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Modern Warfare? Online gaming accounts hijacked – BBC1 Rip Off Britain LIVE

BBC Rip Off Britain LIVE returns for a second year to The One Show studios in Central London, and once again I will be on-hand to answer more viewers’ consumer technology questions. Last year I spoke about contactless payments and passwords – this year it’s online gaming.

In the first show of the week-long series I’m due to talk about how online gamers are increasingly being targeted by ‘bounty hunters’ eager to hijack their account to gain access to their games, achievements or even their credit card details (bear in mind that the show is live so anything could happen instead…!).

In a plot that quickly begins to sound like a video game in its own right, the fraudsters use a variety of tactics to trick high-value gamers into revealing their login details so that their gaming accounts and virtual identities can be stolen and sold on for real cash.

Earlier in the series Rip Off Britain spoke with two disgruntled gamers whose Sony Playstation accounts had apparently been hijacked, but other gaming platforms can be hot targets too. With over 4,500 games and 125 million gamers, PC gaming platform Steam is one of the largest gaming networks around and, inevitably, it is also a target for scammers.

Despite a well-publicised security flaw identified in July 2015 Steam generally has a sound reputation for security of its users’ data. However, this hasn’t stopped gamers from having their accounts compromised — in fact, the majority of fraud appears to be as a result of phishing and social engineering rather than any hacks of either Steam’s or its users’s systems.

Foiled Steam scam

Foiled Steam scam

Posts like this on gamebanana go into some detail on the social engineering methods that scammers have successfully used to hijack accounts. It describes how scammers have used in-game instant messaging to pose as Steam administrators warning (ironically) that their account has been hacked and needs to be regenerated.

The post may be several years old, but sadly the same tactics are still in use. More recent scams may attempt to install malware onto your PC or into your browser, but they all involve convincing you to click a link or reveal your account information. Here’s another incredibly useful post that shows some scams in action, along with how to spot a Steam scam.

Steam Community: Avoiding Common Scams:
http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=177244559

Vigilance, it seems, is the best defence, along with basic awareness of the tactics employed by the scammers.

But if you find yourself a victim of Steam account jacking then help is at hand – in fact, Steam has a special form to help recover stolen and hijacked accounts:

Recovering a Stolen or Hijacked Steam Account:
https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=2347-qdfn-4366

However, Valve bosses do acknowledge that Steam’s current customer service is far from good enough, with support tickets seemingly going unanswered or ignored, but it is working hard to remedy it.

Valve Explains Why Steam Customer Service Is Still Terrible:
http://steamed.kotaku.com/valve-explains-why-steam-customer-service-is-still-terr-1736988223

Questions will inevitably be asked whether Valve, the parent company behind Steam, is active enough in trying to prevent this kind of fraud. In response Steam is currently introducing a two-factor authentication mechanism, Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator, which in theory should reduce some fraud.

Rip Off Britain LIVE airs on BBC1 from 9.15 until 10am from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd October 2015.

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Mobile Journalism and the UK General Election

Mobile newsgathering has come of age. 

Broadcasters and journalists know it, entertainment and social networks know it, unwitting citizen news-breakers and proud parents catching their 5-yo master their bicycle know it too.

Recently I wrote a feature for TechRadar on how mobile journalism will impact media coverage of the UK general election.

In the feature I speak to key mobile newsgathering practitioners from BBC, Sky News and Trinity Mirror to learn the role of mobile in the newsroom. Contributors (to whom I’m incredibly grateful) include Nick Garnett, Marc Settle, Harriet Hadfield and Alison Gow.

This came off the back of participating in MoJoCon 2015 in Dublin, the first international conference of its kind for mobile journalism and smartphone filmmaking.

Mojocon proved to the industry that mobile newsgathering – in all its forms – is now a primetime tool. It’s no longer a case of ‘why would you use a smartphone for video/audio/broadcast?’, it’s simply ‘why the the hell wouldn’t you?’.

Hosted by the Irish public service broadcaster RTÉ and attended by journalists and filmmakers from across the world, MoJoCon was a celebration of smartphone creativity and newsgathering ingenuity. It was the brainchild of mobile journalism pioneer and activist Glen Mulcahy.

I was particularly involved in the professional smartphone filmmaking stream, including hosting a session in the main hall featuring luminaries such as Neill Barham, boss man and Cinegenix, developer of go-to iOS videography app FiLMiC Pro (in my questioning I successfully ‘outed’ an upcoming and long-awaited Android version of the app); Taz Goldstein, author of Hand Held Hollywood (a book I downloaded when I first began filming on my phone); Newsshooter.com editor Dan Chung, and mobile film directors Conrad Mess, Michael Koerbel and Ricky Fosheim. You can watch the full session here.

