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Threat spotlight: CrySIS, aka Dharma ransomware, causing a crisis for businesses

Malwarebytes - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 16:02

CrySIS, aka Dharma, is a family of ransomware that has been evolving since 2006. We have noticed that this ransomware has become increasingly active lately, increasing by a margin of 148 percent from February until April 2019. The uptick in detections may be due to CrySIS’ effective use of multiple attack vectors.

Profile of the CrySIS ransomware

CrySIS/Dharma, which Malwarebytes detects as Ransom.Crysis, targets Windows systems, and this family primarily targets businesses. It uses several methods of distribution:

  • CrySIS is distributed as malicious attachments in spam emails. Specific to this family is the use of malicious attachments that use double file extensions, which under default Windows settings may appear to be non-executable, when in reality they are.
  • CrySIS can also arrive disguised as installation files for legitimate software, including AV vendors. CrySIS operators will offer up these harmless looking installers for various legitimate applications as downloadable executables, which they have been distributing through various online locations and shared networks.
  • Most of the time, CrySIS/Dharma is delivered manually in targeted attacks by exploiting leaked or weak RDP credentials. This means a human attacker is accessing the victim machines prior to the infection by brute-forcing the Windows RDP protocol on port 3389.

In a recent attack, CrySIS was delivered as a download link in a spam email. The link pointed to a password-protected, self-extracting bundle installer. The password was given to the potential victims in the email and, besides the CrySIS/Dharma executable, the installer contained an outdated removal tool issued by a well-known security vendor.

This social engineering strategy worked to bring down user defenses. Seeing a familiar security solution in the installation package tricked users into believing the downloadable was safe, and the attack was successful.

The infection

Once CrySIS has infected a system, it creates registry entries to maintain persistence and encrypts practically every file type, while skipping system and malware files. It performs the encryption routine using a strong encryption algorithm (AES-256 combined with RSA-1024 asymmetric encryption), which is applied to fixed, removable, and network drives.

Before the encryption routine, CrySIS deletes all the Windows Restore Points by running the vssadmin delete shadows /all /quiet command.

The Trojan that drops the ransomware collects the computer’s name and a number of encrypted files by certain formats, sending them to a remote C2 server controlled by the threat actor. On some Windows versions, it also attempts to run itself with administrator privileges, thus extending the list of files that can be encrypted.

After a successful RDP-based attack, it has been observed that before executing the ransomware payload, CrySIS uninstalls security software installed on the system.

The ransom

When CrySIS has completed the encryption routine, it drops a ransom note on the desktop for the victim, providing two email addresses the victim can use to contact the attackers and pay the ransom. Some variants include one of the contact email addresses in the encrypted file names.

The ransom demand is usually around 1 Bitcoin, but there have been cases where pricing seems to have been adapted to match the revenue of the affected company. Financially sound companies often have to pay a larger ransomware sum.

Some of the older variants of CrySIS can be decrypted using free tools that have been made available through the NoMoreRansom project.

Countermeasures

While you do have a choice to deploy other software to remotely operate your work computers, RDP is essentially a safe and easy-to-use protocol with a client that comes pre-installed on Windows systems, as well as clients available for other operating systems. There are a few measures you can take to make it a lot harder to gain access to your network over unauthorized RDP connections:

  • Change the RDP port so port-scanners looking for open RDP ports will miss yours. By default, the server listens on port 3389 for both TCP and UDP.
  • Or use a Remote Desktop Gateway Server, which also gives you some additional security and operational benefits like 2FA. The logs of the RDP sessions can prove especially useful when you are trying to figure out what might have happened. As these logs are not on the compromised machine, they are harder to falsify by intruders.
  • Limit access to specific IPs, if possible. There should be no need for a whole lot of IPs that need RDP access.
  • There are several possibilities to elevate user privileges on Windows computers, even when using RDP, but all of the known methods have been patched. So, as always, make sure your systems are fully up-to-date and patched to prevent privilege elevation and other exploits from being used.
  • Use an effective and easy-to-deploy backup strategy. Relying on Restore Points doesn’t qualify as such and is utterly useless when the ransomware first deletes the restore points, as is the case with CrySIS.
  • Train your staff on the dangers of email attachments and downloading files from unofficial sources.
  • Finally, use a multi-layered, advanced security solution to protect your machines against ransomware attacks.
IOCs

Ransom.Crysis has been known to append these extensions for encrypted files:

.crysis, .dharma, wallet, .java, .adobe, .viper1, .write, .bip, .zzzzz, .viper2, .arrow, .gif, .xtbl, .onion, .bip, .cezar, .combo, .cesar, .cmb, .AUF, .arena, .brrr, .btc, .cobra,  .gamma, .heets, .java, .monro, .USA, .bkp, .xwx, .btc, .best, .bgtx, .boost, .heets, .waifu, .qwe, .gamma, .ETH, .bet, ta, .air, .vanss, . 888, .FUNNY, .amber, .gdb, .frend, .like, .KARLS, .xxxxx, .aqva, .lock, .korea, .plomb, .tron, .NWA, .AUDIT, .com, .cccmn, .azero, .Bear, .bk666, .fire, .stun, .myjob, .ms13, .war, .carcn, .risk, .btix, .bkpx, .he, .ets, .santa, .gate, .bizer, .LOVE, .LDPR, .MERS, .bat, .qbix, .aa1, and .wal

The following ransom note names have been found:

  • README.txt
  • HOW TO DECRYPT YOUR DATA.txt
  • Readme to restore your files.txt
  • Decryption instructions.txt
  • FILES ENCRYPTED.txt
  • Files encrypted!!.txt
  • Info.hta

Common file hashes:

  • 0aaad9fd6d9de6a189e89709e052f06b
  • bd3e58a09341d6f40bf9178940ef6603
  • 38dd369ddf045d1b9e1bfbb15a463d4c

The post Threat spotlight: CrySIS, aka Dharma ransomware, causing a crisis for businesses appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Valiant Heads to Denver Pop Culture Con for a Must-see Panel!

First Comics News - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 15:45

New York, NY (May 15, 2019) – Valiant Entertainment is heading to Colorado for a teaser-filled panel at Denver Pop Culture Con!

On Saturday, June 1st, make sure you’re in Room 502 by 11:30 am at the Colorado Convention Center for the Valiant Uprising panel! Moderated by Marketing Coordinator Gregg Katzman, this can’t-miss panel features writer Fred Van Lente (PSI-LORDS, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG) and Sales Operations Coordinator Connor Hill! Attendees will be treated to brand-new artwork from PSI-LORDS, DOCTOR MIRAGE, BLOODSHOT, PUNK MAMBO, KILLERS, and much more! Secrets will be declassified and new teasers will be revealed!

After the panel, fans should swing by I Want More Comics at Booth #173 for a chance to get a limited Valiant comic and chat with Valiant staff!

For Denver Pop Culture Con tickets and info, visit https://denverpopculturecon.com/

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Cupcake Tee Tutorial

Moogly - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 15:26

The Cupcake Tee Tutorial demonstrates the stitches and assembly of this simple yet flattering easy crochet top pattern – in right and left-handed video tutorials! Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links; materials provided by Red Heart and Clover USA. Cupcake Tee Tutorial: How to Crochet the Cupcake Tee – Right Handed How to Crochet the Cupcake [...]

The post Cupcake Tee Tutorial appeared first on moogly. Please visit www.mooglyblog.com for this post. If you are viewing this on another site they have scraped the content from my website without permission. Thank you for your support.

