Online game from PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds dev let players send malware via in-game chat

Here’s something new (and very worrying) in the world of online gaming: Tera, an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online RPG) produced by the same developer responsible for PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, had its in-game chat shut down over the weekend following revelations that it could be used as a medium to spread all sorts of malicious nastiness including viruses.

Developer Bluehole launched Tera back in 2011 in South Korea, and it followed to North America and Europe in 2012. It’s an online RPG with combat that plays out like an FPS, but panic struck over the weekend when the game servers were brought down for emergency maintenance to fix a gaping chat-related vulnerability.

Players themselves actually highlighted the flaw in Tera’s chat system, which apparently utilizes HTML, and could reportedly be exploited to bombard other players with dodgy images or links, collect user IP addresses, or even remotely execute malware.

As if MMORPG public chat channels weren’t toxic enough already.

The game’s North American publisher, En Masse, noted at the time: “There are very serious claims floating around of what this vulnerability potentially allows malicious users to do. We are taking these claims very seriously but, as of this time, we have no evidence that the vulnerability is being exploited in these ways or that any player information has been compromised.”

Fixing a hole

En Masse investigated the issue in conjunction with Bluehole, resulting in all chat being disabled save for guild chat last Friday, with the fix subsequently being deployed on Saturday at around 8:00 PST time in the US. Gameforge, the EU publisher, applied the fix on Friday at 16:00 UK time, a day earlier.

So the issue was dealt with fairly swiftly, as you’d hope, although by all accounts players had their game settings reset by the hotfix. Still, better that than a surprise virus arriving via a chat channel…

This is definitely a bit of an eye-opener and a cautionary tale for developers everywhere, for sure, in terms of security considerations when it comes to in-game systems.

And of course it’s particularly interesting that while Tera is hardly a big-name game, its developer is a big fish these days, and the force behind the juggernaut PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds.

Via: Engadget

  • Your online gaming will run more smoothly with one of our best graphics cards

Nvidia CEO believes AMD has suffered a ‘great loss’ and Intel is playing GPU catch-up

Nvidia just posted some impressive financial results, and the company is certainly in a buoyant mood, with the CEO taking the time to divulge his thoughts on the recently-revealed AMD and Intel partnership in laptop CPUs, as well as the defection of a key executive from the former to the latter.

The Q3 fiscal results were certainly strong, with Nvidia notching up a record revenue of $2.64 billion (around £2 billion, AU$3.45 billion), an increase of a third compared to a year ago. The firm made big gains with data centers, but surprisingly also experienced a big jump in gaming revenue with a 25% increase year-on-year – flying in the face of analysts’ expectations.

After boasting of bulging coffers, chief executive Jensen Huang talked on the subject of Raja Koduri leaving AMD to become Intel’s senior VP of the Core and Visual Computing Group, with a remit to deliver ‘high-end discrete graphics’. Yes, discrete graphics solutions, not integrated (on-processor) affairs.

As Tom’s Hardware reports, Huang commented: “Yeah, there's a lot of news out there… first of all, Raja leaving AMD is a great loss for AMD, and it's a recognition by Intel probably that the GPU is just incredibly important now.

“The modern GPU is not a graphics accelerator, we just left the letter ‘G’ in there, but these processors are domain-specific parallel accelerators, and they are enormously complex, they are the most complex processors built by anybody on the planet today.”

He goes on to point out that this is exactly why “every major server around the world has adopted Nvidia GPUs.”

Graphic detail

So, there are a couple of things here. First of all, and obviously enough, it’s not surprising that the Nvidia CEO wants to paint Koduri’s departure as a bad thing for AMD, and AMD’s graphics cards, in terms of it being a ‘great loss’.

Also, on the Intel side of the equation, Huang focuses on the company’s need to drive forward with graphics processors as a critical one. And this likely reflects the fact that the mentioned discrete GPUs Intel talked about in its press release welcoming Koduri into the fold is more about targeting heavyweight arenas such as AI and machine learning, rather than anything to do with gaming.

In other words, Intel doing discrete graphics is certainly big news that will make big waves, but not in terms of consumer graphics cards.

Note that Intel has tried its hand at discrete graphics cards in the past – or had brief flirtations would perhaps be a better way of putting it – but you get the sense that it’s truly a serious drive this time around.

Furthermore, Huang took time to comment on AMD and Intel teaming up to make laptop processors with integrated AMD graphics, news which broke earlier this week.

