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Cold Wind Whispering

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 10/09/2021 - 11:11
By Markus Lindermun Apes of Wrath OSR Level 4? Wjo knows.

A crying statue, missing children, a mad wizard, raging conflict and a sentient wind whispering words of madness …

This 68 page digest adventure features a seventeen encounter pointcrawl up the side of a wintery mountain, with a couple of small seven-ish room dungeons in a few of the locations. You can see what it is trying to do, but it just comes off as … static? 

I don’t really know what to say about this. It exists. It’s not great. It’s not insufferably bad. It’s just mediocre. (And, in my taxonomy, there’s no room for average.) I think I know why it is the way it is, and that’s what I’m going to talk about. Mostly.

First, though, the adventure. The usual assortment of “someone paid us to go here” hooks, along with a decent one: they say that a goddess sleeps at the top of the mountain and provides boons to those that awake her. They journey through hell (a frozen one, in this case) to seek knowledge is a classic one, and fairly easy to fit in to a campaign. So, up the pointcrawl mountain you go. Your decisions, right or left, are generally arbitrarily made and not toward some specific goal. Individual locations tend to give you a hint of the next location, but not your progress towards a goal. So “a trail leading in to a sense forest of red foliage, with a distant amber glow coming from deep inside it.” Ok, so, check that out I guess? It’s as good as any other choice. Red door or blue door, you choice is arbitrary.

Why is this different? What makes this different, say, then taking a right hand turn or a left hand turn in the dungeon? This choice. Also, is seemingly arbitrary. And yet, it feels different. In our usual exploratory dungeon adventure we have a reconnaissance in force: the party is loaded for bear and looking to fuck some shit up and get the ca$h. It IS an exploration and therefore the decisions are (almost) arbitrary when deciding right or left. But when an adventure is NOT an exploration, when there’s a goal, then we have different things needed. The mindsets have changed. I am looking for the lost valley; is this the way? I am making choices to help me find that, to accomplish my goal. In front of this we place the red door and the blue door. It is arbitrary. The decision is meaningless. Is there a place for this? Sure. But too much and our mindset and framing is lost to the “who really gives a fuck anymore?” cause. And this blog exemplief time and again, Apathy Kills. It doesn’t matter that left is the red forest with golden glow and right winds further in to the forest with a huge tree visible. I mean, piquing someones interest is good, but you need to feel like you are making progress also. Otherwise this is just a funhouse museum visit.

The individual encounters in this, taking a page or two each with the mini/lair dungeons taking a few more, engage in a couple of interesting sins. One is perhaps forgivable and the other NOT. 

First is that new sin, the inappropriate use of randomness. In several locations, when the party first enters, the DM is instructed to roll to determine what currently inhabits the area. This is not a superior way to describe an encounter. A randomly rolled encounter can not be integrated by the designer. The encounters next to it can not be influenced by it, in the text. It cannot be hinted at in the next room. It cannot be integrated in to the room text proper. It’s just The Town Square with some random monster standing in it. Yes, absolutely, emergent game play from randomness is totally a thing. But, I point you to Websters Unabridged Dictionary, again, as the model of perfection for this type of adventure. There’s not context to the encounter, either local or in the scope of the large adventure. Sure, “reroll on every subsequent visit” could be a thing. As could “roll on the wandering table on subsequent visits.” The role of the designer is not to ask the DM to roll, but rather to create an integrated environment that riffs off of everything. Inappropriate randomness doesn’t do that and is lazy design.

The second problem, though, is far far worse. Nothing is going on. I mean, NOTHING is going on. Oh, sure, there are places to visit. There are people to stab. There’s a machine to fuck with. But, overall, the general vibe is one of a static environment. There is not much, if any, dynacism to the environment or the individual encounters. “Hawk Meadows” is a perfect example of this. You’ve got tents, a shooting range and an aviary. They torture prisoners, worship a nihilistic god, and conduct lavish feasts.This is it. Their leader, 6th bastard of a 6th bastard, runs a tight ship, we’re told. But that’s just it. There is no inciting action. There is no tight ship to interact with. In spite of generalized hints, which I quoted above, there is nothing going on. If I just said “village of dudes who worship a nihilistic goddess” you’ve have as much to run the encounter as the half digest page provides the DM with. No sacrifice in progress, or prisoners in a cage. Nothing you WANT and not really anything that they want from you. (I guess you could infer “dinner”?) It’s just this static place. And this happens times and time again in the adventure. We get some hint of something. A spaceship. Refugees. A buried statue. But, all we get is that thing. There’s nothing actually going ON with it. Not much to explore or interact with. Over and over and over again. Yet another giant buried statue. The encounters don’t have a disposition to them. There’s a passiveness to everything. 

This robs the adventure. Everything is supposed to be connected, for the most part. THings in one area relating to things in another. Instead it all just comes across as individual THINGS in individual PLACES. There’s very little cross-pollination. There’s very little motivation in the individual encounters. The malaise of existence comes back to you, instead of being driven off by bread and circuses. Sysyphsus fails, time and again. 

This is $10 at DriveThru. The preview is nine pages, but you don’t get to see any of the encounters. Boo! Boo I saw, Sir!


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/353958/Cold-Wind-Whispering?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Doctor Who’s Social Media Deleted?!

Blogtor Who - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 22:43

Doctor Who enters a mystery social media blackout ahead of Series 13, but what does it all mean? Following a cryptic tweet reading “++ Can you hear me?! ++” the official Doctor Who Twitter account, @bbcdoctorwho vanished this evening. Users were left with errors saying that the account no longer existed. In fact it wasn’t […]

The post Doctor Who’s Social Media Deleted?! appeared first on Blogtor Who.

Categories: Doctor Who Feeds

“Draw the Animated Nexus” with bonus “Thuneworld” ashcan!