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Categories: Crochet Life

CBS ANNOUNCES NEW PRIMETIME SCHEDULE FOR 2019-2020 SEASON

First Comics News - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 15:09

CBS UNVEILS 2019-2020 PRIMETIME LINEUP; 8 NEW SERIES JOIN 24 RETURNING SHOWS

New Fall Schedule Features CBS’ Traditional Strength and Stability with

Big New Show Additions on Monday and Thursday

The New Fall Series Are the Comedies BOB  ABISHOLA, CAROL’S SECOND ACT and THE UNICORN, and the Dramas ALL RISE and EVIL

2019-2020 Programming Strategy Will Roll Out New Series and Returning Hits Throughout the Year, Including the New Dramas FBI: MOST WANTED and TOMMY, Starring Edie Falco, and the New Comedy BROKE

New Series Hail from Acclaimed Producers Michelle and Robert King,

Chuck Lorre, Jennie Snyder Urman and Dick Wolf

CBS to Finish #1 for the 11th Straight Season

CBS today unveiled its new year-round 2019-2020 primetime programming lineup featuring four new comedies, four new dramas and 24 returning series.

The five new shows for fall include three comedies: BOB ♥ ABISHOLA from award-winning executive producer, writer and creator Chuck Lorre, starring Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku; CAROL’S SECOND ACT, starring three-time Emmy Award winner Patricia Heaton; and THE UNICORN, starring Walton Goggins. The two dramas are EVIL, a psychological mystery from acclaimed producers Michelle and Robert King, starring Katja Herbers and Mike Colter; and the courthouse ensemble ALL RISE.

The new shows debuting later in the season include the dramas FBI: MOST WANTED from producer Dick Wolf, starring Julian McMahon; and TOMMY starring Emmy Award winner Edie Falco; as well as the comedy BROKE, from producer Jennie Snyder Urman, starring Jaime Camil and Pauley Perrette. Returning favorites include BIG BROTHER, CRIMINAL MINDS, MACGYVER, MAN WITH A PLAN, THE AMAZING RACE and UNDERCOVER BOSS.

“Our new lineup features both classic CBS shows and genres that viewers love, as well as some new series that push the boundaries of what you might expect from us,” said Kelly Kahl, President, CBS Entertainment. “We are also saving some very strong series for the second part of the year as part of a strategy to roll out new and returning series throughout the season.”

“This is a slate of new shows with thought-provoking stories, culturally relevant themes and tremendous casts, from award-winning producers and writers,” said Thom Sherman, Senior Executive Vice President, Programming, CBS Entertainment. “We are also building on the diverse series we launched last season with more leading roles for women and more inclusive storytelling across all of our new comedies and dramas.”

America’s Most Watched Network’s new fall schedule features traditional strength and stability with big new show additions on Monday and Thursday.

MONDAYS – Two established hits bracket an exciting new comedy and drama. THE NEIGHBORHOOD once again starts off the night at 8:00 PM, a Top 10 comedy that improved its time period by +6% in viewers. It provides a potent and compatible launch pad for the new comedy BOB ♥ ABISHOLA from award-winning producer Chuck Lorre, followed by the new courthouse drama ALL RISE. BULL closes the night at 10:00 PM, where it improved its time period by +33% in viewers.

TUESDAYS – Tuesday’s dominant lineup remains intact. NCIS, the #1 drama on television for nine of the last 10 seasons, opens the night at 8:00 PM, where it delivers 16 million viewers each week. At 9:00 PM, the #1 new series on television, FBI returns for its sophomore season, followed by time-period winner NCIS: NEW ORLEANS, starring Scott Bakula at 10:00 PM, capping the evening of top-rated dramas.

WEDNESDAYS – Wednesday’s winning schedule adds an established hit drama. SURVIVOR again starts off the night at 8:00 PM, where it’s the #1 broadcast in key demos in the hour. The third season of SEAL TEAM, starring David Boreanaz, returns at 9:00 PM, and provides a powerful pairing with the hit drama S.W.A.T., starring Shemar Moore, which moves to 10:00 PM on its new day to close out the night.

THURSDAYS – Thursday’s schedule adds two new comedies plus an exciting new drama. YOUNG SHELDON, television’s #2 comedy, takes the 8:00 PM mantle, giving a dominant lead-in for the new comedy THE UNICORN starring Walton Goggins at 8:30 PM. Next, at 9:00 PM is television’s #3 comedy and time-period winner, MOM, starring Anna Faris and Emmy and Academy Award winner Allison Janney, providing a perfect pairing with CAROL’S SECOND ACT starring Patricia Heaton at 9:30 PM. At 10:00 PM, award-winning producers Michelle and Robert King bring EVIL, a new psychological mystery to CBS.

FRIDAYS – CBS’ most dominant night adds a hit drama to create a tropical duo. HAWAII FIVE-0 slides to 8:00 PM to open the night, leading into its Hawaiian neighbor MAGNUM P.I. at 9:00 PM, which improved its Monday time period this season by +35% in viewers. Next, Top 10 hit BLUE BLOODS returns for its 10th season at 10:00 PM, to cap one of television’s strongest nights.

SATURDAYS – CBS’ Saturday night lineup features CRIMETIME SATURDAY, encore broadcasts of the Network’s popular dramas at 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM, followed by 48 HOURS, Saturday’s #1 non-sports series, at 10:00 PM.

SUNDAYS – CBS’ winning night returns intact. 60 MINUTES, television’s most acclaimed news program for five decades, returns at 7:00 PM, providing a powerful lead-in for the three top scripted broadcasts of the night. GOD FRIENDED ME, which reached 60 million viewers this past year, returns at 8:00 PM, followed by Sunday’s highest-rated broadcast drama, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, at 9:00 PM and MADAM SECRETARY starring Téa Leoni at 10:00 PM, to close out the signature night.

THE NEW FALL DRAMAS

ALL RISE (Monday, 9:00-10:00 PM)

ALL RISE is a courthouse drama that follows the chaotic, hopeful and sometimes absurd lives of its judges, prosecutors and public defenders, as they work with bailiffs, clerks and cops to get justice for the people of Los Angeles amidst a flawed legal process. Among them is newly appointed Judge Lola Carmichael (Simone Missick), a highly regarded and impressive deputy district attorney who doesn’t intend to sit back on the bench in her new role, but instead leans in, immediately pushing the boundaries and challenging the expectations of what a judge can be. Greg Spottiswood, Len Goldstein and Emmy Award winner Michael M. Robin are executive producers for Warner Bros. Television. Robin directed the pilot from a script by Spottiswood.

ALL RISE stars Simone Missick as Lola Carmichael, Wilson Bethel as Mark Callan, Marg Helgenberger as Judith Benner, Jessica Camacho as Emily Lopez, J. Alex Brinson as Luke Watkins, Lindsay Mendez as Sara Pratt and Ruthie Ann Miles as Sherri Kanski.

EVIL (Thursday, 10:00-11:00 PM)

EVIL is a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. The series focuses on a skeptical female psychologist who joins a priest-in-training and a carpenter as they investigate the Church’s backlog of unexplained mysteries, including supposed miracles, demonic possessions and hauntings. Their job is to assess if there is a logical explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work. Michelle King, Robert King and Liz Glotzer are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Robert King directed the pilot.

EVIL stars Katja Herbers as Kristen Bouchard, Mike Colter as David Acosta, Aasif Mandvi as Ben Shroff, Michael Emerson as Leland Townsend, Brooklyn Shuck as Lynn Bouchard, Skylar Gray as Lila Bouchard, Maddy Crocco as Lexis Bouchard and Dalya Knapp as Laura Bouchard.

THE NEW FALL COMEDIES

BOB ♥ ABISHOLA (Monday, 8:30-9:00 PM)

From award-winning creator, executive producer and writer Chuck Lorre, BOB ♥ ABISHOLA is a love story about a middle-aged compression sock businessman from Detroit who unexpectedly falls for his cardiac nurse, a Nigerian immigrant, while recovering from a heart attack and sets his sights on winning her over. Undaunted by Abishola’s (Folake Olowofoyeku) lack of initial interest or the vast differences in their backgrounds, Bob (Billy Gardell) is determined to win Abishola’s heart, in this comedic examination of immigrant life in America. Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky, Al Higgins and Beth McCarthy-Miller (pilot only) are executive producers for Chuck Lorre Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. McCarthy-Miller directed the pilot from a script by Lorre, Gorodetsky, Higgins and Gina Yashere.