His somewhat rambling comment on the matter was: “And lastly, with respect to the chip that they [Intel and AMD] built together, I think it goes without saying, now that the energy efficiency of Pascal GeForce and the Max-Q design technology and all of the software we have created has really set a new design point for the industry, it is now possible to build a state of the art gaming notebook with the most leading edge GeForce processors, and we want to deliver gaming experiences many times that of a console in 4K and have that be in a laptop that is 18mm thin.

“The combination of Pascal and Max-Q has really raised the bar, and that's really the essence of it.”

In short: Nvidia’s rivals need to do something, because the firm’s latest advances with Max-Q are pushing the notebook graphics envelope so much.

Strong words all round then, but given its current form, Nvidia is unlikely to be short of confidence. Particularly when looking to a future in which graphics processors are key to the likes of supercomputers and cutting-edge fields such as AI and machine learning.

  • These are the best graphics cards you can buy in 2017

Best monitor 2017: the top 10 monitors and displays we’ve reviewed

Even if you’re not the type to drop thousands of dollars just because the newest piece of tech came out, and you just have to have it, there are still plenty of reasons to pick up one of the best monitors. Out of all of the different components that go into a computer, the monitor is the only one you’re forced to look at all day. And it doesn’t matter if you’re working or just surfing the web, you shouldn’t have to subject yourself to a subpar display that makes you squint just to read your best friend’s Facebook post.

The best part is that you don’t necessarily have to have deep pockets to get your hands on one of the best monitors. You might not be able to pick up an ultra wide curved monitor for a couple hundred, but you can get high quality standard monitors that won’t hurt your bank account. A lot of them do sport high resolutions and refresh rates, though, and even the ones that don’t are so cheap they’re practically impulse buys.

But, we hear you. There are tons of monitors out there, from more manufacturers than you’d care to name. We get it. That’s why we’ve taken the time to compile a list of the 10 best monitors you can buy today. Each one of these has been rigorously tested and reviewed here in-house so you know that their inclusion on this list is earned. We’re not here to waste your time, we want to help you out.

  • BenQ PD3200U
  • AOC Agon AG352UCG
  • Acer Predator X34
  • Asus MG248Q
  • Acer S277HK
  • BenQ Zowie XL2540
  • LG 34UC79G-B
  • Asus ROG Swift PG248Q
  • Philips S-Line 243S7EHMB

Now that computers are equipped with the encoding technologies that can natively display at the intended resolution, 4K monitors are in increasingly high demand. That explains why BenQ has added the PD3200U, a massive 32-inch Ultra HD display, to its Designer Monitor range. Intended for worker bees, the company has, seemingly by mistake, crafted a screen that gamers can enjoy wholeheartedly as well, so long as they can fit it on their desks. Then again, given the comparatively sluggish 4ms response time, the PD3200U is best suited for creators. 3D designers, for instance, will be grateful for the inclusion of a CAD/CAM mode, while everyone else will revel in the factory-calibrated color accuracy and Rec. 709 adherence. 

Read the full review: BenQ PD3200U

The Agon AG352UCG from AOC is proof that an ultrawide display doesn’t have to be limited in resolution or extended functionality. In fact, this 21:9 IPS panel prides itself on its stately 3,440 x 1,440 resolution and G-Sync capabilities. That’s right, when paired with an Nvidia graphics card, this monitor uses G-Sync to eliminate screen tearing without adding stress to your PC hardware. What’s more, you can expect better response times from the AOC Agon than with its closest competitors, meaning lower latency in games like Overwatch or Lawbreakers that rely on faster pacing. The only downside is that the AOC Agon is rather bulky. Weighing in at 26 pounds (11.8kg) total, you’ll want to be sure your desk can support it.

Read the full review: AOC Agon AG352UCG

Display

When the classic 16:9 aspect ratio fails you, nothing does the trick like a cinematic, 21:9 display. Although it’s not ideal for streaming TV shows or playing one of myriad games that don’t support it, the Acer Predator X34 is a model example of what an ultra-wide screen should be. Flaunting an eye-catching aluminum bezel and a polygonal stand that resembles a crow’s foot, this massive 34-inch panel is a spectacle to behold. What’s more, armed with Nvidia’s G-Sync frame-smoothing tech, you don’t have to worry about enabling VSync and stressing out your graphics card. The Acer Predator X34 does all the heavy lifting for you. Save for the ho-hum speakers and missing ports, this is about as immersive as a gaming monitor gets.

