Despite anti-fraud measures such as ultraviolet ink marking and holographic overlays, a growing underground economy of sites has emerged for criminals looking to obtain and use fraudulent US ID cards according to new research from Flashpoint.
Although only few of these sites can deliver quality fraudulent reproductions, there are some sites with high ratings and positive reviews that can deliver cards which will bypass the security measures protecting legitimate government-issued cards.
Fake ID cards pose a threat to facilities that scan IDs for entry as well as businesses such as banks and other financial institutions that rely on Know Your Customer requirements to verify the identity of customers.
Legitimate identification cards in the US contain complex fraud-protection measures such as the stars on REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses or properly formatted scannable barcodes. These IDs are also made of specific materials that are durable and transmit light in order to support these security measures.
Flashpoint's research found that vendors running some of the highest-rated illicit shops will advertise their ability to replicate the security features found on identification cards including correctly formatted barcodes, certain micro-printing or laser perforations. For example, a proper barcode is often enough to allow entrance into access-controlled facilities such as government buildings, schools or corporate offices.
The availability of high-end printers is one factor that has helped facilitate these fraudulent reproductions by cybercriminals. An ordinary office photo printer has the capability to reproduce quality products, while laminating machines and plastic card printers are also easy to obtain and use. Ultraviolet ink and other supplies are also available on the open market for anyone to purchase.
Transactions conducted at these fake ID marketplaces are generally carried out via cryptocurrency to protect the privacy of both buyers and sellers and the deliver of a high-quality fake ID can take anywhere from five days to three weeks.
Although even the best fake IDs will likely be detected once they're checked against law enforcement or a DMV database, many of these IDs will be able to pass the inspection of untrained security personnel and a number of off-the-shelf barcode readers.
To prevent falling victim to someone using a fake ID, Flashpoint recommends mandating background checks through a law enforcement agency for new employees and employee training to help spot phony IDs.
At a time when IT security budgets are already falling, a new study from Probrand has revealed the scale of margins some buyers are paying out to IT resellers which shows how businesses in some industries are unnecessarily wasting what little resources they do have.
To compile its new IT Product Margins Report 2019, the firm conducted analysis on over £12m worth of tech spending across 20 sectors over a two-year period. Probrand's report highlights how some organizations have been paying staggering mark-ups to suppliers, indicating that IT buyers aren't getting the IT deals they thought they were.
The most extreme examples in the firm's report show how organizations were found to have paid more than ten times the trade price for products. According to Probrand, one buyer in the banking sector bought Ethernet cables at a unit price of £42.32 when the trade price was 34p, representing an astonishing 12,347 percent margin.
The Society of IT Managers' industry best practice states that organizations should not be paying more than a three percent margin to suppliers. However, the study revealed that the average margin paid across all sectors and purchases was a little over 14 percent which is almost five times the recommended mark-up.
Probrand's report also revealed which products drove the highest margins including a stylus pen which was bought for £73.24 despite the trade price being £5.62 (equivalent to a 1203.2% margin) and a wax printer ribbon with a trade price of £6.42 which was bought for £83.01.
MCIPS supply chain director at Probrand, Ian Nethercot provided further insight on the report's findings, saying:
“12,000% profit has never been deemed fair and equitable for any product purchase, and IT buyers are fundamentally not getting the deals they expect or deserve. The volatility and complexity of the market, with a dose of human intervention in between, is seeing IT budgets unknowingly wasted. Buyers are also consuming vast swathes of time doing their level best to manually get quotes, compare and negotiate discounts. We believe it is time for a change, buyers demand fair deals from an open and transparent market and that is exactly what the industry needs to deliver. Ultimately, it will help IT procurers save time and unlock more IT for their money.”
The report's analysis also showed that the legal sector was the industry paying the highest margin on average with a whopping 23.61 percent average. Emergency services was found to be paying the lowest margin at an average of 9.3% but this is still three times the 'best practice' price.
Businesses should think twice before purchasing IT products from a reseller with high prices and they should always check the trade price before completing a purchase.
Congressional antitrust investigators have raised concerns over Google's plans to use a new internet protocol which they believe could give the search giant an unfair competitive advantage over its rivals.