BOB ♥ ABISHOLA stars Billy Gardell as Bob, Folake Olowofoyeku as Abishola, Christine Ebersole as Dottie, Matt Jones as Douglas, Maribeth Monroe as Christine, Vernee Watson as Gloria, Shola Adewusi as Auntie Olu, Barry Shabaka Henley as Uncle Tunde and Travis Wolfe Jr. as Dele.

CAROL’S SECOND ACT (Thursday, 9:30-10:00 PM)

Emmy Award winner Patricia Heaton stars in CAROL’S SECOND ACT, a comedy about a woman who embarks on a unique second act after raising her children, getting divorced and retiring from teaching: pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. At age 50, Carol is a medical intern and must sink or swim with peers who are half her age. It’s her enthusiasm, perspective and yes, even her age, that may be exactly what will make her second act a great success. Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins; Patricia Heaton, Adam Griffin, David Hunt and Rebecca Stay (Four Boys Entertainment); Aaron Kaplan and Dana Honor (Kapital Entertainment); and Pamela Fryman (pilot only) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Fryman directed the pilot from a script by Halpern and Haskins.

CAROL’S SECOND ACT stars Patricia Heaton as Carol Kenney, Kyle MacLachlan as Dr. Frost, Ito Aghayere as Dr. Maya Jacobs, Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Daniel and Sabrina Jalees as Lexie. Lucas Neff guest stars as Caleb.

THE UNICORN (Thursday, 8:30-9:00 PM)

THE UNICORN is a single-camera comedy about a tight-knit group of best friends and family who helps Wade (Walton Goggins) embrace his “new normal” in the wake of the loss of his wife one year ago. As a sometimes ill-equipped but always devoted single parent to his two adolescent daughters, he is taking the major step of dating again. To Wade’s amazement, he’s a hot commodity with women, and his friends explain that he’s the perfect single guy – a “unicorn”: employed, attractive, and with a proven track record of commitment. With his daughters and best friends rooting him on and hoping he’ll find happiness again, Wade and his healing heart are ready to try life… and love… again. Bill Martin, Mike Schiff, Aaron Kaplan, Dana Honor, Wendi Trilling, Peyton Reed, and John Hamburg (pilot only) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Hamburg directed the pilot from a script by Martin and Schiff.

THE UNICORN stars Walton Goggins as Wade, Rob Corddry as Forrest, Michaela Watkins as Delia, Omar Benson Miller as Ben, Maya Lynne Robinson as Michelle, Ruby Jay as Grace, and Makenzie Moss as Natalie.

NEW SERIES FOR POST-FALL

FBI: MOST WANTED

From Emmy Award winner Dick Wolf and the team behind FBI and the “Law & Order” franchise, FBI: MOST WANTEDis a high-stakes drama that focuses on the Fugitive Task Force, which relentlessly tracks and captures the notorious criminals on the Bureau’s Most Wanted list. Seasoned agent Jess LaCroix (Julian McMahon) oversees the highly skilled team that functions as a mobile undercover unit that is always out in the field, pursuing those who are most desperate to elude justice. Dick Wolf, René Balcer, Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski are executive producers for Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television in association with CBS Television Studios. Fred Berner directed the pilot from a script by Balcer.

FBI: MOST WANTED stars Julian McMahon as Jess LaCroix, Alana De La Garza as Isobel Castille, Keisha Castle-Hughes as Hana Gibson, Kellan Lutz as Crosby, Roxy Sternberg as Sheryll Barnes and Nathaniel Arcand as Clinton Skye.

TOMMY

Multiple Emmy Award winner Edie Falco stars in TOMMY as a former high-ranking NYPD officer who becomes the first female Chief of Police for Los Angeles. A true blue New Yorker, Abigail “Tommy” Thomas (Falco) uses her unflinching honesty and hardball tactics to keep social, political and national security issues from hindering effective law enforcement in the Southland. Equal parts political, procedural and family drama, TOMMY comes from Paul Attanasio, the creator of the acclaimed series BULL, “House M.D.” and “Homicide: Life on the Street.” Paul Attanasio, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey and Kate Dennis (pilot only) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Kate Dennis directed the pilot from a script by Attanasio.

TOMMY stars Edie Falco as Abigail “Tommy” Thomas, Michael Chernus as Ken Rosey, Adelaide Clemens as Blake Sullivan, David Fierro as Buddy Boyardi, Russell G. Jones as Aurelius Looper, Olivia Lucy Phillip as Kate Jones, and Joseph Lyle Taylor as Treat Dudik.

BROKE

Jaime Camil and Pauley Perrette star in BROKE, a comedy about Jackie (Perrette), a single suburban mother who’s shocked when her estranged sister, Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero), her sister’s outrageously wealthy, big-hearted husband, Javier (Camil), and Javier’s fiercely loyal assistant/driver/friend, Luis (Izzy Diaz), land on her doorstep in need of a place to live after the couple’s money dries up. Though class differences may separate the women, and the size of the house and the number of people living in it will test the limits of family ties, the familial bond of sisterhood might be the catalyst they need to restore their relationship. Emmy Award winner Alex Herschlag (“Will & Grace,” “Modern Family”), Jennie Snyder Urman (“Jane the Virgin”), Joanna Klein, Ben Silverman, Jaime Camil, Guillermo Restrepo, Gonzalo Cilley and Maria Lucia Hernandez are executive producers for CBS Television Studio/Sutton Street Prods./Propagate, with creative partners RCN TV and Resonant TV. Victor Gonzalez directed the pilot from a script by Herschlag.

BROKE stars Jaime Camil as Javier, Pauley Perrette as Jackie, Natasha Leggero as Elizabeth, Izzy Diaz as Luis and Antonio Corbo as Sammy.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Wallace Ryan’s PURE COMIX Festival of Graphic Literature 2019

First Comics News - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:51

Wallace Ryan and the Anna Templeton Centre are proud to announce that this June, the Pure Comix Festival of Graphic Literature will become Newfoundland & Labrador’s first ever festival dedicated solely to the art of comic books, graphic novels and cartoons. It will be held over 4 days – June 27th to the 30th, 2019 – at the Anna Templeton Centre and at Downtown Comics and will be the most easterly comic arts festival in North America.

Pure Comix will be composed of several workshops to teach the various steps in creating your own comic book or graphic novel with comic book veterans Paul Tucker, Mike Feehan, Andrew Hawthorn and Wallace Ryan. The Festival will not only celebrate comix and entertain people, but it will also educate participants in the basics of comic book creation from plotting to pencilling, inking and beyond. It will be a very small and intimate kind of affair with workshops with limited seats. We will be holding a Salon for some of the top comic artists in St. John’s where you can watch them at work and buy their art.

There will be a Marketplace featuring some of St. John’s finest vendors and comic book dealers that will cost only $2 for admission. We will have a Salon running throughout the Festival with several of St. John’s cartoonist community working on their comics and selling their art as the public looks on.

There will also be a lecture from noted graphic novel scholar Andrew Loman. The Festival will also run a comic arts contest for comic creators in both the teen and adult categories leading up to the actual event.

The Festival will be not only be a fun time, but it will also help us spread the world’s hottest art form to all corners of this province. We hope that this festival will cement St. John’s, Newfoundland as the up and coming hot spot for the comic book world!!!