First Comics News - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 22:06

Master artist Steve Rude shows how to draw Nexus the animated way! Bonus crowdfunding EXCLUSIVE “Return to Thuneworld” ashcan.

Spiral bound for easy drawing board access!

This volume of “How-to draw Nexus” was first published in 2006, as a way to promote my longtime goal of seeing Nexus as an animated series.

With this new expanded edition, along with it’s modified title of “How-to Draw the Animated Nexus”, you’ll see many of the same model sheets from the previous volume, now in color, with added comments as to their creation, the same spiral bound format to make drawing from it easier, and the many new additions fresh off the animation table. With so much added to realize my one-day goal of a Nexus animated series, we thought a new expanded edition would be the way to go.

To date there is no TV series. And if there ever is…? My two minutes of completed animation along with model sheets, layouts and storyboards contained in this book would certainly be the blueprint for it.

Ever forward,

Steve Rude

BOOK SPECS
  • Royal Blue plastic spiral binding for durability and easy drawing board access
  • Clear vinyl cover and royal blue vinyl backing for added protection
  • 110 pages
  • 8½” x 11″
“Nexus Newspaper Strips Vol 2: RETURN TO THUNEWORLD” Ashcan EXCLUSIVE to Kickstarter & Indiegogo. This collectors edition ashcan will feature the first installment of “Return to Thuneworld”, and will include:
  •  Some inked and some penciled pages depending on where Steve is with the page
  • Script pages which includes pages not found within the story
  • Introduction by Steve Rude
  • Bonus pages including giving you a look into the process of creating a comic book page.

STEVE IS WRITING, PENCILING, LETTERING AND INKING THIS MASSIVE BOOK!

BOOK SPECS
  • 8½” x 11″
  • 40 pages (page count approximate)
  • Color cover and black and white interior
  • 100# cover stock, 70# interior stock (GOOD QUALITY PAPER)
  • Acid free, archival safe
  • Saddle stitch binding (stapled)
EXAMPLE OF A SINGLE PAGE IN STAGES

Kickstarter.com

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Firefox reveals sponsored ad “suggestions” in search and address bar

Malwarebytes - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 21:54

Mozilla is trying a novel experiment into striking a balance between ad revenue generation and privacy protection by implementing a new way to deliver ads in its Firefox web browser—presenting them as “suggestions” whenever users type into the dual-use search and URL address bar.

The advertising experiment lies within a feature called “Firefox Suggest,” which was announced in September. According to Mozilla, Firefox Suggest “serves as a trustworthy guide to the better web, finding relevant information and sites to help you accomplish your goals.”

Much like other browsers, Firefox already offers users a bevy of suggestions depending on what they type into the search and address bar. That has included suggestions based on users’ bookmarks, browser histories, and their open tabs. But with the new Firefox Suggest feature, users will also receive suggestions from, according to Mozilla, “other sources of information such as Wikipedia, Pocket articles, reviews, and credible content from sponsored, vetted partners and trusted organizations.”

Though the explanation seems simple, the implementation is not.

That’s because there appear to be two different levels of suggestions for Firefox Suggest, which are only referred to by Mozilla as “Contextual suggestions,” and “improved results for Contextual Suggestions.”

On its support page for Firefox Suggest, Mozilla explicitly said that “contextual suggestions are enabled by default, but improved results through data sharing is only enabled when you opt-in.” That data sharing, covered in more detail below, broadly includes user “location, search queries, and visited sites,” Mozilla said.

How that additional data produces separate results, however, is unclear, because Mozilla remains frustratingly vague about the experience that users can expect if they have the default “contextual suggestions” enabled compared to users who have opted-in to “improved results for Contextual Suggestions.”

Under the heading “What’s on by default,” Mozilla said that, starting with Firefox version 92, users “will also receive new, relevant suggestions from our trusted partners based on what you’re searching for. No new types of data are collected, stored, or shared to make these new recommendations.”

Under the heading, “Opt-in Suggestions,” however, Mozilla only said that a “new type of even smarter” suggestion is being presented for some users that the company hopes will “enhance and speed up your searching experience.” Mozilla said that it “source[s] and partner[s] with trusted providers to serve up contextual suggestions related to your query from across the web,” which sounds confusingly similar to the default contextual suggestions that come from the company’s “trusted partners” and are “based on what you’re searching for.”

Fortunately, Mozilla offered a way for users to check if they’ve opted-in to the data sharing required for improved contextual suggestions. Unfortunately, when Malwarebytes Labs installed the latest version of Firefox (93.0 for MacOS), we could not find the exact language described in Mozilla’s support page.

Mozilla said that, for those who go into Firefox’s preferences:

“If you see ‘Contextual suggestions’ checked with the string ‘Firefox will have access to your location, search queries, and visited sites’, you have opted in. If you do not see that label then the default experience is enabled with no new kinds of data sharing.”

As shown in the image below, though we did find this setting in Firefox’s preferences, we did not find the exact language about “location, search queries, and visited sites.”

When Malwarebytes Labs tested Firefox Suggest, we could not produce any sponsored content results. We did, however, receive a Wikipedia suggestion on our search of “Germany” and a Firefox Pocket suggestion on our search of “chicken soup,” as shown below.

During our testing, we also could not find a way to opt-in to improved contextual suggestions. According to Mozilla, opting-in seems to currently rely on a notification message from Firefox asking users to specifically agree to sharing additional data. During our testing of Firefox Suggest, we did not receive such a message.

New model, new data

Firefox’s experiment represents a sort of double-edged sword of success.

In 2019, Mozilla decided to turn off third-party tracking cookies by default in its then-latest version of Firefox. It was a bold move at the time, but just months later, the privacy-forward browser Brave launched out of beta with similar anti-tracking settings turned on by default, and in 2020, Safari joined the anti-tracking effort, providing full third-party cookie blocking.

