Sony Launches Investigation After Ransomware Group Claims to Have Breached Company’s Systems

Sony has said it has launched an investigation after a ransomware group claimed to have breached the company’s systems.

Cyber Security Connect reported that a ransomware group calling itself claimed it had breached Sony Group and threatened to sell stolen data.

“We have successfully compromissed [sic] all of sony systems,” claimed on both on the clear and dark nets, as reported by Cyber Security Connect. “We won’t ransom them! We will sell the data. Due to Sony not wanting to pay. DATA IS FOR SALE.”

While the claims are unverified at this stage, Cyber Security Connect said posted proof-of-hack data that includes screenshots of an internal log-in page, an internal PowerPoint presentation outlining test bench details, and a number of Java files. There’s also a file tree of the entire leak, which appears to have less than 6,000 files. Cyber Security Connect described this cache of data as “small" relative to the "all of Sony systems” claim. threatened to post the data on September 28 if no buyer is found beforehand.

In a statement issued to IGN, Sony said: “We are currently investigating the situation, and we have no further comment at this time.”

The news rekindles memories of the costly PlayStation Network hack of 2011, which saw the personal details of 77 million accounts accessed. PSN ended up offline for nearly a month, disrupting game launches and customer services.


Starfield release time: when it unlocks in your time zone

At long last, it's nearly Starfield release time, with early access having opened on August 31. After years of tiny teasers, big reveals, leaks, and delays, it's time to get comfortable in the cockpit for the official Starfield launch.

As we've found this month, it may not be immediately clear when you can actually play Starfield. There's the date that Bethesda is actually promoting as the launch date, then there's the date when certain players get Starfield early access, then there's the date that equates to for those of us on the back third of the world timezone map. Nobody wants to miss the chance to press the big "play" button as early as possible, so check our breakdown here to be sure you know exactly when Starfield launches for you.
When is the Starfield release time?

Starfield global launch times confirming August 31 at 5pm PDT for Premium Edition and September 5 at 5 pm PDT for Standard Edition.
(Image credit: Bethesda Game Studios)

The official Starfield release time is at 5 pm Pacific on either August 31 or September 5, depending on which version you bought. Anyone who's purchased the Premium Edition or higher can begin playing on August 31. For standard edition players and those playing via Game Pass, launch day is September 5.
Here's when the Starfield launch happens (Premium and Standard Edition respectively) in other timezones:

    5 pm PDT, August 31/September 5 (Los Angeles)
    8 pm EDT, August 31/September 5 (New York)
    1 am BST, September 1/September 6 (London)
    2 am CEST, September 1/September 6 (Berlin)
    10 am AEST, September 1/September 6 (Sydney)
    12 pm NZST, September 1/September 6 (Auckland)

Bethesda has been promoting September 6 as the official launch day, as that will be the calendar date when the majority of players worldwide start playing. But the internet has no timezone, so be prepared to start seeing Starfield screenshots, gameplay, and opinions in the wild on August 31.

Some Premium Edition owners reported that Starfield didn't unlock for them on time when the "early access" period has began. A Bethesda Support account (which seems to be legit) has indicated that this is a temporary error due to the number of players and the issue seems now to have largely passed.

Whether you're making your first space jumps ASAP or cooling your jets to play on Game Pass, get prepared for the journey with our guide to all the Starfield factions you can join, all the Starfield companions you can recruit along the way, and all the Starfield traits we've seen so far.

Call of Duty enlists AI to eavesdrop on voice chat and help ban toxic players starting today

Call of Duty is joining the growing number of online games combatting toxicity by listening to in-game voice chat, and it's using AI to assist the process. Activision announced a partnership with AI outfit Modulate to integrate its proprietary voice moderation tool—ToxMod—into Modern Warfare 2, Warzone 2, and the upcoming Modern Warfare 3.

Activision says ToxMod, which begins beta testing in North American servers today, is able to "identify in real-time and enforce against toxic speech—including hate speech, discriminatory language, harassment and more."

Modulate describes ToxMod as "the only proactive voice chat moderation solution purpose-built for games." While the official website lists a few games ToxMod is already being used in (mostly small VR games like Rec Room), Call of Duty's hundreds of thousands of daily players will likely represent the largest deployment of the tool to date.
Call of Duty's ToxMod AI will not have free rein to issue player bans. A voice chat moderation Q&A published today specifies that the AI's only job is to observe and report, not punish.
"Call of Duty’s Voice Chat Moderation system only submits reports about toxic behavior, categorized by its type of behavior and a rated level of severity based on an evolving model," the answer reads. "Activision determines how it will enforce voice chat moderation violations."

So while voice chat complaints against you will, in theory, be judged by a human before any action is taken, ToxMod looks at more than just keywords when flagging potential offenses. Modulate says its tool is unique for its ability to analyze tone and intent in speech to determine what is and isn't toxic. If you're naturally curious how that's achieved, you won't find a crystal-clear answer but you will find a lot of impressive-sounding claims (as we're used to from AI companies).