THURSDAY:

Signings and Awards
for Pure Comix Comic Contest
Downtown Comics
6pm to 8pm

The Pure Comix Festival of Graphic Literature will begin at Downtown Comics with the announcing of the winners of the Gerry Porter Prize for the Best Comic Art for Teens and Adults. The contest will be open to all residents of Newfoundland & Labrador and the winners will get a cool certificate and a prize from Downtown Comics. Entries can run anywhere from 1 to 5 pages.

Entries must be dropped by or mailed to the Anna Templeton Centre by June 15th, 2019

We will then have a signing session with local comic artists Mike Feehan, Paul Tucker, Jud Haynes and Wallace Ryan. Paul and Wallace will be signing copies of Paul’s “WALK” and Jud, Paul and Wallace will be signing copies of the 2nd printing of “NOBODY is in CONTROL” #1 with Jud’s spectacular cover. Mike will be signing copies of his Eisner nominated “Exit Stage Left: the Snagglepuss Chronicles” from DC Comics.

FRIDAY:

the Loman Lecture
Anna Templeton Centre
5 to 6pm

We have an amazing lecture entitled “The Metaphysics of Joker-Hating” from comic book scholar, Andrew Loman of Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador.

There will be a short Q & A after the lecture.

SATURDAY:

Pure Comix Marketplace

1st Floor
Anna Templeton Centre
10am to 6pm

The Marketplace will be a chance for people to buy comic book related official merchandise from comics, graphic novels to models, Funko Pop figures and other assorted pop culture toys from a selection of St. John’s best comic and pop culture vendors.

Scripting for Comics Workshop
with Andrew Hawthorn
2nd Floor Rear Studio
Anna Templeton Centre
10am to 12pm

The first workshop of the weekend will cover how to write your script for your comic or graphic novel. Participants will learn the basics of writing your own original story and how to adapt it into script form to pass on to your artist or for yourself to illustrate.

Pure Comix’s Salon
2nd and 3rd Floor
Anna Templeton Centre
11am to 6pm

The Salon will be an open studio with comic book artists from St. John’s showing off their wares. They will have copies of their comics and prints and drawings for sale. This is PURE COMIX’s way of supporting the comic arts scene in the province and will run Saturday and Sunday.

Storytelling & Pencilling
with Wallace Ryan
2nd Floor Rear Studio
Anna Templeton Centre
12:30 pm to 2:45pm

The next workshop is perfect for those who are looking to start their own comic book or graphic novel. This workshop covers everything the beginner needs to know from storytelling, character development to pencilling the initial artwork.

Inking and Lettering

with Wallace Ryan

2nd Floor Rear Studio
Anna Templeton Centre
3pm to 5pm

This workshop will teach you all the skills you need to know to ink your pencilled artwork. Participants will learn everything from the tools of the inking trade to the various techniques needed to help you to bring your characters to life. Along with inking, we will study the art of hand lettering, sound effects and word balloon construction.

Breakdown Jam and Field Trip
2nd Floor
Anna Templeton Centre
7pm to 9pm
Downtown Comics

9:15 to 10pm

A special edition of the Breakdown Comic Jam with all of St. John’s comic book community coming out to share their work with the world and even do a bit of drawing. Meet with local artists from the beginners to some of the more experienced members of the local comic arts world here in St. John’s.

We will end the Jam with a visit to Downtown Comics to do a little bit of exclusive shopping.

SUNDAY:

Pure Comix Marketplace

1st Floor
Anna Templeton Centre
11am to 5pm

Pure Comix’s Salon
2nd and 3rd Floor
Anna Templeton Centre
11am to 5pm

Colouring

with Paul Tucker
2nd Floor Rear Studio
Anna Templeton Centre
12pm to 2pm

Explore the world of colouring comics with St. John’s Michaelangelo of the coloured comic page, Paul Tucker. He will show you his colouring process and how he works from the concept page right up to the finished coloured comics.

Drawing Digitally

with Mike Feehan
2nd Floor Rear Studio
Anna Templeton Centre
3pm to 5pm

Meet with DC Comics artist and Guest of Honour, Mike Feehan and see how he works on his comics using the digital tools of the modern age. Mike will demonstrate how to do comic book work from his rough sketches to his final electronic artwork.

A Night of Comix
the Geeks Public House
8:30pm to 11pm.

We wind up the Festival with a comic book social.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE IS COMING TO MARVEL IN AUGUST

First Comics News - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:36
ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #1 WRITTEN BY DONNY CATES, ART AND COVER BY RYAN STEGMAN

After turning Venom’s world upside down a year ago, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman are about to put the Sinister Symbiote through hell again… Only this time Carnage has come calling, and everyone who’s ever worn a symbiote is dead in his sights!

He’s skirted the periphery of the Marvel Universe for months, but Cletus Kasady at last stands poised to make his grand return to New York in a blistering 60-page story… and he wants to paint the town red!

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #2 WRITTEN BY DONNY CATES, ART AND COVER BY RYAN STEGMAN

 

 

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN: VELOCITY COMING THIS AUGUST

First Comics News - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:33
MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN: VELOCITY #1 WRITTEN BY DENNIS “HOPELESS” HALLUM, ART BY EMILIO LAISO, COVER BY SKAN

Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum continues the saga of the spectacular Spider-Man with an all-new story set in the Gamerverse! How and why did Peter Parker build the armored Velocity Suit seen in the Marvel’s Spider-Man video game? Find out here!

After the events of CITY AT WAR, Spidey continues to balance his colliding worlds as he attempts to protect New York City against Super Villains like Swarm, while reporter Mary Jane Watson delves deep into an investigation with legendary Daily Bugle journalist Ben Urich. Learn the never-before-told backstory behind the Velocity Suit as unexplainable occurrences bedevil the city and our heroes come face-to-face with…a poltergeist?!

Illustrated by Emilio Laiso with eye-popping covers by the inimitable Skan, you won’t want to miss a panel of the first all-original story following up the worldwide hit video game

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

FUTURE FOUNDATION RETURNS IN AUGUST

First Comics News - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:33
FUTURE FOUNDATION #1 WRITTEN BY JEREMY WHITLEY, ART AND COVER BY WILL ROBSON

When the Richards family is called back to Earth to be the Fantastic Four again, they left behind the Future Foundation—a think tank of the most brilliant young minds in the universe—with one mission: find the pieces of and rebuild their friend Molecule Man. But that’s proved harder than imagined as this crew of young geniuses, Atlanteans, Mutants, Moloids, and androids have run into every problem in the Multiverse.

Now, with the leadership of Alex and Julie Power and a little extra firepower from guest professor Yondu Udonta, the team will undergo their most dangerous mission yet—a prison break! Jeremy Whitley and Will Robson take the Future Foundation on a heart-pounding journey across time and space!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

The Tower of Zenopus in Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Zenopus Archives - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:16
Ghosts of Saltmarsh alternate cover by N.C. Winters. I like this one more.
Way back in the mists of 2006, on Dragonsfoot I wrote that:
Another dungeon that could be fit into such a combined setting would be the Zenopus dungeon in the Holmes basic book. It's set in Portown on the coast and also has pirates/sea caves, so I've often thought of having Portown and Saltmarsh be the same. Neither town is described, though, so Restenford could be used for details. (Though I guess it could be a bit much to have one small town with both a haunted house and a ruined wizard's tower.)I'm certainly not the only one who has had the idea of merging Portown and Saltmarsh. The similar coastal setting and lack of a full description for either town make them a natural fit. While Saltmarsh being described as a "small south-coast English fishing town of the 14th Century and with a population about 2,000" does feel smaller than Portown, a "small but busy city linking the caravan routes from the south to the merchant ships" plying the Northern Sea, it's still an easy merge for the DM building a coastal sandbox setting. In fact, I have run each of these adventures in the last few years in my kids game, and while I kept Saltmarsh separate, I still had it nearby on the same coast as Portown.