The anti-tracking campaign seems to have largely worked, as even Google has contemplated life after the third-party cookie, but this has put privacy-forward browsers in a difficult position. Advertising revenue can be vital to browser development, but online advertising is still rooted firmly in surreptitious data collection and sharing—the very thing these browsers fight against.

For its part, Brave has responded to this problem with its own advertising model, offering “tokens” to users who opt-into advertisements that show up as notifications when using the browser. The tokens can be used to tip websites and content creators. Similar to Mozilla, Brave also vets the companies who use its advertising platform.

As to the role of advertising partners in Firefox Suggest, Mozilla said it attempts to limit data sharing as much as possible. “The data we share with partners does not include personally identifying information and is only shared when you see or click on a suggestion,” Mozilla said.

To run improved suggestions, Mozilla does need to collect new types of data, though. According to the company’s page explaining that data collection:

“Mozilla collects the following information to power Firefox Suggest when users have opted in to contextual suggestions.

  • Search queries and suggest impressions: Firefox Suggest sends Mozilla search terms and information about engagement with Firefox Suggest, some of which may be shared with partners to provide and improve the suggested content.
  • Clicks on suggestions: When a user clicks on a suggestion, Mozilla receives notice that suggested links were clicked.
  • Location: Mozilla collects city-level location data along with searches, in order to properly serve location-sensitive queries.”

Based on the types of data Mozilla collects for improved contextual suggestions, we might assume that users who opt-in will see, at the very least, suggestions that have some connection to their location, like perhaps sponsored content for an auto shop in their city when they’re looking up oil changes. The data on a user’s suggestion clicks might also help Mozilla deliver other suggestions that are similar to the clicked suggestions, as they may have a higher success rate with a user.

As to whether the entire experiment works? It’s obviously too early to tell, but in the meantime, Mozilla isn’t waiting around to generate some cash. Just this year, the company released a standalone VPN product. It is the only product that Mozilla makes that has a price tag.

The post Firefox reveals sponsored ad “suggestions” in search and address bar appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

SECOND COMING: ONLY BEGOTTEN SON #6 preview

First Comics News - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 21:34

SECOND COMING: ONLY BEGOTTEN SON #6
(W) Mark Russell
(A) Richard Pace, Leonard Kirk
(C) Richard Pace
SEASON FINALE of the book The Hollywood Reporter calls “a surprisingly subtle and sensitive exploration of faith, hero worship, and the way both exist in today’s popular culture.” Stung by a painful failure, Jesus contemplates quitting Earth and moving back to Heaven. Meanwhile, an old enemy attacks Sunstar as Sheila goes into labor.
All AHOY titles feature bonus prose stories and illustrations.
October 13, 2021
$3.99

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Karl the Viking

First Comics News - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 21:19

A sweeping historical fantasy. Stunning art from one of British comics’ undisputed masters. The collection of Don Lawrence’s stunning Karl the Viking is now available for review.

Following its best-selling reprints of his The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire series, the Treasury of British Comics is bringing one of master artist Don Lawrence’s most popular and enduring comic book strips back into print.

The paperback collection from the Treasury of British Comics will be published in January 2022.

The work by Lawrence, whose work on Trigan Empire revolutionised painted comic art, on these fast-paced and enthralling stories represents not just a classic of British comic books but also the pinnacle of black and white comic book art.

Originally serialised in the pages of Lion in the 1960s, this is the story of Karl – born a Saxon but orphaned when his father dies fighting Viking raiders. Impressed by his fallen foe’s bravery, the Viking leader Eingar adopts Karl as his own and raises him to be a mighty and noble warrior.

When he comes of age, Karl succeeds Eingar and leads his tribe on wild adventures across the world, from the continent that what would one day be called America, to Egypt and even Atlantis!

in Britain, battling against wild tribes of Picts, Karl discovers with his old Saxon family, gaining an ally in his cousin Godwulf, and making an enemy of the Earl of Eastumbria!

Created by Lawrence and writer Ken Bulmer, Karl the Viking debuted in Lion in October 1960 as Sword of Eingar, which followed chieftain Karl and his rival Skurl both having pledged to recover a weapon stolen by a Saxon lord, Earl Gyrth of Eastumbria. Karl’s popularity saw the strip continue after the end of his quest – now retitled Karl the Viking – for four years until September 1964.

Extensively reprinted in Europe for many years, so strong was the series that it regularly enjoyed a new lease of life years after it finished. It was commonly believed in British comics publishing that a title’s readership would grow out of comics and be replaced by a new audience about every four or five years, so in 1966 a series of reprints of Karl’s early adventures began in Lion – but he was renamed ‘Rolf’ and the strip was re-titled Swords of the Sea Wolves. Karl’s stories made another appearance, under the title Eric the Viking, in Smash! a few years later.

ISBN: 9781786184627
Publication date: 20 January (UK) 15 February (US)
Paperback, with limitied edition hardcover available from the Treasury of British Comics webshop
Price: £19.99 (limited ed. hardcover £35)
Page count: 240

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

CHILLING ADVENTURES IN SORCERY #1 preview

First Comics News - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 21:09

CHILLING ADVENTURES IN SORCERY #1 (ONE SHOT)
THE FUTURE OF ARCHIE COMICS STARTS HERE IN AN ALL-NEW ANTHOLOGY-STYLE ONE-SHOT! Madam Satan is our tour guide into this horrific world exploring the underbelly of Riverdale and its surrounding areas! Madam Satan is trying to escape Hell. She goes through the circles of Hell in reverse. Along the way she meets lost/tortured souls who tell their stories—like that of Archie Andrews, who accepted a seemingly normal job as the nighttime security shift at Riverdale’s local pizzeria and children’s mascot entertainment venue. Only to learn that the venue harbors a deep, dark, robotic, monstrous secret! And then there’s Jughead Jones, a teen who never met a food he didn’t like. Until now. What is that eerie noise coming from the kitchen…? All that plus more bonus frightful content sure to delight all Archie horror fans!
Script: Eliot Rahal, Amy Chu, Evan Stanley
Art: Vincenzo Federici, Derek Charm, Evan Stanley, Pat and Tim Kennedy, Matt Herms, Jack Morelli
Main Cover: Julius Ohta
Variant Cover: Francesco Francavilla
On Sale Date: 11/3
32-page, full color comic
$3.99 U.S.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