Earlier this month, investigators from the House Judiciary Committee sent the company a letter requesting for information about its “decision regarding whether to adopt or promote the adoption” of the protocol according to the Wall Street Journal.
The new internet protocol, known as DNS-over-HTTPS, will help improve both internet privacy and security by encrypting traffic which will make it more difficult for hackers to spoof websites. However, congressional investigators are concerned that Google will use data collected through the new protocol for its own commercial gain.
Google plans to have users of its Chrome browser begin testing DNS-over-HTTPS next month.
Protecting users' privacy online has become increasingly important but lawmakers as well as ISPs are worried the new standard could alter internet competition.
Once DNS-over-HTTPS becomes widely adopted, cable and wireless companies will be cut off from the valuable DNS data of their users while Google will gain an unfair advantage in user data. A company spokesperson tried to assuage concerns surrounding its new protocol, saying:
"Google has no plans to centralize or change people's DNS providers to Google by default. Any claim that we are trying to become the centralized encrypted DNS provider is inaccurate."
Leaders of the House Judiciary Committee are currently conducting an antitrust investigation into Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook to determine whether US tech giants are engaging in anti-competitive conduct.
The development of DNS-over-HTTPS is just another way that Google is working to make the internet a safer place for everyone but lawmakers clearly disagree and we'll find out more once their antitrust investigation into the company is complete.
Also check out our complete list of the best VPN providers
In an unusual software update cadence, iOS 13.1.2 is now available with more bug fixes for the fresh mobile operating system – which applies to both iOS 13 and iPadOS 13.
This might feel a bit like deja vu since iOS 13.1.1 was only released to the public a few days ago on Friday. Today’s update doesn’t contain any particularly notable front-facing features, according to 9to5Mac. It’s mostly fixes to minor annoyances. What’s interesting is the frequency at which these updates are coming to the general public to fix Apple’s iOS software.
Among the iOS 13.1.2 release notes, bug fixes for iCloud, Bluetooth, HomePod, and the display are mentioned.
Fixes a bug where the progress bar for iCloud Backup could continue to show after a successful backup
Fixes an issue where Camera may not work
Addresses an issue where the flashlight may not activate
Fixes a bug that could result in a loss of display calibration data
Fixes an issue where shortcuts could not be run from HomePod
Addresses an issue where Bluetooth may disconnect on certain vehicles
Despite the rapid updates to iPhone’s and iPad’s software, there are still things that remain broken for developers. Marco Arment, developer of the podcast app Overcast calls out the UISearchController-UINavigationBar corruption bug which he says, “totally screwed my app.”
The iOS 13 beta launched June 3 at Apple’s WWDC 2019 keynote, however, even after more than three months of testing and the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro launch, it’s clear that even more time is needed to patch the software update.
It's no secret that Intel has been playing catch-up with AMD over the last few months as Team Red pulled ahead with Ryzen 3rd Generation – Team Blue has itself admitted this. But, some leaked benchmarks of Intel's next high-end desktop (HEDT) platform suggest it will fall behind AMD's mainstream platform.
This is all according to a leaked GeekBench 4 entry spotted by the folks over at Wccftech. In these results, the Intel Core i9-10920X scores a multi-core result of 44,046, compared to the 44,160 scored by the Ryzen 9 3900X in our review. If this leaked benchmark reflects reality, it won't look too good for Intel when Cascade Lake-X launches later this year.
Now, it's important to note that HEDT and mainstream processors aren't directly comparable, as they target different segments of the market. However, because HEDT chips are targeting high processor (CPU) performance for creatives and professionals, they're expected to crush mainstream silicon into the dirt – and the prices reflect that.
For instance, the last-generation Intel Core i9-9920X retails for $1,189 (£1,049, AU$1,799). So, if its successor is around the same price, which we don't know for sure, it should be able to beat AMD's mainstream flagship that's about half the price at $499 (£531, AU$809). It's true that the Ryzen 9 3900X is facing increased prices right now, but they've not increased that much.