Now the Wizards of the Coast have themselves taken advantage of this. Yesterday an eagle-eyed member of the Holmes Basic community over on MeWe, Chris H., reported that he'd spotted the Tower of Zenopus in a flip-thru review of the forthcoming Ghosts of Saltmarsh...! This is the latest hardcover 5E adventure from WOTC, a compilation of conversions of the original AD&D modules U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh*, U2 The Danger at Dunwater, and U3 The Final Enemy** (the pdfs are also available as a discounted bundle), plus four later adventures from Dungeon magazine.

In addition to the obvious similarities between Portown and Saltmarsh, I'm also not surprised to see Zenopus turn up in this product because Mike Mearls is credited as one of the co-Lead Designers (along with Kate Welch, interviewed here), and he ran a Return to the Tower of Zenopus this past March at Gary Con, and also tweeted this map, so it was certainly on his radar at the right time.

After looking into the previews myself, the area map for Saltmarsh shows the town on the mouth of a river emptying into the Azure Sea. Yes, that's right, they've preserved the Greyhawk location names from the originals! Across this river on a peninsula is a location marked "Tower of Zenopus". Per the map compass, this places the tower generally to the west of Saltmarsh, which fits with Holmes' original description (albeit without an intervening river). The U1 Haunted House is in the other direction along the coast, east of Saltmarsh. 

On the page facing this map is a four-paragraph section titled "Tower of Zenopus", which gives the background for the location --- condensed from the original --- and some brief ideas for encounters found therein. It's much more of an adventure hook than a fleshed out location, and it acknowledges as much by concluding that the details are left for the DM to determine. It would be fairly simple to use a direct 5E conversion of the original dungeon (perhaps adapting my list of Portown rumors to get the PCs over there?). 

As far as I can recall, this is the first time TSR or Wizards has recycled any of the Zenopus content in a later product, and also the first time it has been officially placed in Greyhawk. Also significant is that they've titled it the "Tower of Zenopus", as over the years this has been the most frequently used colloquial name for the originally unnamed adventure. In the new version, just the like original, the tower is a complete ruin and the actual adventure is in the dungeons beneath. As I've written before, this follows the naming convention of Castle Greyhawk, where the dungeons are referred to by the name of the ruined edifice. 

In addition to the Azure Sea, the area map also includes the Hool Marshes to the east of Saltmarsh and the Dreadwood to north, clearly placing it on the original Darlene map from the World of Greyhawk folio or boxed set. Also, the "Geographic Features" section following the Tower of Zenopus mentions the "Kingdom of Keoland", a location going all the way back to the proto-Greyhawk Great Kingdom map.

After some further delving, I realized that this area map in Ghosts of Saltmarsh is simply a direct update of the area map from U2 Danger at Dunwater. All of the major geographical features and even the hexes lines on the map match the placement on the original. 
The original even gave hex numbers for the World of Greyhawk map, with Saltmarsh being located in hex U4-123. So while the new adventure may not be specifically identified as being in Greyhawk, it is easily placeable and usable with that campaign world.

In the image below I've annotated the original U2 map with the new location for the Tower:




*All Drivethrurpg links include my affiliate number.

**I've long suspected that this title is a sneaky pun (spoiler: The Enemy with Fins; i.e. the Sahuagin). I even asked Gygax about it once on DF, and while he claimed no knowledge, we did exchange some fintastic puns.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Mister Miracle and Batman: The White Knight Now Available in New, Exclusive Hardcover Editions

First Comics News - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 14:06

DC is offering new hardcover editions of their bestselling graphic novels BATMAN: THE WHITE KNIGHT and MISTER MIRACLE, available exclusively at your Local Comic Book Store starting today, May 15, 2019!

BATMAN: THE WHITE KNIGHT collects the critically acclaimed eight-issue miniseries written and illustrated by Sean Murphy in a dust jacketed 232-page hardcover edition with new cover art by Murphy priced at $29.99 US.

After years of epic battles, the Dark Knight finally finds a way to cure the twisted mind of his archenemy. The Joker…is now sane. The Clown Prince of Crime has now changed his ways, fighting for good in Gotham City, and it may just cause Batman to go over the edge of his own sanity. Writer/artist Sean Murphy takes the helm of this Batman/Joker story like no one else could, delivering an alternative examination of the relationship between the greatest rivals in the DC Universe, exploring the darkest corners of justice and madness.

MISTER MIRACLE collects the Eisner Award-winning epic 12-issue miniseries written by Tom King with art by Mitch Gerads in a new dust jacketed 320-page hardcover edition with cover art by Gerads priced at $34.99 US.

Scott Free is the greatest escape artist who ever lived. So great that he escaped Granny Goodness’ gruesome orphanage and the dangers of Apokolips to travel across galaxies and set up a new life on Earth with his wife, the former Female Fury known as Big Barda. Using the stage alter ego of Mister Miracle, he has made a career for himself showing off his acrobatic escape techniques. You might say Scott Free has everything…so why isn’t it enough? Mister Miracle has mastered every illusion, achieved every stunt, pulled off every trick—except one. He has never escaped death. Is it even possible? Our hero is going to have to kill himself if he wants to find out.

Both BATMAN: THE WHITE KNIGHT HC and MISTER MIRACLE HC are available in comic shops now!

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

WarnerMedia Partners with All Elite Wrestling for Multi-Platform Launch of Groundbreaking New Wrestling League

First Comics News - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 13:37

TNT to Air Weekly Matches Later This Year

Inaugural May 25 Event Available on B/R Live and via Pay-Per-View

AEW to Introduce a New Generation of Diverse Wrestlers and Give Fans a New Wrestling Experience for the First Time in 20 Years

May 15, 2019 – WarnerMedia announced today that it is partnering with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), the new professional wrestling promotion featuring a world-class roster of diverse male and female wrestlers, giving fans a new wrestling experience for the first time in 20 years. WarnerMedia and AEW together will build this powerhouse sporting league from the ground up and will begin airing weekly matches later this year. With this league, AEW is introducing a new generation of wrestlers to fans, offering fun, gripping and authentic athletic matches that will make wrestling more accessible to a broad audience. WarnerMedia will utilize its position as a next-generation global media company to build this league into a global pro-wrestling franchise.

Founded by President and CEO Tony Khan, AEW is headlined by members of The Elite, which includes all-star wrestlers The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson), Cody and Brandi Rhodes, Kenny Omega, and Hangman Page, and a roster that includes the legendary Chris Jericho. Omega, Cody and The Young Bucks also serve as executive vice presidents of the company in addition to in-ring talent, and Brandi Rhodes also serves as Chief Brand Officer.

Later this year, WarnerMedia will provide exclusive multi-platform access for fans to watch AEW events, airing live weekly matches on TNT in prime time, as well as streaming them through WarnerMedia’s B/R Live and on pay-per-view. A leading digital sports enterprise, B/R Live’s high fan engagement will provide an invaluable opportunity to build AEW’s audience.

“All Elite Wrestling is a talent-forward, fan-first league whose inclusive approach to creating high-quality athletic wrestling competitions is already making waves with fans and attracting top-tier wrestlers,” said Michael Quigley, executive vice president, commercial operations, content strategy and monetization at TBS and TNT. “It is high-adrenaline, gripping entertainment and we can’t wait to bring it to fans everywhere with this game-changing new business.”

“Wrestling fans have wanted – and needed – something different, authentic and better for far too long,” said Tony Khan, President and CEO of AEW. “AEW is answering the call. AEW is about more than wrestling. It’s about a movement fueled by wrestling fans who have been underserved and perhaps even disappointed by what the industry has produced in recent years. AEW is rising to the occasion with DOUBLE OR NOTHING and today taking it a step further by partnering with WarnerMedia, which is committed as we are to making wrestling fans the one and only priority. With WarnerMedia, AEW is poised globally to redefine wrestling as we know it today.”