THE KURT BUSIEK UNIVERSE COMES TO IMAGE COMICS WITH NEW ARROWSMITH, ASTRO CITY & MORE IN 2022

First Comics News - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 21:08

PORTLAND, Ore. 10/08/2021 — Kurt Busiek, the bestselling writer of Avengers, Superman, Thunderbolts, Iron Man, JLA, and more, is returning to Image in a big way in 2022, with new entries in fan-favorite series, including Astro City, Arrowsmith and others, plus new creations and more, as he brings his creator-owned work to Image Comics as his primary publisher.

“I’m thrilled to be back at Image and glad to be working with Eric Stephenson and the whole crew here,” said Busiek. “Image is the best comics publisher for creator-owned work, so it’s very nice to be bringing my books together here, where they can be available as a group, supported by the team here—and sitting alongside such great series as Saga, The Walking Dead, Criminal, Savage Dragon and so many more. And not just because Image is only about twenty minutes from where I live, so I can actually drop by the place, once the pandemic is in the rearview. My creative partners and I are looking forward to a having a home for the work we’re doing now and lots of new ideas to come.”

Chief Creative Officer and Publisher at Image Comics, Eric Stephenson, is just as excited Kurt is making the move to Image. “When I was editing comics for Extreme Studios back in the ’90s, one of my big regrets was that I couldn’t close the deal on getting Kurt Busiek to write Supreme, so working with Kurt to make Image the home for all of his creator-owned work—from Astro City to Arrowsmith to Autumnlands and more—has been nothing short of a thrill. In addition to being one of comics’ finest writers, Kurt is also a magnet for equally talented artists, and we couldn’t be happier to see the Image ‘i’ on work by the likes of Carlos Pacheco, Brent Anderson, Alex Ross, Ben Dewey, Stephen Mooney, Jordie Bellaire, and Alex Sinclair.”

First up, Busiek and superstar artist Carlos Pacheco (Fantastic Four, Avengers Forever, Final Crisis, X-Men, Superman) bring fans the much-anticipated return of Arrowsmith in Arrowsmith: Behind Enemy Lines. This six issue miniseries launches from Image Comics in January 2022—followed in February by an oversized, fully re-mastered hardcover collected edition of the original series.

In March, Arrowsmith will be joined by the return of Astro City, Busiek’s collaboration with Brent Anderson, Alex Ross, and Alex Sinclair, first with an Astro City one-shot special introducing new characters and setting the stage for upcoming dangers for the city and the world, plus new collected editions that will make the entire Astro City backlist available again.

Longtime fans will also be treated to a new urban-fantasy graphic novel, The Gods on Sunday Morning, from the whole Astro City team, after which they begin a new ongoing run on the acclaimed series.

Also in the works is Free Agents, a new series launch from Busiek with co-writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Stephen Mooney and the return of Autumnlands from Busiek with Benjamin Dewey and Jordie Bellaire, all planned for late 2022.

In addition to all the exciting new content from the mind of Busiek, there will also be re-releases of his popular backlist gems like Shockrockets and Superstar: As Seen on TV, both with Stuart Immonen, Wade von Grawbadger and Jeromy Cox, and The Wizard’s Tale with David Wenzel.

In the upcoming Arrowsmith: Behind Enemy Lines, it’s World War I—but a war of wizards and dragons as much as bullets and barbed wire. Young airman Fletcher Arrowsmith plunges back into the heat of war—and finds himself behind enemy lines, facing a threat that could doom the Allied Powers. Old friends and new favorites will appear, and the world of Arrowsmith will be deepened, as previously-secret history and machinations are revealed.

For the re-mastered hardcover, Arrowsmith: So Smart In Their Fine Uniforms, readers are introduced to young Fletcher Arrowsmith who learns the true cost of war in an alternate history where dragons and magic spells are as much a part of World War I as bullets and barbed wire. This edition, deluxe-sized and in hardcover for the first time, will present the art as Pacheco originally intended, and will feature ancillary material about the creation and history of Arrowsmith.

Of the return of Arrowsmith, Busiek said: “Stepping back into this universe at long last, and writing these characters again feels like coming home, and visiting with old friends—admittedly, old friends we do dangerous, stressful things to in the name of adventure. And the art, by Carlos, Rafael, and Jose, is just astounding. Arrowsmith fans have been very patient, but have never been shy about letting us know they want more—and I can’t wait for them to see both the new series and the re-mastered original in the kind of hardcover edition we think it deserves.”

Carlos Pacheco added: “It seems like only yesterday Kurt and I were dreaming of creating a book about WWI and magic. It’s been a long trip since then. We kept hoping to bring the world of Arrowsmith back to life, but the stars didn’t line up properly until now. And maybe the stars didn’t help, but the readers have. I feel like we’ve had an unwritten agreement with all the people who’ve supported Fletcher and Hilda since the day they both took flight, and pushed us to bring them back. We’re very happy to say here they are, after all these years.”

“It’s also wonderful to be back in the world of Astro City,” said Busiek. “Alex, Brent, and I have been planning this for a long time—we’re introducing a teen-hero team, The Jayhawks (and more), in the special, and setting off a mystery as important to Astro City as what happened to the Silver Agent or the story of the Broken Man. Alex has designed a cornucopia of new characters, and Brent is going to town on the artwork. It’ll be a very fun ride—and yes, longtime readers, we will get to the story of the N-Forcer, I promise! Plus, I think The Gods on Sunday Morning will be a treat, both for Astro City readers and others. It’s a standalone urban fantasy graphic novel about a group of long-forgotten gods in the world today, taking a similar approach to fantasy as what Brent, Alex, and I have done with superheroes, and it’s looking just gorgeous.”