Read the full review: Acer Predator X34

best monitor

If your PC can't swing 1440p or 4K gaming, the Asus MG248Q is the next best thing. Despite exhibiting a mere 1080p twisted-nematic, or TN, panel rather than IPS, the Asus MG248Q makes up for any shortcomings with lightning fast response times and Adaptive Sync. The latter reduces screen tearing if you have an AMD graphics card, a clear demonstration that the MG248Q tailors to the budget gamer. On the other hand, even Nvidia fans can rejoice at the 144Hz refresh rate. But, without the right GPU equipped, you might be better off saving for the G-Sync equivalent Asus ROG Swift PG248Q. 

Read the full review: Asus MG248Q

Best monitor

You’ll normally shell out an arm and a leg for a 4K display, but that’s not the case with Acer’s S277HK. In terms of pricing, this bezel-less beauty hits the sweet spot. With a 1,000,000,000:1 contrast ratio, a color gamut of 1.07 billion and a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, the Acer S277HK is better seen than heard about. Unfortunately, because of the way Acer designed it, there’s no way to mount it onto a wall for everyone to appreciate, nor is the height adjustable. But, and this is a huge but, if you prioritize high pixel density, reasonable cost and “zero frame” over malleability, this is a monitor to shoot for.

Read the full review: Acer S277HK

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out an alternative in the similarly-specced BenQ EW2770QZ.

Depending on your budget, it might break the bank in classic Alienware fashion, but Dell’s 25-inch gaming monitor won’t let your screen tear. That’s because, whether you’re using an AMD or Nvidia graphics card, there’s a configuration designed with specifically you in mind. Taking away some of the heavy lifting away from the GPU that would otherwise be spent on VSync, a software technology that accomplishes a similar thwarting of screen tears, the Alienware 25’s 120Hz refresh rate might actually be viable. In that case, you can expect the screen to garner up to 120 frames-per-second, so long as your graphics card can handle it and it isn’t being bottlenecked by your CPU. The 1ms response time is merely a bonus.

Read the full review: Alienware 25 

You might not believe it at first glance, but the BenQ Zowie XL2540 is every bit the gaming monitor that the Asus Predator X34 is. And though it may not seem it from the outside looking in, it does its job remarkably well too, sacrificing dazzling lighting effects for a zippy 240Hz refresh rate and nigh-instantaneous 1ms response time. There’s no G-Sync or FreeSync, as this monitor assumes you already have a rig that’s plenty capable of eliminating screen tears on its own. Instead, this monitor keeps it simple by supplying you with lots of visual presets, an “S Switch” control pod for managing those presets and even a pair of adjustable light screens.

Read the full review: BenQ Zowie XL2540

If you’re running games using AMD- or Intel-based graphics and want to get into ultra wide displays without spending a fortune, this is the monitor to look out for. At 34 inches diagonally, the LG 34UC79G-B is equipped with AMD FreeSync for screen tear elimination and a 21:9 aspect ratio best suited for games and cinema. Despite the resolution being lower than a lot of other widescreen displays on the market, there’s no denying that the LG 34UC79G-B pulls off a crisp image nonetheless – and with stunning color accuracy at that. Plus, you can change the height, which is more than can be said for even some of the pricier 4K monitors available today.

Read the full review: LG 34UC79G-B

Display

If you care more about frame rate more than graphics or resolution, this one's for you. Because of its mind-blowing 180Hz refresh rate capabilities, the Asus ROG Swift PG248Q takes the 60fps gold standard for gaming and triples it – provided you're equipped with a rig that can handle the extra stress. While you're unlikely to enjoy Forza Horizon 3 at 180fps on Ultra settings given its high demand, a higher refresh rate is more than welcome in fast-paced, competitive games that don't necessarily depend on a wealth of resources. Plus, as one of the most affordable G-Sync displays on the market, it helps that you can rely on the monitor to prevent screen tearing, too.

Read the full review: Asus ROG Swift PG248Q

Not exactly glamorous or high-end when it comes to both specs and appearances, gamers and graphics professionals will wince at the Philips S-Line 243S7EHMB just before realizing it’s not for them. That’s because this monitor was crafted specifically with business users in mind. That’s right, this panel is designed to replace that old clunker of a screen you have set up in your office right now. And, with both VGA and HDMI connections intact, you can expect it to be compatible with virtually any PC – whether it’s brand-new or collecting dust. Plus, although it’s not enabled by default, Philips’ LowBlue mode makes this monitor pretty easy on the eyes too.