Focused on producing fast-paced, high-impact competitions, AEW offers fans less scripted, soapy drama, and more athleticism and real sports analytics, bringing a legitimacy to wrestling that it has not previously had. Wrestlers will also be given more freedom to explore their characters and highlight their athletic abilities. Introducing statistics to wrestling for the first time ever, AEW will raise the stakes for its matches and deepen fan engagement by tracking each competitor’s wins and losses as the wrestlers pursue championships, analyzing their moves, assessing damage to their opponents, and providing insights into their winning streaks.

B/R Live will serve as the exclusive digital streaming partner in the United States for AEW’s inaugural event, DOUBLE OR NOTHING, on Saturday, May 25, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. DOUBLE OR NOTHING, which sold out in under 30 minutes, features an exhilarating card including the headline clash between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho; Cody taking on his brother Dustin Rhodes; The Young Bucks battling the Lucha Bros for the AAA World Tag Team Championship; Hangman Adam Page clashing with PAC; and Britt Baker, Nyla Rose and Kylie Rae competing in a three-way match.

Additionally, the hour-long live pre-show special THE BUY-IN will stream on WarnerMedia and AEW’s social channels. THE BUY-IN includes the first ever “Casino (Battle) Royale,” which will see 21 competitors including Jimmy Havoc, Billy Gunn, MJF and Jungle Boy entering the ring in waves of five wrestlers every three minutes followed by one final entrant, lucky number 21, all fighting it out in the ring until there is one winner, whose reward will be a future title shot against the first ever AEW World Champion.

The media rights deal was negotiated by Khan and Bernie Cahill, co-founder of Activist Artists Management, LLC, an entity in which Khan is also an investor and partner.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

(5e) Krillo’s Tomb

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 11:14
By John Heffernan Island of Bees 5e Level 3

The adventurers are hired to enter into a catacomb to discover the treasures inside before a rival faction of thieves can get there first. Their employer, a goblin named Krillo, offers them all of the treasure that they find inside, and only asks to keep the relics and magic items. Can the heroes enter into Krillo’s Tomb and escape with their lives? There’s only one way to find out!

Yeah yeah, 5e on a Wednesday. My raging against the entropy is less successful than usual and I’m behind. I’ll do some OSR on Saturday.

I’m an open-minded person not an ossified old man. I’m an open-minded person not an ossified old man. I’m an open-minded person not an ossified old man.

This 34 page adventure has six “scenes” that compose the dungeon exploration. The core adventure is on about fourteen pages with the rest being pre-gens and a dwarven runic language treatise, as well as rules for a Stealth minigame. It’s not all together terrible for a newer game, but it is rather boring, with an emphasis on mechanics rather than en evocative environment. IF it were evocative then it would be a fairly normal 5e adventure. IE: straightforward.

Bob the goblin hires you, for 100gp, to go loot a tomb. He wants the magic and you keep the loot. Seems there’s a mercenary company of archeologists (!) on their way soon and he wants to loot the place before they arrive. He’ll give you 100 more gold if you do it non-violently! Yes, you have to stretch for the pretext. Yes, the nonviolence thing is fucking weird. Yes the tomb is strangely devoid of cash, you might get 300gp more in the tomb. For the sake of my own sanity I’m going to ignore all of that.

The scene thing is WEIRD. It’s like little set pieces. In scene one you are trying to sneak past the guards outside the tomb. There’s a little map with things to hide behind, and rules for sneaking and guards being on alert and spotting you. There are notes about the guards being helpful, and how they get annoyed and call for help. I’ve never played Metal Gear, but I suspect the designer has. This is straight out of “the stealth level’ in every video game every game that has one. It takes a page of text to describe the scene, ? to repeat the stealth rules in the appendix, ? to describe the general guard attitude, ? for the stat block, ? for the aftermath and seven sentences to describe where the seven guards are. Likewise for a mummy chase scene. It feels videogamey, with the blind mummy jumping from platform to platform and the party trying to be quiet. Not exactly a bad idea, but the focus on mechanics makes it feel like a videogame rather than a living breathing D&D adventure.

And it’s all written in this weirdly abstracted/generalized text style. “The north half of the left room has an altar in the center with an imprint of a laying dwarf carved in the center. Stone tables are covered with rolls of fresh bandages, and a series of empty clay jars. The roof is domed and covered with stone spikes that jet out.” Very fact based text. And that’s true of every encounter. In fact, A LOT of the encounters are like weird Grimtooth traps you’re trying to navigate, at least the Grimtooth “room” traps. Lots of elements and a convoluted mechanism.

Once of the scenes takes place between two other, when a door opens. While a big door opens a bunch of thieves come out from behind you and start blasting away at you. While the door opens. That’s the scene. Others are more like some weird Grimtooth room that you’re trying to navigate.

And then there’s the dwarf runes mini-game, with the party trying to decipher the runes in the tomb for clues. I’m not opposed to these sorts of things, in fact I think player puzzles can be fun. But this particular one seems more like the dwarven runic language being described and the party trying to figure out the entire thing. I could be wrong about this and it could be fine in AP.

As a Challenge Dungeon or tourney dungeon this might be ok. It’s hard to get past the focus on mechanics though. I wish it were more evocative. That might smooth over the mechanics and make it something to whip out for a D&D tourney.

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru, with a suggest price of $3. The preview is eight pages long and a good one, showing you the first three scenes. This includes the “sneak past the guards” scene, a “dungeon exploring” scene, and the thief/elf-bandit attack scene. Elf bandits attacking. Thematically, modern D&D is missing something.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/275492/Krillos-Tomb?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

ABC ANNOUNCES NEW PRIMETIME SCHEDULE FOR 2019-2020 SEASON

First Comics News - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 22:51

NEW YORK — In her inaugural upfront presentation as president of ABC Entertainment, Karey Burke unveiled a slate of programming for the 2019-2020 season that is bolstered by the strength of established, fan-favorite shows and captivating new programs energized by bold characters and storytelling.

There will be newcomers, notably Tiffany Haddish, and inevitable cancelations. But ABC said next season represents the lightest hand in more than a decade.

“Viewers love our shows and we are listening to the audience. So this year we’re not trying to jam them with too many messages and too many new shows to watch,” Burke said. Although ABC had a “tough” start last fall, she said, a ratings rebound since January justifies the approach.

“Going into next season, our priorities are stability and launching shows in a way our audience will know we are committed to them. Add to that some of the most buzzed-about titles and top talent of the recent pilot season, and we have an enviable combination that sets the stage for us to win with women and grow our overall reach,” she said.

That means nurturing the shows in place, such as long-time ABC successes “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Bachelor” and not “putting on something new for the sake of something new,” she said. A marketplace increasingly packed with streaming content is another reason to hold steady, Burke said.

Three new scripted series will debut in the fall – dramas “Emergence” and “Stumptown”; and the “black-ish” comedy spinoff “mixed-ish” – a remarkably fewer number, thanks to the consistent viewership that many of ABC’s current shows continue to offer.

In the current season, ABC claims six of the Top 20 broadcast entertainment shows, including two of the top four dramas – “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The Good Doctor” – and the No. 1 new comedy, “The Conners” – all of which will return in the fall.

“A Million Little Things,” which grew viewership following its move to Thursday nights and ranks No. 17 among the Top 20, will also return in the fall, along with the highly anticipated 11th and final season of one of TV’s most celebrated comedies, “Modern Family,” which rounds out ABC’s entries on the Top 20 list at No. 19.

Additionally, fan favorites “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “American Housewife,” “American Idol,” “The Bachelor,” “black-ish,” “Bless This Mess,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Fresh Off the Boat,” “The Goldbergs,” “How to Get Away with Murder,” “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” “The Rookie,” “Schooled,” “Shark Tank,” “Single Parents” and “Station 19” will return next season, as previously announced.