Artist Brent Anderson added: “Twenty-seven years ago Kurt Busiek offered me the chance-of-a-lifetime to co-create an entire universe filled with super-powered heroes, crazy villains, wizards, sorcerers, mad geniuses, monsters of all stripes, and extraterrestrial aliens, a universe the center of which is Astro City. Originally published by Image in 1995, these are comic book stories I am proud to see on my bookshelves, and I look forward to creating many more. Like I said, chance-of-a-lifetime! Over the years, Kurt has asked me to draw several non-Astro City stories—The Spirit, Green Lantern, the Avengers, but the most recent is The Gods on Sunday Morning, an excitingly original graphic novel published exclusively through Image Comics by Kurt Busiek. Drawing it made me feel young again.”

On future projects, Busiek said: I can’t wait to start telling you about what’s coming for Dusty and Learoyd in Autumnlands, what the Free Agents are all about, and beyond. We’ve been cooking up a lot, and it’s great to finally get to see it becoming a reality.”

Ben Dewey said of Autumnlands, “Kurt is one of my favorite creators. He can invent captivating stories that have a grand, high-concept cosmological scale or get a reader deeply invested in the details of a simple fireside conversation between two regular people. He understands characters and why we love or despise them. His work is proof that comics can be magical.”

“Working with him on Autumnlands pushed me to be my best and it’s a world that has many exciting frontiers ready to be explored. When it returns I think it’ll be just as big a challenge for me as it was when we started off because the scale of the world demands it. I treasure every project I’ve gotten to work on with Kurt; as his collaborator there’s always opportunities to learn more about the craft of storytelling in comics. He never fails to inspire me with his boundless  imagination, enthusiasm and wit. I’m a fan and I’m looking forward to seeing what new worlds he’s going to show us. I’m lucky because I get to see them first!”

“Kurt and I have always had fun working together,” said Fabian Nicieza. “I’ve been waiting 30 damn years to have an Image book! Free Agents hits all our strengths and sweet spots, and Stephen and Tamra only add to my excitement.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining such a top-notch team,” added Stephen Mooney. “Kurt and Fabian put together some incredible concepts, and I’m eager to show what Tamra and I can bring to the party. Teaming up with Image again just makes it all the sweeter.”

Arrowsmith: Behind Enemy Lines #1 will be available at comic book shops on Wednesday, January 19:

Arrowsmith: So Smart In Their Fine Uniforms (Diamond Code: NOV210098, ISBN: 978-1-5343-2206-6) will be available on Wednesday, February 23 and in bookstores on Tuesday, March 1. It can be pre-ordered at your local comic book shop or independent bookstore or via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Indigo.

Busiek’s upcoming releases will all also be available for purchase across many digital platforms, including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Google Play.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Asylum Press announces Halloween Horror Box Kickstarter

First Comics News - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 20:55

Los Angeles, Ca—Asylum Press announces the launch of Halloween Horror Box,  a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter that offers regular and variant covers to a selection of all-new horror comics. The titles include: Vampire Macabre: Halloween Special #1,  Zombie Terrors: Halloween Special #1, EEEK!: Halloween Special #1,  Asylum of Horrors: Halloween Special #1 and Vampires: Halloween Special #1. Asylum Press brings you a horrific blood thirsty collection of all-new horror comics featuring an international cast of artistic talent.

These titles each feature Kickstarter exclusive covers that include NSFW “naughty” Covers by Frank Forte, Jason Paulos and Edu Menna, Metal covers, and a cover illustration by artist Skinner for Vampires: Halloween Special #1.

Add-ons include many titles from the Asylum Press backlist such as: Asylum of Horrors, Insidious Tales, Warlash, Zombie Terrors TPB, Satan’s Powder Room, Satan Gone Wild, Chicken Soup for Satan and more!

Stretch Goals include two 2-sided promo posters for Vampire Macabre and Zombie Terrors and more to be announced.

Halloween Horror Box Kickstarter can be found here: Kickstarter.com

Vampire Macabre: Halloween Special #1
(W) Frank Forte (A) Edu Menna, MoraMike, Frank Forte (CA) Aly Fell
Asylum Press brings you a horrific blood thirsty collection of all-new vampire tales featuring an international cast of artistic talent. Frank Forte and Edu Menna deliver “Blood Wine” where a con artist dealing in bootlegged vintage wine gets his comeuppance from an elder statesman of the sanguine. In “Red Moon” a young woman tests her desires against a hipster rock star who has a dark secret, illustrated by MoraMike. In “Marked by the Beast” we delve into the life of a vampire servant who desperately wants to be a creature of the night by Frank Forte. And lastly, we introdece “NOSFEROTIKA” – a vampire queen who’s lust for blood and the sins of the flesh knows no bounds. A must for all vampire fans!

Vampires: Halloween Special #1
(W) Steve Banes (A) Lou Cameron, Dick Beck, George Klein (CA) John Celardo, Frank Forte, Skinner
Features exclusive Kickstarter only covers by Skinner. Illustrator Skinner has contributed a cover illustration that will be featured in a regular and metal cover edition.
Sink your teeth into October’s horrifically haunted Halloween one-shot special It’s sure to drain the ever-livin’ life out of you – or at least drive you batty! Editor/host Mr. Karswell returns with yet another creepy, creaking castle literally swarming with vicious pre-Code vampires! Featuring rarely seen blood sucker classics from the gory Golden Age of comics, highlighting the spine-chilling art of Lou Cameron, Dick Beck, George Klein, and more! Featuring the classic tales: “Vampire’s Bite,” “One Door from Disaster,” and “Vampire Castle.” Featuring vintage comic book ads and commentary by host Mr. Karswell.

