regarding your account
Dear valued Codemasters customer,
On Friday 3rd June, unauthorised entry was gained to our Codemasters.com website. As soon as the intrusion was detected, we immediately took codemasters.com and associated web services offline in order to prevent any further intrusion.
During the days since the attack we have conducted a thorough investigation in order to ascertain the extent and scope of the breach and have regrettably discovered that the intruder was able to gain access to the following:
- Codemasters.com website
- Access to the Codemasters corporate website and sub-domains.
- DiRT 3 VIP code redemption page
- Access to the DiRT 3 VIP code redemption page.
- The Codemasters EStore
We believe the following have been compromised: Customer names and addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, encrypted passwords and order history. Please note that no personal payment information was stored with Codemasters as we use external payment providers, meaning your payment details were not at risk from this intrusion.
Codemasters CodeM database
Members' names, usernames, screen names, email addresses, date of birth, encrypted passwords, newsletter preferences, any biographies entered by users, details of last site activity, IP addresses and Xbox Live Gamertags are all believed to have been compromised.
Whilst we do not have confirmation that any of this data was actually downloaded onto an external device, we have to assume that, as access was gained, all of these details were compromised and/or stolen.
The Codemasters.com website will remain offline for the foreseeable future with all Codemasters.com traffic re-directed to the Codemasters Facebook page instead. A new website will launch later in the year.
For your security, in the first instance we advise you to change any passwords you have associated with other Codemasters accounts. If you use the same login information for other sites, you should change that information too. Furthermore, be extra cautious of potential scams, via email, phone, or post that ask you for personal or sensitive information. Please note that Codemasters will never ask you for any payment data such as credit card numbers or bank account details, nor will Codemasters ask you for passwords or other personal identifying data. Be aware too of fraudulent emails that may outwardly appear to be from Codemasters with links inviting you to visit websites. The safest way to visit your favourite websites is always by typing in the address manually into the address bar of your browser.
Unfortunately, Codemasters is the latest victim in on-going targeted attacks against numerous game companies. We assure you that we are doing everything within our legal means to track down the perpetrators and take action to the full extent of the law.
We apologise for this incident and regret any inconvenience caused.
We are contacting all customers who may have been affected directly.
Should you have any concerns or wish to speak to a member of our Customer Services team, please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The question is, who's next?
A few months back my (now) sister-in-law was looking through our DVD collection to find a few to rent, when she suggested I should have a list of them all - as it would be easier to find.
So, I decided to make a simple web application that would store all of the DVDs and games within a database, allowing friends and family to browse the catalogue and to 'rent' any they wished. The application itself was easy to create, the time consuming part was entering all 321 items into the database! It took Anneka and I about 8 hours spread over several evenings. The result is:
Have a look, filter the collection and view the individual DVDs/games. Let me know if you find any issues too - as it's still in development. I plan to add several more features including:
- A count of the results (after filtering)
- Advanced searching including keywords
- User registration
- Valid XHTML
Back in June this year, my XBOX displayed the 3 red lights of death in all their glory. Luckily Microsoft repaired the console for free, collecting it from the house and returning it via UPS - all within a week. According to the piece of paper returned with the console, the motherboard was faulty and required a replacement to be installed.
Since then, the XBOX appeared to be fine and also slightly quieter in operation. That was, until about 3 weeks ago. Anneka started watching one of her DVDs - Mamma Mia or something and the XBOX 360 decided to red light once more. However, when I returned that evening and played on a few games the XBOX was absolutely fine, so I thought nothing of it.
Then progressively over the following weeks until today, the XBOX started crashing at different intervals. To begin with, I had started GTA IV all over again, only to have it crash a few missions in. It then crashed again and again - with the time between switching the 360 on and it freezing reduced each time.
Last Friday, I received my Secret Santa present - Mass Effect for the 360! So over the weekend I sat down once Lily was fast asleep to begin a new game. Unfortunately after spending 10 minutes adjusting Shepard's features and skills I was met with yet another frozen screen. I didn't give up though and after a reset I started all over again. However, it crashed another time one I'd decided upon the eye shape. I think in total I tried 10 times, hoping it would improve - but alas, it crashes on demand now.
To prove it wasn't just a dodgy game, today I tried a DVD (which originally displayed the red lights) - and that produced a different result, as the screen became all pixelated prior to the crash - whereas previous crashes displayed a perfect picture, albeit frozen. So, it definately appears to be broken as nothing is playable for more than a couple of minutes.
I went onto the XBOX site and signed in to check my previous repair. Unfortunately the warranty had expired and after reading through their FAQs it appeared that I would have to pay for a repair, unless the red lights appeared.
So, I phoned their support line to argue my case - that they didn't accept anything other than VISA/Mastercard and that I would have to pay, even though the XBOX was clearly faulty. The friendly chap on the other end of the line was on my side and went through multiple different things to try to get the 360 to red light once more. But it just wouldn't budge. I can report that it crashed constantly during the tests, but each one only resulted in a pixelated or frozen screen.
Here I am, with a faulty XBOX 360 a couple of days before Christmas - when I know we'll be needing to watch DVDs, or I'll want to play on a game. Thankfully though, I didn't renew my subscription to Live as it ran out last week. But I know I'll have a game or two from Christmas itching to be played.
Now, I either need to locate a VISA/Mastercard and pay up the £60 repair fee, or look to purchasing a 2nd hand/new XBOX to replace my faulty one. Looking around the 'net an arcade can be picked up for a mere £124.99 and the premium (60GB) for £159.99. Unfortunately, the Elite is still at an Elite price of £225 or so, which makes the repair cost more appealing. What would you opt for?
- £60 repair, on an already repaired XBOX?
- Another £64.99 for a new replacement?
- A further £35 for an upgrade (60GB)?
- Or even more for an Elite (120GB/HDMI)?
Grand Theft Auto 4 is probably 6 months old now, but I've still not finished the game!
To cut a long story short (40+ hours of game time short), I've come across a glitch that a Google search showed many others have experienced too. The Final Interview mission requires that you meet up with Francis at the police station, who instructs you to get an interview at a local law firm. Once inside, you'll have to take down the interviewer. Sounds fairly simple, however it involves submitting your resume at the Internet Cafe (TW@T) and waiting for a phone call, which never arrives.
Tonight I attempted the mission for probably the 100th time, with many of my saves dating back to June with the same issue. I opted for a save from a previous mission, to see if that bypassed it. Once I submitted the resume and received the text message from the law firm, there was no phone call.
Reading through countless forum threads regarding the same glitch, the only way around it appears to be starting the game from scratch again - something I'm not fond of.
Instead, I'm tempted to trade the game in for Saints Row 2...
Back in October 2007, I mentioned that a new Star Wars MMORPG was in the works.
This is what many Star Wars Galaxies fans (past and present) have been waiting for. Finally, the Star Wars universe will be conveyed in a decent MMORPG experience. Roll on beta/release...