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Night & day

Night & day Cyberpunk 2077 is a great game — depending on what you’re playing on Almost eight years and three different release dates later, the much-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 is finally out. There’s no doubt that gamers all over the globe have spent hours upon hours in Night City, and perhaps there are those who are still going. However, your experience in this dystopian RPG will be very different depending on what you’re playing on — and when I say “very different”, I mean the difference is a deal-breaker. THE PLOT You take on the role of V, a merc for hire in a megacity known as Night City. V’s background will depend entirely on you as you get to choose from three “lifepaths”: Nomad, Streetkid or Corpo. But whichever you choose, V will end up taking on a job with fellow merc Jackie that results in having the consciousness of rocker/terrorist Johnny Silverhand, played by the breathtaking Keanu Reeves, in their head. It’s not necessarily a great thing sharing mental space with a long-dead rockstar, but Johnny has some unfinished business, and V has no choice but to go along. THE GAMEPLAY & GRAPHICS

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2020 winners & losers in geek

The year of ‘Rona meant a lot of changes in the way we do things hence the term “new normal”, and Geekdom wasn’t left unscathed. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was all bad. There are things we enjoyed watching this year with all the time we had on our hands and fan events that we “attended” right in the comfort of our own home that we wouldn’t be able to normally attend. At the same time, there were some things that sadly suffered because of the pandemic and a certain something that fell flat despite all the hype. Here’s the winners and losers of 2020 in geek. LOSER Cyberpunk 2077 Slick marketing and well-curated gameplay footage made us all hype for Cyberpunk 2077 with more than eight million pre-orders. We waited anxiously and patiently as the release dates got moved back, and now that it’s out, we realise that it would have been better if it was delayed again. There’s a full review of the game in this issue so I won’t spend too much time on it, but with CD Projekt Red’s shadiness in keeping gameplay of console versions away from the public, the inevitable backlash and

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Our pick of tech and electronic devices for 2020

Our pick of tech and electronic devices for 2020 This year’s 10 cool gadgets and IT-related items currently available in Thailand PlayStation 5 This year has been a weird year in the sense that the arrival of many gadgets and IT-related items were delayed, halted and in many cases cancelled due to Covid-19. But many cool items still managed to make it through and are significant enough that they will change the IT landscape in the many years to come. From mobile phones and laptops to gaming consoles and more, here are some of the new gadgets and items of 2020 that are definitely noteworthy enough to add to your shopping list, Christmas or not. 1. PlayStation 5 Cool factors: Virtually no loading time; 4K graphics; backward compatible with most PS4 games. The downsides: Sony Thai will start selling these in late December, but some are unofficially sold in places like Mega Plaza already; still a low number of first party PS5 games for now.   iPhone 12 2. iPhone 12 Cool factors: Fastest chipset on any mobile phone; tried-and-true video shooting capability; different chassis design from the last

Tech
Social media censorship the stamp of 2020

Well, it’s that time of year again when I see how well my predictions for the year performed. With the advent of Covid-19, I’m not confident that many of them came to pass. – The one I was definitely right about involved social media giants. Over the course of the year, social media platforms filtered out more people whose political beliefs they disagreed with and at the time of writing, 48 states in the US have filed a case against Facebook in order to break its monopoly. Other social media platforms are also under fire from political parties that dominate the US. Basically, social media giants have revealed themselves to be publishers rather than platforms and this has led to demands that their prior protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act be stripped or at least the wording be modified. How this plays out next year remains to be seen. – Also, as expected — it was an easy prediction to make — malware and ransomware continued to grow amid the promise of cures for Covid-19. Since many organisations and corporations moved their staff offsite, it is unclear how well they prepared

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NSO Group spyware 'dangerous', say tech firms in legal filing

Spyware made by NSO Group is “powerful and dangerous” and the Israeli company should be held liable to US anti-hacking laws, Google, Microsoft, Cisco and other leading technology companies have said in a rare joint legal filing.An amicus brief filed by the companies in support of WhatsApp, which has sued NSO Group in the US, appears to mark a major turning point in the popular messaging app’s legal fight against the Israeli spyware firm, and has sent a strong signal that the world’s biggest technology companies are rallying against the proliferation of hacking tools made by private companies.At the heart of the case lies WhatsApp’s claim that 1,400 of its users, including diplomats, journalists, politicians and human rights advocates, were targeted by NSO Group’s spyware over a two-week period in 2019. The company, which is owned by Facebook, sued NSO Group after the alleged targeting came to light, blaming NSO Group for the attempted intrusions.NSO Group has denied any responsibility for the alleged targeting, and has said its government clients control how its software is used.After losing an important ruling in a lower court about the merits of its arguments in its defence in the case earlier this year, NSO

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Microsoft seeks Biden's support in case against Israeli spyware firm