Asylum of Horrors: Halloween Special #1
(W) Frank Forte (A) Frank Forte, Pablo Alvarez (CA) Aly Fell
The Halloween Special! The inmates at the Asylum bring you a new breed of haunted horror. This anthology features 4 stories from some of the best horror writers and artists in the industry. In “She-Wolf” by Pablo Alvarez, a fantastic medieval monster hunter warrior crosses paths with a young werewolf and his mother. In “Mutanza” by Frank Forte, a mad doctor finds new horror in his experiments. Plenty of creep, gore and twists for fans of horror comics old and new.

Zombie Terrors: Halloween Special #1
(W) Frank Forte, Timothy Bacon, Brian Quinn (A) Frank Forte, Timothy Bacon, Brian Quinn (CA) Aly Fell
Asylum Press brings you a giant flesh rotting collection of all-new zombie tales, featuring an international cast of artistic talent. Dwayne Harris brings us “Recluse” where an old man living in a cabin in the woods thinks he’s prepared for the zombie apocalypse, but nothing could prepare him for the bite of a recluse spider turning him into a creature of the undead. Timothy E. Bacon delivers “Zombie Panic” – in a post nuclear future, a man tries to evade a horde of the Walking Dead. But they may not be as dead as they seem. “Abomination Dead” is written and Illustrated by Frank Forte. Brain Quinn writes and draws a zombie tale of feudal Japan entitled “Kowai.” An amazing horrorific collection for the Halloween reader!

EEEK!: Halloween Special #1
(W) Jason Paulos (A/CA) Jason Paulos
The Halloween Special! Three brand new tales of Halloween and horror madness from the twisted mind of Jason Paulos. This retro-style anthology of horror tales is guaranteed to satisfy your need for creep and gore. In “Death Wears Hotpants,” a cocktail waitress is in for an appalling surprise when she finds out her new boss has an inkling for all things Satanic! “The Green Fairy” tells the tale of a failed artist who indulges too deep in the elixir known as absinthe, when a sexy succubus appears before him, his life takes a dramatic turn, but is it for the worse? EEEK features short tales of terror that will send chills down your spine!

“I’m very excited to be working with an amazing array of talent for this book,” explains creator and publisher Frank Forte, “this collection will arrive just in time for the Halloween horror madness!”

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

Your First Look at LaToya Morgan’s DARK BLOOD #4

First Comics News - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 20:41

Discover the Dangerous Costs to Clear Avery’s Name in Highly Acclaimed New Series in October 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA (October 8, 2021) – BOOM! Studios today revealed a first look at DARK BLOOD #4, the next issue of an evocative new six-issue original series from screenwriter LaToya Morgan (AMC’s The Walking Dead, Into The Badlands), rising star artist Moisés Hidalgo (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), colorist A.H.G., and letterer AndWorld Design, about a young man forging a brave new future for himself and his family while dealing with his past, available in October 2021.

Can Avery clear his name and find out what’s really happening to him? On the run, Avery must elude the cops for the accidental death that he’s sure to be blamed for. Theo, Avery’s brother, tries to convince him to explain that it wasn’t his fault, but Avery is skeptical that the authorities will believe a Black man… and terrified at the possible truth behind the incident.

DARK BLOOD #4 features main cover art by acclaimed artist Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet), and variant covers by illustrators Juni Ba (Excellence) and Jonboy Meyers (Spawn).

DARK BLOOD is the newest release from BOOM! Studios’ eponymous imprint, home to critically acclaimed original series, including BRZRKR by Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt, and Ron Garney; We Only Find Them When They’re Dead by Al Ewing and Simone Di Meo; Seven Secrets by Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo; Something is Killing the Children by James Tynion IV and Werther Dell’Edera; Once & Future by Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora; Proctor Valley Road by Grant Morrison, Alex Child, and Naomi Franquiz; The Many Deaths of Laila Starr by Ram V and Filipe Andrade; and Eve by Victor LaValle and Jo Mi-Gyeong. The imprint also publishes popular licensed properties, including Dune: House Atreides from Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, and Dev Pramanik; Mighty Morphin and Power Rangers from Ryan Parrott, Marco Renna, and Francesco Mortarino; and Magic from Jed McKay and Ig Guara.

Print copies of DARK BLOOD #4 will be available for sale on October 27, 2021 exclusively at local comic book shops (use comicshoplocator.com to find the one nearest you) or at the BOOM! Studios webstore. Digital copies can be purchased from content providers, including comiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Kindle.  

For continuing news on DARK BLOOD and more from BOOM! Studios, stay tuned to boom-studios.com and follow @boomstudios on Twitter.

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

THE MURDERER IS REVEALED AND THE FATE OF MARVEL MAGIC IS DECIDED IN THE STUNNING CONCLUSION OF DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE!

First Comics News - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 20:38

The finale of Jed MacKay’s DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE saga arrives in January

 

New York, NY— October 8, 2021 — Last week, fans witnessed the shocking murder of the Marvel Universe’s Sorcerer Supreme in DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE #1! Written by Jed MacKay with art by Lee Garbett, DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE will be a five issue epic that explores the mystery behind Strange’s demise and introduces the dangerous new threats that emerge when Earth is left without its’ fierce mystical protector. The final issue of the series will arrive in January where the murderer’s identity will be revealed!

 

The Marvel Universe stands at the brink of destruction and the deadly new trio of villains, the Three Mothers and their master, the Peregrine Child, are about to claim victory. Will Strange’s murderer have the last laugh? It all comes down to one last trick from the young, time-traveling Doctor Strange. MacKay, now signed as an exclusive writer for Marvel Comics, promises that this final chapter will open the door to an exciting future for Doctor Strange and Marvel’s magical heroes.