The company says its language model has put in the hours listening to speech from people with a variety of backgrounds and can accurately distinguish between malice and friendly riffing. Interestingly, Modulate's ethics policy states ToxMod "does not detect or identify the ethnicity of individual speakers," but it does "listen to conversational cues to determine how others in the conversation are reacting to the use of [certain] terms."

Terms like the n-word: "While the n-word is typically considered a vile slur, many players who identify as black or brown have reclaimed it and use it positively within their communities… If someone says the n-word and clearly offends others in the chat, that will be rated much more severely than what appears to be reclaimed usage that is incorporated naturally into a conversation."

Modulate also offers the example of harmful speech toward kids. "For instance, if we detect a prepubescent speaker in a chat, we might rate certain kinds of offenses more severely due to the risk to the child," the site reads.

In recent months, ToxMod's flagging categories have gotten even more granular. In June, Modulate introduced a "violent radicalization" category to its voice chat moderation that can flag "terms and phrases relating to white supremacist groups, radicalization, and extremism—in real-time."

The list of what ToxMod claims to be detecting here includes:

    Promotion or sharing ideology
    Recruitment or convincing others to join a group or movement
    Targeted grooming or convincing vulnerable individuals (ie, children and teens) to join a group or movement
    Planning violent actions or actively planning to commit physical violence

"Using research from groups like ADL, studies like the one conducted by NYU, current thought leadership, and conversations with folks in the gaming industry," says the company, "we've developed the category to identify signals that have a high correlation with extremist movements, even if the language itself isn't violent. (For example, 'let’s take this to Discord' could be innocent, or it could be a recruiting tactic.)"

Modulate is clearly setting its goals high, though for Call of Duty's purposes, it sounds like ToxMod will simply be the middleman between potential offenders and a human moderation team. While the machinations of AI decision-making are inherently vague, Activision says its enforcement will ultimately abide by Call of Duty's official Code of Conduct. That's not dissimilar to how Riot and Blizzard have been handling voice chat moderation in Valorant and Overwatch 2, though Riot has also been gathering voice chat data for over a year to develop its own AI language model.

ToxMod will roll out worldwide in Call of Duty at the launch of Modern Warfare 3 on November 10, starting with English-only moderation and expanding to more languages at a later date.

Ubisoft Will Delete Everything If Your Account Is Inactive

It was recently revealed that Ubisoft has an account closure process that’ll see your history with the firm totally wiped if you remain inactive for too long. This was made clear by the company’s support staff, and it has drastic ramifications. It means that your account will be automatically deleted – purchases, unlocks, progress, and everything else – if you remain inactive for a little too long.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent $500 on the platform and logged thousands of hours – if you stop using Ubisoft’s services for a little too long, they’ll ping you an email warning you of the imminent closure of your account. If you then ignore – or totally miss – that email, then you can kiss your Ubisoft account Butt goodbye.

How Long Do You Have?

From what we can see, the duration that you need to surpass before you’re classed as ‘too inactive’ isn’t set in stone, but some users have speculated that it could be anything from two years to six years – or more, according to some. Once you’ve passed that threshold, you’ll have thirty days following the warning email to log into your account.

It’s assumed that even a simple log-in is enough to be considered active once again.

If you’d bought every Assassin’s Creed game, a few Far Cry titles, and perhaps some Splinter Cell or Rainbow Six games, you’d lose them all if you remained inactive for too long with Ubisoft.

What do you think about this revelation? Are you enraged, or do you think it just makes sense?

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Limited Edition PS5 Bundle, Console Covers, And DualSense Revealed:

PlayStation and developer Insomniac Games have revealed a new limited edition Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 bundle releasing this September, ahead of the game’s October release. 

This bundle has a PlayStation 5 Digital console, custom console covers, and a matching DualSense controller, and was announced shortly after PlayStation released a new story trailer for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Pre-orders will open for this bundle, and the custom covers and DualSense (both of which you can purchase separately), later this month on July 28. All of it will be released on September 1. The PS5 bundle includes a voucher for a digital copy of the game for when it launches on October 20.

“Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will be featured on custom PlayStation 5 hardware,” a PlayStation Blog post reads. “The PS5 console – Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Limited Edition Bundle has a custom PS5 console cover design with the symbiote closing in on our white spider icon. Additionally, a matching DualSense wireless controller is included, which again shows the symbiote threat creeping across the entire controller.”

Anyone who pre-orders the bundle, which includes a digital copy of the Standard Edition of the game, will also receive the same pre-order bonuses as those who pre-order the game separately. These bonuses consist of an early unlock for the Arachknight Suit for Peter with three color variants, an early unlock of the Shadow Spider suit for Miles with three color variants, an early unlock for the Web Grabber gadget, and three skill points. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 hits PlayStation 5 on October 20.