So currently I am working on a graphics performance review for Battlefield Hardline, and guess what ? Do you guys remember the DRM introduced in Ubisofts Anno 2070 ? Well, EA just did pretty much the same thing. I am so irritated right now.
So I started working on a performance review. And after a graphics card or eight I think it was, EA will now lock your account with the following message:
Here's what EAs DRM is doing, they don't just verify the number of PCs you work on slash use, nope .. they dare to monitor hardware changes now, which I am sure is a privacy breach on many levels. So once we insert new hardware (CPU / mobo or graphics cards) the hardware id # hash changes and if that happens a couple of times they are rendering your activation invalid.
What a bunch of rubbish ....
If this is the future for EA titles then you guys can forget about VGA performance reviews as EA is rendering that pretty much impossible now. I've now been waiting for like 3 or 4 hours and we are still locked out of the game. The only way to solve this would be purchasing another key and setup a secondary account. This means that if we'd like to make a VGA performance review on Battelfield Hardline with a card or 20 we'd need to purchase the game three times.
EA - guys we understand your piracy and cheating/hacking concerns, but STOP pissing off your user-base with this STUPID DRM non-sense. Christ almighty, at what point will the industry realize they are killing the PC game market themselves ?
Russian cyber-security company Kaspersky Labs exposed a breakthrough U.S. spying program, which taps into one of the most widely proliferated PC components - hard drives. With the last 5 years seeing the number of hard drive manufacturing nations reduce from three (Korean Samsung, Japanese Hitachi and Toshiba, and American Seagate and WD) to one (American Seagate or WD), swallowing-up or partnering with Japanese and Korean businesses as US-based subsidiaries or spin-offs such as HGST, a shadow of suspicion has been cast on Seagate and WD.
According to Kaspersky, American cyber-surveillance agency, the NSA, is taking advantage of the centralization of hard-drive manufacturing to the US, by making WD and Seagate embed its spying back-doors straight into the hard-drive firmware, which lets the agency directly access raw data, agnostic of partition method (low-level format), file-system (high-level format), operating system, or even user access-level. Kaspersky says it found PCs in 30 countries with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria.
Kaspersky claims that the HDD firmware backdoors are already being used to spy on foreign governments, military organizations, telecom companies, banks, nuclear researchers, the media, and Islamic activities. Kaspersky declined to name the company which designed the malware, but said that it has close ties to the development of Stuxnet, the cyber-weapon used by NSA to destabilize Iran's uranium-enrichment facilities.
Kaspersky claims that the new backdoor is perfect in design. Each time you turn your PC on, the system BIOS loads the firmware of all hardware components onto the system memory, even before the OS is booted. This is when the malware activates, gaining access to critical OS components, probably including network access and file-system. This makes HDD firmware the second most valuable real-estate for hackers, after system BIOS.
Both WD and Seagate denied sharing the source-code of their HDD firmware with any government agency, and maintained that their HDD firmware is designed to prevent tampering or reverse-engineering. Former NSA operatives stated that it's fairly easy for the agency to obtain source-code of critical software. This includes asking directly and posing as a software developer. The government can seek source-code of hard drive firmware by simply telling a manufacturer that it needs to inspect the code to make sure it's clean, before it can buy PCs running their hard-drives.
What is, however, surprising is how "tampered" HDD firmware made it to mass-production. Seagate and WD have manufacturing facilities in countries like Thailand and China, located in high-security zones to prevent intellectual property theft or sabotage. We can't imagine tampered firmware making it to production drives without the companies' collaboration.
In what is a major fallout of the GeForce GTX 970 memory allocation controversy, leading retailers in the EU are reporting returns of perfectly functional GTX 970 cards citing "false advertising." Heise.de reports that NVIDIA is facing a fierce blowback from retailers and customers over incorrect specs. Heise comments that the specifications "cheating could mean the greatest damage to the reputation of the company's history."
Major German PC hardware retailer Caseking.de says that retailers don't have any explanation from NVIDIA to give to their customers. A similar sentiment is being expressed by the NVIDIA add-in card partners (AICs) we spoke to. Retailers and AIC partners are on their own, for now. One AIC partner rep told us that NVIDIA has no worldwide action plan, as of now, to deal with a potential flood of returns.
In absence of every other recourse, laws in most EU member states dictate that the retailers accept returns for a full refund, if they are not able to "repair" the defect, or exchange with another unit that works as advertised (which a retailer obviously can't, in this case). Retailers' options in the matter boil down to: 1. Taking back cards from whoever isn't happy with their GTX 970 and giving them a refund; 2. compensating with something of value (eg: game-coupons, in-game currency, etc.,) and 3. Springing up a surprise, such as exchanging GTX 970 cards purchased before a set date, with a GTX 980 (if that's your idea of a "repair."). This will come at the expense of a cascading lawsuit-chain (customers suing retailers, who in-turn sue AICs, and who in-turn sue NVIDIA).
NVIDIA, on the other hand, plans to issue a driver update that will "improve" the way the chip allocates resources, but there's no word on whether it re-enables disabled components that NVIDIA wasn't honest about, the first time around. They're counting on the issue to simply blow over, because at $329, there really isn't much you can complain about the GTX 970, given how it's positioned in comparison to the GTX 980.
In the thick of the GeForce GTX 970 memory controversy, last Thursday (29/01), TechPowerUp asked its readers on its front-page poll, if the developments of the week affected the way they looked at the card. The results are in, and our readers gave a big thumbs-up to the card, despite the controversy surrounding its specs.
In one week since the poll went up, and at the time of writing, 7,312 readers cast their votes. A majority of 61.4 percent (4,486 votes) says that the specs of the GTX 970 don't matter, as long as they're getting the kind of performance on tap, for its $329.99 price. A sizable minority of 21.2 percent (1,553 votes) are unhappy with NVIDIA, and said they won't buy the GTX 970, because NVIDIA lied about its specs. 9.3 percent had no plans to buy the GTX 970 to begin with. Interestingly, only 5.1 percent of the respondents are fence-sitters, and waiting for things to clear up. What's even more interesting is that the lowest number of respondents, at 3 percent (219 votes), said that they're returning their GTX 970 cards on grounds of false-marketing. The poll data can be accessed here.