 

“The Death of Doctor Strange will be reaching its conclusion at #5, but it’s end will be the beginning for a whole new set of stories on the magic side of the Marvel universe,” MacKay said. “The ups and downs of its five-month run have been a treasure to work on, but the folks at Marvel have been filling my pockets more exciting projects coming down the pike in the future, so stay tuned!”

 

Also coming in January will be DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE: BLOODSTONE. Written by Tini Howard, currently redefining mutant magic in the pages of EXCALIBUR, with art by Ig Guara, this tie-in one shot will star the Bloodstone family.

 

Who better to defend Earth from magical invaders than monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone? Elsa is the best there is at what she does — tough, skilled and clever enough to handle any problem…except her brother, Cullen. The siblings will have to put their issues aside not only to protect Earth but also to welcome the latest addition to the Bloodstone clan: their long-lost SISTER! Her awesome set of powers and unique Blood gem have placed a target on her back, and the worst horrors from beyond this realm are on the hunt.

 

Check out the cover of DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE #5 and DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE: BLOODSTONE #1 as well as a complete event checklist and the fully revealed DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE #4 cover. Don’t miss the end of this definitive chapter in the Doctor Strange mythos this January!

 

 

On Sale 1/12

DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE: BLOODSTONE #1

Written by TINI HOWARD

Art by IG GUARA

Cover by DAVID NAKAYAMA

 

On Sale 1/26

DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE #5 (OF 5)

Written by JED MACKAY

Art by LEE GARBETT

Cover by KAARE ANDREWS

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

JOURNEY ACROSS WOLVERINE’S PAST AND MUTANTKIND’S FUTURE IN X LIVES OF WOLVERINE AND X DEATHS OF WOLVERINE!

First Comics News - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 19:09

Benjamin Percy, Joshua Cassara, Federico Vicentini, and Adam Kubert launch the biggest Wolverine story of all time this January

 

New York, NY— October 8, 2021 — Past and future will collide in Benjamin Percy’s X LIVES OF WOLVERINE and X DEATHS OF WOLVERINE, two interlocking new X-Men series debuting this January. In the same way Jonathan Hickman’s HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X transformed the mutant mythos in 2019, these twin series will usher in The Second Krakoan Age of X-Men, releasing on an alternate weekly schedule, starting with X LIVES OF WOLVERINE #1 on January 5. Having been the character’s chief storyteller for the past few years across media including scripted Marvel podcasts, X-FORCE, and WOLVERINE’s current ongoing series, Percy is ready to tell the next Wolverine milestone alongside Marvel Stormbreaker Joshua Cassara and kinetic artist Federico Vicentini. With covers by legendary Wolverine artist Adam Kubert, X LIVES OF WOLVERINE and X DEATHS OF WOLVERINE will kickstart the new year with bold revelations and exciting developments not just for Logan but for all of mutantkind.

 

Logan. James Howlett. Weapon X. The mutant best known as Wolverine has lived many lives under many identities and in many places, but never before has the fate of the future been so entwined with the past! Fan-favorite eras of Wolverine’s saga are explored anew, along with never-before-seen episodes as Logan must travel to various points in time to prevent the death of a key figure in mutant history. But these lives are only one side of the story… If Wolverine’s future lies in the past, what does that mean for the present?

 

No one is safe. The future is at stake. The only certainty in life is DEATH and WOLVERINE.

 

“I’m going to make a bold statement: I set out to write the greatest Wolverine story ever told,” Percy told Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive interview. “I’m not trying to belittle previous creators when I say that. The opposite. I’m trying to honor them. When we reveal the expansive scope — and legacy elements — of the project, you’ll understand what I mean. We’re creating a definitive platform that channels all the Wolverine stories that came before, while shredding our way into a wild future.”

 

Be here for the start of this epic tale across all of Wolverine’s history and future yet to come when X LIVES OF WOLVERINE and X DEATHS OF WOLVERINE begin in January!

 

 

On Sale 1/5

X LIVES OF WOLVERINE #1 (OF 5)

Written by BENJAMIN PERCY

Art by JOSHUA CASSARA

Cover by ADAM KUBERT

 

On Sale 1/12

X DEATHS OF WOLVERINE #1 (OF 5)

Written by BENJAMIN PERCY

Art by FEDERICO VICENTINI

Cover by ADAM KUBERT

 

On Sale 1/19

X LIVES OF WOLVERINE #2 (OF 5)

Written by BENJAMIN PERCY

Art by JOSHUA CASSARA

Cover by ADAM KUBERT

 

On Sale 1/26

X DEATHS OF WOLVERINE #2 (OF 5)

Written by BENJAMIN PERCY

Art by FEDERICO VICENTINI

Cover by ADAM KUBERT

Categories: Comic Book Blogs

OSR Review & Commentary On Guilds and Orders by Steven Chenault From Troll Lord Games For Your Old School or OSR Fantasy Game

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 16:49
 "Guilds and Orders is a simple resource guide for use at almost any table and any roleplaying game. It lists several dozen possible guilds or orders that you can port into your game and use to augment an adventure through role playing. It’s a book that adds depth to a region by giving its people that much more flavor. Below you’ll find outlined scores of guilds and orders, that serve as ready toNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The O’Go Virtual Showcase with Moogly and Seema

Moogly - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 15:00

Recently I got to work with Yarnspirations Designer Seema Persaud to host an O’Go Virtual Showcase in the Michaels Community Classroom! Learn about their newest yarns for the fall and get inspired with project ideas. Watch the class and get all the links below! Disclaimer: Materials provided by Yarnspirations and Michaels.  O’Go To These Fab...