Read the full review: Philips S-Line 243S7EHMB

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus MG248Q.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

  • Get one of the best monitors on sale this Black Friday

The best PC 2017: the best computers we’ve tested

There is a never-ending list of reasons to own one of the best desktop PCs. Gamers are well-known to enjoy the tweak-ability factor of old-school tower computers, whereas everyone else will be charmed by their lightweight pricing. That goes without mentioning that, if you already own a mouse, keyboard or monitor, you won’t have to spend as much as you would on a laptop. However, like everything else in the world, desktop PCs have changed.

Nowadays, there are computers that come with mice and keyboards. Alternatively, some are built into screens; these are called all-in-one PCs. They can’t be easily upgraded in most cases, and sometimes they’re equipped with laptop components. But, what they can do, is provide you with worthwhile performance in a convenient package. Otherwise, more conventional box computers still exist alongside more experimental innovations, like the Intel Compute Stick.

Whatever your cup of tea, we’ve devised a list of the best desktop PCs that doesn’t revolve around only one sector of the personal computing space, nor does it emphasize a particular budget. You will find below that all of our picks offer a bang-up job for the money, which itself ranges from $35 (about £25, AU$45) to $3,000 (around £2,290, AU$3,900). That way, no matter who you are, what your job is and what your hobbies are, you will find a computer that suits you.

Dell Inspiron 3000

For lack of a better description, the Dell XPS Tower Special Edition is a master of disguise. Appearing as subtle as the PC your parents hid under the desk, don’t be deceived by this boring exterior. Inside, you’ll find your choice of one of the latest high-end graphics card solutions from AMD and Nvidia in addition to a powerful Kaby Lake processor paired with plenty of hard drive and/or SSD storage. While the Special Edition of this PC is only available in the US, our readers in Australia and the United Kingdom will still be able to pick up the regular Dell XPS Tower and configure a system to the top spec.

Read the full review: Dell XPS Tower Special Edition

The Microsoft Surface Studio is one of the most glamorous PCs you can buy. It shakes up the all-in-one formula of putting all the components behind the screen, and instead moves everything to the base. The resulting device has one of the thinnest 28-inch PixelSense Displays that puts even most 4K screens to shame. What’s more, the fully-articulating stand makes it a versatile tool for work and play with Surface Pen support. All in all, the Surface Studio is an exceptional work of, and for, art.

Read the full review: Surface Studio

See more like this: The best all-in-one PCs

The Zotac Magnus EN1060 is practically as small as the Apple Mac Mini, but it’s an exponentially more powerful gaming PC, potent enough to drive virtual reality experiences. Thanks to its small size and understated features, users can place this mini PC under an entertainment center and it won’t draw attention to itself. Keep in mind, though, this system doesn’t come with storage or RAM pre-installed, not to mention it lacks an operating system, so interested users will need buy these components and software separately.

Read the full review: Zotac Magnus EN1060

The Alienware Aurora R6 is an excellent gaming PC that offers brilliant performance in a conveniently compact body. The affordable price is pretty great as well, considering the power on offer and users itching for upgrades will have room to pick up a second graphics card, plus more RAM and storage.

Read the full review: Alienware Aurora R6

See more like this: The best gaming PCs

Positioned as a “console killer,” the MSI Trident 3 looks a lot like an Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, but it’s a far more powerful PC that feels just right in your living room. Complete with all the ports you could ever dream of, the MSI Trident 3’s advantages are clear. Still, in trying to be as thin and light as possible, the MSI Trident 3 comes equipped with a 330W external power supply brick, resembling some of the least attractive console designs.

Read the full review: MSI Trident 3

Apple iMac

You wouldn’t see it coming based on the logo alone, but Apple’s latest iMac is neatly priced when compared to other all-in-one computers out there. In fact, the Surface Studio costs three times as much as the iMac to start. Despite lacking the fancy trimmings of its Microsoft-contrived competitor, e.g., a touchscreen and adjustable stand, the option for a 4K P3 wide color display and 7th-generation processor make the 21.5-inch iMac not only gorgeous, but up to date as well.

Read the full review: Apple iMac (2017)

See more like this: The best Macs

HP Pavilion Mini

Though at first you might confuse it for a fabric-woven Mac Pro refresh, the HP Pavilion Wave is anything but. This compact Windows machine packs in 6th-generation Intel Core processors and optional discrete AMD graphics with a uniquely integrated Bang & Olufsen speaker. Wrapped in a handsome fabric exterior, this is the perfect PC to have on the desk, as it radiates crisp sound while you browse the web or watch movies.