The midseason entries include the dramas “For Life,” about a prisoner seeking freedom for himself and others, with Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson among the producers, and “The Baker and the Beauty,” about the unlikely romance between a working man and a superstar.

The family comedy “United We Fall” also is on deck for midseason.

ABC’s fall prime-time schedule is as follows (all times listed are Eastern/Pacific). New shows are in bold.

MONDAY
8:00 p.m. “Dancing with the Stars”
10:00 p.m. “The Good Doctor”

TUESDAY

8:00 p.m. “The Conners”
8:30 p.m. “Bless This Mess” (new time)
9:00 p.m. “mixed-ish”
9:30 p.m. “black-ish” (new time)
10:00 p.m. “Emergence”

WEDNESDAY
8:00 p.m. “The Goldbergs”
8:30 p.m. “Schooled”
9:00 p.m. “Modern Family”
9:30 p.m. “Single Parents”
10:00 p.m. “Stumptown”

THURSDAY
8:00 p.m. “Grey’s Anatomy”
9:00 p.m. “A Million Little Things”
10:00 p.m. “How to Get Away with Murder”

FRIDAY
8:00 p.m. “American Housewife” (new day)
8:30 p.m. “Fresh Off the Boat” (new time
9:00 p.m. “20/20” (two hours)

SATURDAY
8:00 p.m. “Saturday Night Football”

SUNDAY
7:00 p.m. “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8:00 p.m. “Kids Say the Darndest Things”
9:00 p.m. “Shark Tank”
10:00 p.m. “The Rookie” (new day)

JIMMY AND OSCAR

The host of late-night’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” has signed on for three more years, Burke announced.

The new deal means that “we’ll be able to celebrate 20 years together with Jimmy,” she said.

He may not be required to rescue ABC from a repeat of this year’s no-host Oscars. When controversy drove Kevin Hart from the job, the ceremony failed to woo a replacement and let presenters carry the show.

Although Burke was noncommittal about 2020, she expressed satisfaction with the ceremony and its ratings.

“We’re extremely proud of how the show turned out creatively and how well it performed this year,” she said. “I think you’ll see us not messing with that formula, to the best of our abilities.”

Asked if that meant two-time Oscar host Kimmel wouldn’t be conscripted, Burke stopped short of ruling it out.

“I’m not being evasive. It’s something that the (motion picture) academy makes decisions about later in the year,” she said.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

WhatsApp fix goes live after targeted attack on human rights lawyer

Malwarebytes - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:46

If you use WhatsApp, you’ll want to update both app and device as soon as possible due to a freshly-discovered exploit. The vulnerability was found in Google Android, Apple iOS, and Microsoft Windows Phone builds of the app.

Unlike many mobile attacks, potential victims aren’t required to install or click on anything—they may not even be aware something malicious has taken place.

This attack came to light after CitizenLab suspected a human rights lawyer was being targeted, and after observing, deduced that they were, but the attacks were blocked by the fixes WhatsApp put in place.

We should stress these are smart, high-level attacks and not typically rolled out to target random people. No need to start panicking. Just apply fixes as required, and go about your day.

What typically happens with a mobile attack?

A large portion of mobile attacks usually involve some form of social engineering. Mobile manufacturers insist customers use their own closed ecosystem store to lessen the risk of becoming infected by something out in the wild.

For example, iPhone users can only download apps from iTunes. And Android devices have installs from third parties or unknown sources switched off by default. This means if your child ends up on a fake Angry Birds website offering up a bogus installer, they won’t be able to install the app because the device won’t allow it (unless you switched off the default settings).

While bad files can and do lurk on official mobile stores, ignoring unknown source installs definitely helps keep infection numbers down.

This sounds like a non-typical mobile hijack

That would definitely be the case.

The WhatsApp team worked out that a simple missed call was all it took to inject commercial spyware into the device. The call, made using WhatsApp’s voice call function, would lead to the infection being installed on the phone silently. It appears all record of the call log would be scrubbed too, so the victim wouldn’t even be aware something was amiss.

This is similar to how malware on the desktop will often delete files after the event to remain as stealthy as possible. When this happens, it can take a long time before someone realises what’s up. When they do, it’s usually too late, and the attackers have already reached their chosen objective.

What is the impact?

Whether your mobile device is used for something important or you do little beyond making calls, this exploit could do some serious damage. The spyware can scan messages and emails, alongside grabbing location data. Even if you think malware on your phone isn’t a big deal because you don’t do anything important on it, the attackers have something for everyone. Namely, the ability to turn on a phone’s microphone and camera, access photos, contacts, and more.

Given the stealthy way the attack was attempted, it’s impressive that WhatsApp caught it as quickly as they did. Engineers at Facebook have been busy sorting this one out over the weekend.

Is there an advisory?

There sure is. Named CVE-2019-3568, the advisory reads as follows:

Description: A buffer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp VOIP stack allowed remote code execution via specially crafted series of SRTCP packets sent to a target phone number.

Affected Versions: The issue affects WhatsApp for Android prior to v2.19.134, WhatsApp Business for Android prior to v2.19.44, WhatsApp for iOS prior to v2.19.51, WhatsApp Business for iOS prior to v2.19.51, WhatsApp for Windows Phone prior to v2.18.348, and WhatsApp for Tizen prior to v2.18.15.

Last Updated: 2019-05-13

What do we do now?

In a word, update. If your apps and devices are set to update automatically, you should be good to go. If not, go and update manually as soon as possible. As mentioned earlier, you probably shouldn’t worry about having been infected, as it seems to have been a carefully targeted attack. There’s an excellent chance you’re not on the radar.

In fact, if your updates aren’t set to automatic, your immediate concerns should be about more mundane security threats. Please consider switching to automatic and save yourself needless worries.

For more information on general mobile security, feel free to check out our guide to spotting mobile phishes, and some simple tips for good mobile hygiene. With that, plus Malwarebytes’ security apps for Android and iOS, you should be good to go.

The post WhatsApp fix goes live after targeted attack on human rights lawyer appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Days of May Sale

Lord of the Green Dragons - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:24
Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Days of May Sale: **OYEZ Friends & Fans! If a BARGAIN you seek to make, hurry to DAYS OF MAY SALE . Gold pieces you shall save, on ERKA Standard Edition ...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Red Book™ Line--Free PDF MAJOR UPDATE

Lord of the Green Dragons - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 16:23
Lake Geneva Original RPG Campaign: Red Book™ Line--Free PDF MAJOR UPDATE: Three Line Studio has posted a 10 page/1.1 meg PDF file as an Update and Proposed Product Line Map for the Red Book™ Line. Very Exciting! D...
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Exploit kits: spring 2019 review

Malwarebytes - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 15:57

Exploit kit activity remains fairly unchanged since our last winter review in terms of active distribution campaigns. But this spring edition will feature a new exploit kit and another atypical EK, in that it specifically goes after routers.

The main driver behind these drive-by download attacks are various malvertising chains with strong geolocation filtering. This explains why some exploit kits will be less visible than others.

According to our telemetry, the US is by far the country most affected by exploit kits, while Spain and South Korea are leading in Europe and Asia, respectively.

Spring 2019 overview
  • Spelevo EK
  • Fallout EK
  • Magnitude EK
  • RIG EK
  • Underminer EK
  • Router EK
Vulnerabilties

Internet Explorer’s CVE-2018-8174 and Flash Player’s CVE-2018-15982 are the most common vulnerabilities, while the older CVE-2018-4878 (Flash) is still used by some EKs.

Spelevo EK

Spelevo EK is a new exploit kit that was identified in March 2019 and features the most recent Flash exploit (CVE-2018-15982). Based on our internal tests, Spelevo’s Flash exploit will check for and avoid virtual machines before delivering its payload.