Either way, these leaks may not represent reality, and we won't know the details of what Intel's Cascade Lake-X can do until Team Blue reveals its next desktop processors. Until then, all we can do is look at these leaks and try to guess what will happen next. At the very least, the PC components space is alive with competition once more.
The global VPN market is red hot; weeks after after Cloudflare and Mozilla unveiled their privacy solutions, ExpressVPN has scored a major win thanks to a partnership with computing giant HP. Its VPN service will be bundled with HP’s new Flagship, the Spectre x360 13 with buyers being able to use the VPN - which tops our best VPN list - for 30-days before opting for a full subscription.
We’ve been told that this is not a traditional “load-and-forget” OEM software deal which is usually construed as being bloatware. Instead, it is a deep product integration that took many months of work for teams from HP and ExpressVPN to complete, including a rigorous security review process.
HP went as far as pinning ExpressVPN to the taskbar, a clear indication of the amount of trust the PC giant puts into the VPN brand. Whether HP wants to add this VPN service to other product lines remains to be seen.
Other than a bundled VPN, the Spectre x360 13 also includes a 30-day trial to a password management, a dedicated mute mic key, a webcam kill switch and optionally, the latest version of HP Sure View, a privacy screen due to launch in January 2020.
Although Windows ships with its own full volume encryption tool called BitLocker, SSDs that claimed to offer their own hardware-based encryption were trusted by the tool and left alone.
Now though, after a recent update to Windows 10, Microsoft will assume that connected SSDs don't actually encrypt anything.
In a Twitter post, SwiftOnSecurity described why the software giant has decided to no longer trust SSD manufacturers, saying:
“Microsoft gives up on SSD manufacturers: Windows will no longer trust drives that say they can encrypt themselves, BitLocker will default to CPU-accelerated AES encryption instead. This is after an exposé on broad issues with firmware-powered encryption. “
A report released in November of 2018 revealed that self-encrypting drives have a number of security flaws including the use of master passwords set by manufacturers. This means that those who purchased SSDs which were supposed to help keep their data secure might as well have purchased a drive that did not handle its own encryption instead.
Users who purchased self-encrypting drives were actually worse off than they thought as Microsoft set up BitLocker to leave these drives alone completely. This was done to help performance without compromising the security of these drives as they could use their own hardware to encrypt their contents instead of using a system's CPU. However, now it seems as though Microsoft will no longer trust SSD manufacturers to keep customers data safe on their own.
In its release notes for the KB4516071 update to Windows 10, the company explained the changes it had made to how BitLocker handles self-encrypting drives, saying:
"Changes the default setting for BitLocker when encrypting a self-encrypting hard drive. Now, the default is to use software encryption for newly encrypted drives. For existing drives, the type of encryption will not change."
While it would be nice if self-encrypting SSDs were as secure as they claim to be, at least now users can rest easy knowing that BitLocker will secure their drives.
The best controllers for PC are some of the best accessories you can get for PC gaming. OK, so purists might feel differently – to them, the only way to play the best PC games is with a gaming mouse and keyboard. However, many AAA games nowadays are designed with console controls in mind, and that’s great news since these controllers offer more dexterity for demanding genres like action-RPGs and fighting games.
As there are many controllers out there to choose from, whatever your budget is and whatever your features you need, you’ll find something out there that suits your playstyle. However, to make your search easier, we’ve collected five of our favorite controllers for PC and put them on this list.
From budget-friendly devices to premium ones with premium prices, these are the best controllers for PC out there. Since we’re PC gaming experts, trust that each of these PC game controllers will be worth your time and money.
Microsoft’s Xbox controller has been the ruler by which other PC game controllers are measured since the Xbox 360 days, and for good reason. It’s comfortable and weighty with a button layout that feels natural. The most recent version – designed for the Xbox One console – iterates on everything that made last generation’s model so great by adding clickier shoulder bumpers and a vastly improved directional pad.
The built in bluetooth wireless makes pairing it with your desktop a breeze, and the price point is very attractive for consumers on a budget. It also comes in a variety of colors and patterns, meaning you’re likely find something that matches your rig. And, even if there isn’t a color scheme you’re into, Microsoft will let you customize it through the Xbox Design Lab. This controller is as universal as they come, making it a fantastic choice for just about any setup.