Head over to TechRadar to read my feature on mobile journalism and the UK General Election 2015 and keep an eye out on the Mojocon Twitter feed for more details on the next Mojo Conference.

Gadget Show Live 2015

I’ve just arrived at the NEC in Birmingham to begin rehearsals for Gadget Show Live 2015.

I’ve worked with the Gadget Show Live team since 2012 and I’m thrilled to be back! This year I’m literally all over the show, presenting a feature on Top Smartphones and Tablets of 2015 with John Mason, as well as fronting my own Wear Next for Wearable Tech (see what I did there?) show.

Here’s a sneak peek of the impressive Gadget Show Live Connect Theatre where I’ll be doing a couple of my live shows:

Gadget Show Live Connected Theatre

On top of that I’m hosting the Gadget Show Live British Inventors’ Project 2015 awards where I’m very much looking forward to interviewing last year’s runner-up Ed Ward from Veglo.

The Innovation Theatre, where the British Inventors’ Project shows take place every day, was a real highlight of last year’s Gadget Show Live so I’m excited to be back getting under the skin of inventors and seeing what makes them and their inventions tick.

The Gadget Show Live runs from Tuesday 7th April 2015 for press and trade, and then from Wednesday 8th April to Sunday 12th April 2015 for public. More info and ticket from the Gadget Show Live website.

Championing Inventors at Gadget Show Live 2014

Innovation Theatre at the Gadget Show Live 2014

At the Gadget Show Live 2014 I will be hosting the British Invention of the Year event at the Innovation Theatre, an all-new feature for this year showcasing innovation, invention and the entrepreneur.

On Tuesday 8th April – press day at the Gadget Show Live – I’m hosting the awards event where the GSL British Invention of the Year will be announced.

From Wednesday 9th to Sunday 13th of April I’ll then be presenting two different live shows throughout the Gadget Show Live public days:

Artificial Pancreas

Artificial Pancreas (image: Renfrew Group, De Montfort University)

The British Inventors’ Project celebrates the UK innovation and startup scene. Having an idea is one thing – a very special thing – but having the meat to go to market with it and convince others to buy in to it is quite something else. Welcome to the world of the inventor. Featuring interviews with inventors and demonstrations of products ranging from wholly indispensable to the slightly strange, this show is a celebration of the very best of British invention.

The Future Tech Project is your chance to see the future before it hits the shelves! Live on the Innovation Theatre stage we’ll be getting a glimpse at the technology that will make a difference to the way we live our lives, showcasing everything from affordable 3D food printers to solar-powered racing cars.

The Innovation Theatre, in partnership with Wired, runs from 9th to 13th April 2014 in Hall 6 of the Gadget Show Live at the NEC Birmingham. Click here to find out more and book tickets for the Gadget Show Live.

Gadget Show Live 2014

Creative Week UK, Powered by Adobe

Curtain up on Creative Week UK

The UK’s first ever Creative Week is now underway!

UK Creative Week, powered by Adobe

Powered by Adobe and sponsored by a plethora of creative partners and publications, Creative Week UK is a celebration of the UK creative industry and creative people as well as the creative technologies that help enable them.

The centrepiece of the week’s activities is the live daily broadcast – which is where I come in.

Every day from midday I’ll be hosting a live show featuring over three hours of discussions, debates, techniques, tips and tricks from the Creative Week studios in Central London in front of a studio audience, all of which is being broadcast live online from the Adobe website.

During the week I’ll be joined by a host of industry luminaries and experts all sharing their opinions and expertise. We also take the cameras out and about to see professionals at work in their own studios, visiting the likes of Wayne Hemingway, Made Visual and Pete Fowler.

Each day focuses on a different area of the industry: Design and Publishing (Tuesday 10th), Film and Video (Wednesday 11th), Mobile and Web (Thursday 12th) and Photography and Imaging (Friday 13th). Here’s the full agenda for the week.

And as if that weren’t enough we’ve daily challenges and phone-ins giving everybody a chance to win Adobe Creative Suite software.

I genuinely cannot wait and I’m really excited by some of the guests and debates we have lined-up.

It’s free to tune-in (take a look here for details) and there’s a very active Twitter hashtag worth following too #CreativeWeekUK.

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