Microsoft has called on the incoming Biden administration to weigh in on a high-profile legal case involving WhatsApp and NSO Group, the Israeli spyware firm that the US software company said was helping to proliferate cyber-weapons.Comparing NSO Group to 21st-century mercenaries, Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, claimed that the rise of private companies that engineer cybersecurity attacks meant that an increasing number of nation-states could now deploy cyber-attacks – including against journalists and human rights activists.“[This industry] generates cyber-attack proliferation to other governments that have the money but not the people to create their own weapons. In short, it adds another significant element to the cybersecurity threat landscape,” Smith said.The comments represented the first time that any major US company – apart from WhatsApp – has spoken out against the use of private hacking companies by nation-states, an issue that for years has been seen primarily as a cause for concern of journalists, human rights activists, and other campaigners.Smith specifically cited litigation in the US between NSO Group and WhatsApp, the popular messaging app that has alleged in a US court that NSO Group’s spyware, called Pegasus, was used to target 1,400 of its users over a two-week period in 2019.About

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Massive cyberattack grows beyond US, heightening fears

Investigators and researchers are still learning of the scope of the cyberattack which has hit US government agencies and other victims around the world. WASHINGTON: A devastating cyberattack on US government agencies has also hit targets worldwide with the list of victims still growing, according to researchers, heightening fears over computer security and espionage. Microsoft said late Thursday that it had notified more than 40 customers hit by the malware which security experts say came from hackers linked to the Russian government and which could allow attackers unfettered network access. “While roughly 80% of these customers are located in the United States, this work so far has also identified victims in seven additional countries,” Microsoft president Brad Smith said in a blog post. Smith said the victims were also found in Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Spain, Britain, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. “It’s certain that the number and

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Suspected Russian cyber-attack growing in scale, Microsoft warns

Microsoft has said the UK and six other countries outside the US have been affected by a suspected Russian hacking attack that US authorities have warned poses a grave risk to government and private networks.Brad Smith, Microsoft’s chief legal counsel, said the company had uncovered 40 customers, including government agencies, thinktanks, NGOs and IT companies, who were “targeted more precisely and compromised” after the hackers had gained initial access earlier this year.Eighty per cent were in the US, including, it is feared, agencies responsible for the US nuclear weapons stockpile. But the remainder were spread out across other countries.“This includes Canada and Mexico in North America; Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom in Europe; and Israel and the UAE in the Middle East,” Smith said. “It’s certain that the number and location of victims will keep growing.”Russian hacker groups are often linked to the country’s intelligence agencies, and US officials have privately blamed the attack on Cozy Bear, a group accused of trying to steal coronavirus vaccine secrets earlier this year.The attack occurred when an updated popular IT network management tool called Orion, made by SolarWinds, was compromised from March this year. Around 18,000 customers installed the compromised update, many

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Microsoft Surface Laptop Go review: missing the sweet spot

The Surface Laptop Go is Microsoft’s attempt to bring the best features of its premium machines to the mid-range PC market – but with a few corners cut.Starting at £549, it comes in below the £999 Surface Laptop 3 and £799 Surface Pro 7, but above the £399 Surface Go 2 tablet.It has a tempting starting price, but the cheapest model ships with just 64GB of – much slower – eMMC storage. So in effect, to get a model with adequate storage, you will have to shell out £699 for a machine with 128GB of traditional SSD storage.From the outside the Laptop Go is a pretty convincing facsimile of the excellent Laptop 3. It is slightly smaller with the same smooth metal lid, but the rest of the body is plastic, not aluminium. It feels solidly built and the keyboard deck is metallic.The keyboard is slightly smaller and the keys are not backlit, but it has an equally good typing experience. The trackpad is large and precise, making it one of the best you can get on a Windows machine.The LCD screen is slightly smaller at 12.4in (versus 13.5in) and while good looking, it is noticeably less crisp than the

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Skips & sounds

Skips & sounds The Sennheiser CX400 BT True Wireless gives exceptional sound quality but with a drawback Sennheiser is known for delivering high-quality audio products, so upon the release of its latest bluetooth earphones, the Sennheiser CX400 BT True Wireless, I had pretty high expectations. While it does deliver superbly on some fronts, I experienced a major drawback that disappointed me. THE PROS Audio quality has always been the name of the game for Sennheiser and on that end, the CX400 BT delivers flawlessly. The Sennheiser Smart Control app lets you tweak the sound even more so you can tailor it to your liking and will give you superb sound whichever way you prefer. Basses will have a stronger boom and vocals will sound more crisp depending on which way you tweak your sound. The app doesn’t just let you customise your EQ but it also allows you to customise the touch controls for the earbuds. If for some reason you don’t like tapping the left earbud once to skip a song, you can go ahead and change it in the app. Despite not having active noise cancellation, I was surprised at