A premium version of the Xbox One controller, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller certainly earns its moniker. It features an enormous number of upgrades over the standard Xbox controller, such as an interchangeable component layout and paddle buttons on the reverse side. There’s also a trigger governor that you can toggle for more sensitive trigger pulls. It’s more than double the price, though, so this is a product aimed squarely at those among us who truly want to take advantage of keyboard levels of customizability.
The Elite controller includes some truly impressive software functionality, which lets you tweak and fine-tune nearly every aspect of play. Here, you can customize many different profiles, of which the controller can hold two at any time, letting you change between them with the flick of a switch. If you’re looking for the most feature-packed controller available for your PC, this is your best bet, provided you’re willing to shell out the cash.
If you’re in the market for a truly budget controller, it’s tough to beat Logitech’s F310. It may be basic in its execution and functionality, but there’s something to be said about the no-frills nature of this cheap option. Just plug it in via USB and you’re ready to go. Considering the glut of customization options and features of all the premium controllers out there, the F310 is oddly refreshing. It also boasts an admirable directional pad and a great button layout.
As might be expected, the price point comes with a number of tradeoffs. First, the controller is rather lightweight, which lends an unfortunately flimsy quality to the experience of gaming with it. Also, with no wireless functionality, the cord interface may be less than ideal for some. It’s also a tad small and larger hands are likely to struggle a bit. Still, given these caveats, the F310 is a fine choice for an inexpensive alternative to a mouse and keyboard.
The PlayStation 4 is Sony’s best controller to date, and lucky for us it’s compatible with Steam’s entire library of games. Very comfortable in the hands, the DualShock 4 boasts tactile analog sticks with just enough resistance, and perhaps the best directional pad ever. It also features motion technology that’s compatible with with a surprising number of games, allowing you to steer in racing games or aim in shooters by moving the controller around.
There are a couple issues, though. Most notably, the exposed shoulder buttons make it easy to accidentally bump them on the desk. The rubber on the analog sticks also tends to rub off after extended use. Still, Sony’s controller ranks up there among the best options for controller-based PC gaming.
Peripheral manufacturer 8BitDo has made its name on retro designs that lean heavily on nostalgia, and the SN30 Pro wears its inspiration on its sleeve. Modeled after old-school Super Nintendo controllers, it’s ideal for the PC’s ever-growing library of retro-inspired games, even if it doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone. The button layout will be instantly familiar to anyone who grew up with 2D platformers and JRPGs.
The craftsmanship on the SN30 Pro is surprisingly sturdy, especially considering its budget pricing. It also sports a pair of analog sticks should you want to use it for modern shooters or action games, though we wouldn’t recommend that. Its small form factor makes it uncomfortable in the hand during extended sessions and more twitch-based games. Regardless, there are a number of games that would benefit from the authentically retro touch that the SN30 brings to the desk.
German authorities have shut down a data center set up inside a former NATO bunker which was used to host sites dealing in drugs and other illegal activities.
Seven people were arrested in a recent raid but the main suspect of the long-running investigation is a 59-year-old Dutchman who is believed to have acquired the former military bunker located in the town of Traben-Trarbach in western Germany back in 2013.
After acquiring the bunker, the suspect turned it into a very large and heavily secured data center which he maid available to clients to use for illegal purposes. According to regional criminal police chief Johannes Kunz, he had links to organized crime and spent most of his time at the bunker despite being registered as having moved to Singapore.
In total, thirteen people aged 20 to 59 are under investigation, including three German and seven Dutch citizens. German authorities have arrested seven people involved in the illegal data who they believe may be a flight risk.
Illegal data center
The data center within the former NATO bunker was set up as a “bulletproof hoster” meant to conceal illicit activities from the eyes of the authorities according to investigators on the scene.
A number of illegal online platforms were hosted from the data center including the drug-dealing portal, Cannabis Road, the world's largest online criminal marketplace for drugs, hacking tools and financial malware, Wall Street Market and sites dealing in synthetic drugs such as Orange Chemicals.