Read the first look: HP Pavilion Wave

HP 260 G1

No, this isn’t a USB thumb drive you’re looking at. The Intel Core Compute Stick might look like something you would store a PowerPoint presentation on shortly before losing it, but it’s actually a palm-sized personal computer that plugs into any screen with an HDMI port. Configurations start at a lowly 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor running Linux, and at the highest end is a notebook-class Intel Core m5 processor.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

  • While you’re at it, we’ve also found the best gaming desktop PC you can buy

Top Kindle cases and covers: protect your Paperwhite, Voyage and other Amazon ereaders

If you've landed here, it's likely you already have an Amazon ereader and you're looking for a way to protect your device in your bag or even while you're deep in the latest Jack Reacher novel.

That's why we're here to recommend some of the best cases and covers for each version of the Amazon Kindle that's currently on sale.

Below you'll find two cases we love for each current Kindle product, including the latest versions of the Amazon Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage and the Kindle Oasis.

Note: we've scoured the web for all of the Kindle cases and covers out there on sale right now and here are a selection of the ones we like the look of. These have been ranked from cheapest to most expensive according to prices at time of writing. 

Best cases and covers for Amazon Kindleg

Note: the cases listed will only fit the most recent version of the Amazon Kindle, which was released in 2016 and is often referred to as one of the eighth generation Kindles.

This case comes with drop protection, so if your Kindle takes a tumble out of your hand toward the floor it should help protect the corners, edges and – thanks to its raised sides – even the screen.

You've only got a choice of pink or blue for this Kindle cover and there's no protection against scratches on your screen while it's tumbling around in your bag, but it'll protect the edges nicely.

Amazon has produced a protective cover for the Kindle that doesn't cost the earth and will make sure you don't scratch up and dent the edges and rear of your Kindle when you're reading on the move.

You can buy it in black, blue, pink or white and it gives the generally quite dull looking Kindle a big splash of color that some will love.

With a durable fabric material on the inside and an automatic wake function when you flip the case lid up, this may well be the best cover for your Kindle.

Best cases and covers for Kindle Paperwhite

Note: the cases below fit all generations of Kindle Paperwhite products, so they'll be suitable for any version of the Kindle Paperwhite ereader you own.

Again this case is from Amazon and the company has promised it's suitable for all versions of the Kindle Paperwhite, no matter when you bought your device.

The color options here are limited to blue, black, pink and white, but there are some bold choices if you're looking for a striking cover for your Kindle, and the case also comes with a cover for the screen, so you can be safe in the knowledge that it's not going to get scratched while in your bag.

If leather is the look you'd like to spread all over your ereader, this case from Amazon is likely the best choice to wrap your Kindle Paperwhite up in, and it comes in a selection of color options too.

Those colors are orange, pink, black, blue and a deep purple that we really love, plus this case isn't that expensive considering it's made of leather, giving it a premium look and feel.

Best cases and covers for Kindle Voyage

Note: the cases below fit the only generation of the Kindle Voyage, which was released back in 2014.

Another case directly from Amazon here and this one for the Voyage can be folded so you can prop up your Kindle and read without having to hold onto your ereader.

It's not the cheapest Kindle Voyage cover we've seen, but the design is durable and it'll protect the screen when you've left your ereader in your bag, so it should help you avoid having to read ebooks through scratches.

This case is largely similar to the one above, but this one comes in leather. Be warned that it isn't cheap as it's a limited edition from Amazon, but it may be what you're looking for to protect your ereader from daily wear and tear, while adding a touch of style.

It's a shame this cover only comes in brown, but it's a nice color and really shows off the high quality leather too.

Best cases and covers for Kindle Oasis

Note: the listed cases will only fit the most recent version of the Amazon Kindle Oasis that was released in 2017. They won't be suitable for the eighth generation Oasis that came out in 2016.

With the Kindle Oasis being waterproof, you'll also want a case that can take the odd splash of water too. That's why Amazon has made this water-safe Kindle Oasis cover that will snap magnetically onto the back of your super-premium ereader.

You've got limited color choices of just blue, white or black, but each looks attractive and protects the front of your Kindle Oasis too. This cover also works as a stand, as the name suggests, so you can use your Kindle Oasis hands-free.

The only downside is that while covering the front it doesn't cover (and therefore doesn't protect) the thick part of the Kindle's rear.

Our final case for the Kindle Oasis also comes from Amazon itself, and it's a fairly premium though less water-safe alternative to the cover above.

You have color choices of black or tan leather, despite the image above also showing a dark brown (as that's not currently on sale).

When you've got the Kindle open the case lets you prop it up so you can read easily, and the slim design means it won't feel much thicker than the Kindle itself.

  • Uncertain what Kindle you should buy? Check out our best ereader buying guide