Payloads seen: PsiX Bot, IcedID

Fallout EK

Fallout EK is one of the more active exploit kits with some of the more intricate URI patterns. For a while, Fallout was loading its IE exploit via a GitHub PoC, but it eventually switched back to self-hosting.

Payloads seen: GandCrab, Raccoon Stealer, Baldr

Magnitude EK

Not a lot has changed for Magnitude EK during the past few months, as it continues to target a few Asia Pacific (APAC) countries, and exclusively drops its own Magniber ransomware.

Payload seen: Magniber ransomware

RIG EK

RIG EK is also one of the popular exploit kits enjoying a wide distribution via malvertising campaigns, such as Fobos. RIG still uses Flash’s CVE-2018-4878, which comes with its own artifacts.

Payloads seen: AZORult, Pitou, ElectrumDoSMiner

Underminer EK

Underminer EK is distinct from its counterparts for its overkill obfuscation of Internet Explorer and Flash exploits, but more importantly for its unorthodox Hidden Bee payload.

Payload seen: Hidden Bee

Router EK

Router exploit kits are not new (see DNSChanger EK), but they are quite dangerous, as they are part of drive-by attacks that alter your router’s DNS settings via cross-site request forgery (CSRF). The particular one we show here (Novidade) targets Brazilian users. The end goal is typically to redirect users to phishing websites with victims being none the wiser.

Payload seen: DNS changer

Mitigation

Malwarebytes users are protected against these exploits kits, thanks to our anti-exploit and web protection technologies. The animation below features Malwarebytes Endpoint Protection and Response, one of our business products, and shows how it blocks each of these attacks.

The post Exploit kits: spring 2019 review appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Strong Moral Dilemmas in D&D and the Unwanted Kind that Keeps Appearing

DM David - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 11:14

The best tales climax when the heroes must choose between what they’ve learned is right and an easy route to what they thought they wanted. In fiction, such moral dilemmas reveal character. When a woman who only ever wanted to be queen realizes that someone else is better suited to the throne, will she still take the crown?

Everyone who enjoys games such as Dungeons & Dragons likes making choices and seeing the outcomes. Many of those players also enjoy exploring and revealing their characters. So in roleplaying, moral problems may rank as the most interesting and most revealing. In the Dungeon magazine article, “Temptations and Dilemmas,” printed in issue 148, Wolfgang Baur writes about the joy of posing dilemmas. “They make the player really engage with their characters and the game world. Sweet sweet perfection: all you have to do is let the PCs wrangle about it for a while.”

Creating moral choices in D&D proves harder than creating similar dilemmas in stories. In fiction, moral choices often force characters to pick between what’s right and what’s easy. But D&D characters rarely make decisions alone. They face choices as a party, and these groups inevitably mix rogues and paladins.

More than popular classes, rogues and paladins represent two ways players often imagine their characters’ moral outlooks. These make popular character perspectives because they bring escapes from either the restrictions or the unfairness of modern life.

In our world, we often feel bound by rules and obligations. Playing a rogue who’s free from ethical burdens and who boasts the power to ignore rules feels exhilarating.

In our world, we see misdeeds rewarded, good people suffer, and too often we feel helpless to act. Playing a paladin with the strength to punish wrongdoers, help the deserving, and right wrongs feels rejuvenating.

Choices between right and easy inevitably split a party’s rogues and paladins.

“Assassins, poisoners, sneak thieves, death priests, drug smugglers, necromancers, diabolists, and warlocks make it tough for more heroic, lawful, or good characters to look away or condone their smuggling, sneaking, theft, magical abuses, and so on,” Wolfgang writes. “There’s a dilemma for the party every time a character crosses the line and does something that another, more moral character might find unforgivable.”

In D&D, rogues and paladins must find ways to work together or the game falls apart. “If you wind up with that one paladin singled out and forced to choose to compromise his character just to keep playing, you have a problem.” See A Roleplaying Game Player’s Obligation.

So in D&D, moral dilemmas must avoid posing an unsavory-but-easy solution as an option. Instead these problems must force players to weigh which of two, imperfect choices brings the most benefit—or the least corruption. In “5 Tips on How to Design Diabolical Dilemmas,” Johnn Four imagines starting the party with a simple job to capture a war criminal, and then adds moral complications. What if the players discover that the elderly criminal now repents by running an orphanage? If the players decide to take him to justice, what if they learn that the alleged crimes may have saved a village? Do the players still bring the man to execution? None of these choices make the adventure easier for players, but they all land the players in thorny dilemmas that reveal characters.

Johnn suggests developing moral dilemmas by starting with a simple choice and asking questions that help you imagine complications.

  • Who gets hurt?
  • Who escapes justice?
  • Who undeservedly benefits?

While moral dilemmas benefit the game, you can press too hard to create them. Players enjoy difficult choices in balance with uncomplicated situations where their power lets the good guys win. Often players use their ingenuity to solve a moral dilemma without any tough choices. Players savor those victories.

Even when DMs work to foster moral dilemmas, most D&D games only occasionally feature such situations. But one sort of quandary appears frequently, and it’s awful.

Blame co-creator Gary Gygax and his adventure The Keep on the Borderlands (1979). D&D’s first Basic Set included this adventure, so through the 80s, the keep easily ranked as the game’s most played scenario. In a reprint, D&D creative director Mike Mearls writes, “In its 32 pages, Keep on the Borderlands provides the clearest, most concise definition of D&D that you can find.” The keep showed countless dungeon masters how to create a D&D adventure, and mostly it set a good example.

What awful moral dilemma appears 8 times in this classic?

When Gary wrote the keep, he aimed to create an infestation of D&D’s various evil humanoids: kobolds, orcs, hobgoblins, gnolls, and lizard men. Gary favored applying some natural order to his imaginary world, which included various young monsters incapable of fighting.

After slaughtering the orcs’ parents, do you put their infants to the sword? As a player who favored the paladin type, I wanted to right wrongs, not debate whether to murder young. The rogue-types in the party would open the 1977 Monster Manual and point to the word “evil” beside a pig-faced monster, but I had no taste for the baby-orc dilemma. I want to smite evildoers, not kill helpless foes. I’m far from alone in that sentiment. Worse, young non-combatants appear in 8 of the keep’s locations, and then in the countless adventures that follow the keep’s example.

I recommend contriving situations that leave helpless foes out of reach. Instead of populating the Caves of Chaos with generations of humanoids, why not imagine war parties locked in a standoff?

Even though the baby-orc problem rates as something to avoid, other dilemmas can enrich the game. M.T. Black’s adventure The Lich Queen’s Begotten ends with an interesting variant on the question of whether to kill an innocent destined for evil. Both times I ran this adventure, a party of mixed paladin and rogue types chose to protect the innocent—not necessarily the easier choice. Both groups wanted a follow up adventure where they worked to thwart the innocent creature’s evil destiny.

That’s the sort of choice that makes heroes.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Talking Lovecraft with Zaklog the Great!

Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 04:37

Hey, y’all.

Did this show with Zaklog the Great last Friday. Enjoyed talking Lovecraft and Lord of the Rings and… these obnoxious people that poison your mind until you’d begin to think that your “beloved past had never been.”

Lovecraft writes three times that “there was no hand to hold me back that night I found the ancient track.” After mulling this whole scene over in light of the Boomerclypse we’re in the process of rolling back, I’ve concluded that there was in fact a hand there. The hand of wisdom!

I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.

There’s a horror story for you. Don’t let it happen to you!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

DIY Light-Up DC Teekeez Figures

Cryptozoic - Mon, 05/13/2019 - 20:16

With summer on the horizon, it's the perfect time to create your own Light-Up DC Teekeez!  These glowing collectibles are the ideal decorations to give those warm nights a tropical, fun vibe! You can watch the tutorial video, but also remember to read the full instructions below.  As always, remember to be safe!

 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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