Regional criminal police chief Johannes Kunz explained that the raid on the complex was a huge success for the authorities, saying:
“I think it’s a huge success ... that we were able at all to get police forces into the bunker complex, which is still secured at the highest military level. We had to overcome not only real, or analog, protections; we also cracked the digital protections of the data center.”
AMD just announced a new lineup of PRO processors, led by the AMD Ryzen 9 PRO 3900. This processor's TDP (Thermal Design Power) is lowered to 65W from the Ryzen 9 3900X's 95W, which should mean it'll emit less heat and consume less power. But, it does also mean it won't be as fast.
The AMD Ryzen 9 PRO 3900 is accompanied by the Ryzen 7 PRO 3700 and Ryzen 5 PRO 3600, along with a bunch of G-series Ryzen processors with Radeon Vega graphics. It should be noted, that because these are all 65W parts, you shouldn't expect boost clocks to be as high – the Ryzen 9 PRO 3900 only reaches up to 4.3GHz, compared to the Ryzen 9 3900X's 4.6GHz. Though, Ryzen processors are having trouble reaching their rated boost clocks anyways.
We went ahead and listed out the new AMD Ryzen PRO processors below:
It's important to note that these processors aren't intended for everyday users. If you're just trying to build a gaming PC, you're better off getting any other Ryzen 3rd Generation chip. These processors are primarily intended for business use, and will be included in a ton of pre-built desktops for that purpose.
There are a ton of features in these new processors that are particularly useful for businesses, but probably won't make much sense for everyday consumers. For example, each of these AMD Ryzen PRO processors come with a built-in security processor packed with AMD's GuardMI tech. This will help protect PCs from some of the most severe cold boot cyber attacks.
AMD has also partnered with HP and Lenovo, and is able to include Lenovo ThinkShield and HP SureStart support at the silicon level for pre-built systems, like the HP EliteDesk 705 G5 and Lenovo Thinkpad M75q-1.
So, while we don't think these processors will be featured in any of the hottest gaming PC builds any time soon, we definitely expect some businesses to make the jump, especially media companies who can use that extra horsepower for editing video.
PC gaming has a reputation for being really expensive to get into. It’s easy to scrounge the internet, finding examples of extremely high-end systems that can cost thousands of dollars to build. But, there’s more to the best gaming PCs than what the 1% can afford.
To prove that point, we’ll show you how to build a cheap gaming PC that doesn’t, well, suck. The system we’ll walk you through here won’t be able to play Control at 4K with ray tracing maxed out, but 1080p at high settings? Easy.
If you’re building a system out of new parts, you’re not going to be able to beat the Xbox One X at the same price point. 4K gaming is pretty much out of the question until you get to the mid-range. You can get around this by picking up used parts, but that’s not something we’d recommend if you're afraid of your PC components spontaneously combusting.
But, the other benefits that a gaming PC can offer more than make up for the higher price tag. And, even if PC gaming has a higher entry price, you’ll still save a ton of money over time on PC games.
So, if you’re ready to build a cheap gaming PC that can still handle modern AAA games at 1080p, you’ve come to the right place. We've picked out the best PC components that you can get for cheap, and we've already got a guide to building a PC that is still totally valid – PC building really hasn't changed much in a few years. We’ve been building PCs for years, so you can be sure you won’t run into any compatibility issues with our suggested builds.
What you'll need
Despite what you may have thought, you don’t need too much in the way of tools to build a cheap gaming PC. A phillips head screwdriver is the only absolutely necessary tool. However, there are a couple things that can help you out. Because you’ll be dealing with a lot of screws, having a parts tray helps a lot. If you don’t have one of those lying around (who can blame you), you can just use a couple bowls to keep things sorted.
Also, you have to be on the lookout for static electricity. An anti-static wristband is a godsend if you have one, but if you don’t, just make sure you’re not standing on carpet when building, and discharge any latent static electricity by touching some metal, like your power supply or PC case.
Most importantly, however, you need a clean space to build. If you can clear off the dining room table for a couple hours, that’s perfect. You just need enough space to hold all of your PC components.
There are so many PC components out there these days that you could theoretically build dozens of PCs without having the same parts list. Luckily, we follow PC components literally every day, so we used our expertise to pick out the best bang-for-your-buck PC components for this cheap gaming PC, and why those parts are the best choices for a budget PC build in 2019. And, once you’ve gathered up all the best PC components that don’t suck we’ll show you how to build a PC.
This AMD Ryzen processor (CPU) is the holy grail of budget PC components. It’s a quad-core chip with a boost clock of 4.0GHz, which would be enough to get some PC gaming done on its own. Where this chip really gains its budget bragging rights, however, is in the on-board Radeon Vega 8 graphics. This integrated graphics processor (GPU) isn’t powerful enough to play top-end games, but it should be enough to try some of the best indie games while saving up for a beefy graphics.
Intel alternative: we’d suggest the Pentium G4560. It’s only a dual-core chip, but with high clock speeds and hyper-threading it can keep up with the latest PC games.
When you’re picking out a motherboard, you don’t want to skimp too much. It’s one of those components where if something goes wrong, you have to rebuild the entire PC. The ASRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming will get the job done, while saving you plenty of cash. It’s not the most feature-rich motherboard out there, but you’re just looking for a dependable board. Just keep in mind that you'll have to update the BIOS to at least version P3.20 to use the Ryzen 3 3200G. But, if you're not comfortable with that, you can always pick up the Ryzen 3 2200G instead – you won't lose much performance.
Intel alternative: if you’re going with Team Blue, you can save quite a bit on the motherboard by going with the ASRock B250M-HDV motherboard. It’s an older chipset, so you can find a bargain.
For budget gamers, sticking with 8GB of memory (RAM) is reasonable. There are some heavy duty games that will really start to push past that limit, but those are few and far between – especially at 1080p. So, we recommend picking up an 8GB kit of G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4. It’s not the fastest or the flashiest, but it gets the job done.
A 128GB SSD may sound small to you, and it is, but when you’re just trying to get an affordable PC build done, it’s perfect. The Adata Ultimate SU800 128GB is big enough to fit your operating system on, which means your computer will be nice and fast, and more importantly, it’s dirt-cheap. This drive is just $20, and you should be able to find it for even cheaper during seasonal sales like Black Friday.
Unfortunately, SSDs are so much more expensive than the best hard drives when it comes to mass storage – that’s just a fact of life. That’s why picking up a 1TB hard drive, like the WD Caviar Blue, just makes sense for a cheap gaming PC. You’ll install your OS and maybe like one game on your SSD, and everything else can just go on your hard drive.
When you’re shopping for the best graphics card for your build, the most important advice we can give you is to consider what you’re going for. A lot of people will tell you that the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is the best graphics card out there, but not everyone has $1,200/£1,200to throw at a GPU. That’s why the AMD Radeon RX 570 8GB is such a gem. It’s extremely affordable, and should be good enough to handle most games at 1080p at high settings.
Nvidia alternative: If you’re looking for an affordable Nvidia card that trades blows with the AMD Radeon RX 570, you’ll want to take a look at the GeForce GTX 1650. It’s not super powerful, but it will get you through your 1080p gaming.
With a PC case, you really don’t need the most badass tower to get the job done. And, the Corsair 100R s a perfect example of a cheap PC case that doesn’t suck. It doesn’t have all the RGB lights and tempered glass panels that a more expensive case might, but what matters is that there’s plenty of room for case fans, and more than enough space for full length graphics cards if you want to upgrade later.
When you’re setting out to build a cheap gaming PC that doesn’t suck, it's easy to find the cheapest power supply and toss it into your PC. But, because that could literally present a fire hazard, you should at least find something like the Corsair VS550K. This budget power supply just has an 80+ efficiency rating, rather than the Gold, Silver or Bronze efficiencies of more expensive PSUs, but it should still be good enough to get the job done. Just keep in mind that this power supply isn’t modular, so you might have to find some creative ways to hide the extra cables.
Welcome to TechRadar's PC Gaming Week 2019. We're celebrating the most powerful gaming platform on Earth with in-depth articles, exclusive interviews and essential buying guides that showcase everything PC gaming has to offer. Visit our PC Gaming Week 2019 page to see all our coverage in one place.