Read More

The post The O’Go Virtual Showcase with Moogly and Seema 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

At long last, Microsoft is disabling Excel 4.0 macros by default

Malwarebytes - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 14:02

Sometimes good news in the security world comes unexpectedly. This is one of those times. After three decades of macro viruses, and three decades of trying to convince every single Excel user individually to disable macros, Microsoft is going disable Excel 4.0 macros for everyone. Better late than never, right?

Talk about a big sigh of relief.

Excel 4.0 macros, aka XLM macros, were first added to Excel in 1992. They allowed users to add commands into spreadsheet cells that were then executed to perform a task. Unfortunately, we soon learned that (like any code) macros could be made to perform malicious tasks. Office documents have been a favorite hiding place of malicious code ever since.

For backward compatibility reasons the feature was never removed, despite being superseded by Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) just one year after it was introduced.

I understand the argument in favor of keeping it back then, but why keep it enabled by default for so long after, when so few people use it? Microsoft could have made it so that those that needed Excel 4.0 macros had to turn the feature on, and the rest of us (the overwhelming majority of Excel users) could have been more secure without having to remember to turn it off.

Good news? What happened?

Microsoft announced plans to disable Excel 4.0 macros in an email sent to customers. It will be disabled for all Microsoft 365 users by the end of the year, but the exact schedule depends on which kind of customer you are:

  • Insiders-Slow: Complete in early November.
  • Current Channel: Complete by mid-November.
  • Monthly Enterprise Channel: Complete by mid-December.

Trust me, it’s not easy to make all security professionals happy at once. Most feel this should have been done long ago. For some the glass is half full, while others are asking “why has this glass been half empty for so long?”

Oh my god. Will take a while to reach enterprises and needs Office 365 client but eventually this will reach lots of people and really help defenders. https://t.co/qWLp5qAOKi

— Kevin Beaumont (@GossiTheDog) October 7, 2021 Will you miss it?

It is very, very unlikely you will miss Excel 4.0 macros. XLM was the default macro language for Excel through Excel 4.0, but beginning with version 5.0, Excel recorded macros in VBA by default, although XLM recording was still allowed as an option. After version 5.0 that option was discontinued. All versions of Excel are capable of running XLM macros, though Microsoft discourages their use.

Now—almost 30 years after they were made obsolete—it’s fair to stay that the biggest users of Excel 4.0 macros are probably malicious threat actors.

Abuse cases

Attackers have always liked Office macros because they provide a simple and reliable method to spread malware using legitimate features, and without relying on any vulnerability or exploit. XLM macros have been used to drop many well known malware families, including ZLoader, TrickBot, BitRat, QBot, Dridex, FormBook and StrRat, among others.

And in just the last month, Malwarebytes Labs has seen XLM macros weaponized to deliver threat-actor-favorite Cobalt Strike, and a malware campaign using XLM macros to deliver a .NET payload under the cover an Excel spreadsheet full of stats about US airstrikes on the Taliban regime.

Another #maldoc associated to this campagin:https://t.co/4PTZeNpGBB
This time the actor has used XLM macro to inject the same payload into the memory.#EXCELntDonut has been used to generate the XLM macro.

c11f984f34ab84a203d807bd7953215b
Stats_of_Air_Strikes_and_Taliban.xls pic.twitter.com/Wn8zF6Vjbr

— Jazi (@h2jazi) September 24, 2021 Disable manually

Should you feel the need to disable this feature right now, you can do so in the Trust Center. In July Microsoft added a new checkbox setting, “Enable Excel 4.0 macros when VBA macros are enabled”, which allows users to individually configure the behavior of XLM macros without impacting VBA macros.


Image courtesy of Microsoft Security over backward compatibility

Despite the shared joy about this security enhancing roll-out, it raises the question of when does security overrule backward compatibility? Microsoft must have better things to do than fix obsolete features from the past century. Wouldn’t it have been preferable if the step up to VBA in 1993 had been less steep, so we could all forget about 4.0 and move on to the latest version without having to look over our shoulder? Or perhaps Microsoft could have disabled this potentially dangerous feature decades ago and left it to those who actually wanted it to turn it back on?

If history has taught us anything, it’s that the incentive to enable something you need is a lot stronger than the incentive to disable something that might be potentially dangerous.

Stay safe, everyone!

The post At long last, Microsoft is disabling Excel 4.0 macros by default appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Link Loves: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 11:00

www.knittedbliss.com

My Favourite Articles This Week How jigsaws can improve the quality of your life. Well, good reasons to do more puzzles! Strange questions professionals have been asked. I loved this list, it was so compelling. Loved this reminder- the biggest impact you can make on your home decor? Not letting so much stuff in. 3

The post Link Loves: My Favourite Things This Week appeared first on %%www.knittedbliss.com%%.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Making better cybersecurity training: Q&A with Malwarebytes expert Kelsey Prichard

Malwarebytes - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 10:57

If you hadn’t noticed by now, we are in the first week of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which, according to the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency in the United States, means that we should all consider how people, organizations, and businesses can “be cyber smart” this year and ahead.

While there are countless ways to interpret exactly how to “be cyber smart”—like adopting cybersecurity best practices around strong password use, two-factor authentication, and remote desktop protocol ports—we at Malwarebytes Labs wanted to take a step back and consider: How do you train people to be cyber smart in the first place?

After all, cybersecurity training is likely the first and most important step in cybersecurity awareness, whether at home or in the office. But developing engaging, actionable cybersecurity training programs can be a difficult endeavor, as those who develop the training have to potentially meet their organization’s compliance requirements while considering their audience’s interests, needs, awareness level, and time available to actually complete training programs.

To better understand how to make smart, engaging cybersecurity training, and to help businesses everywhere roll out their own, we asked Kelsey Prichard, security awareness program manager at Malwarebytes, to share her insights. At Malwarebytes, Prichard develops the security awareness programs and compliance training for the company’s employees—which are sometimes affectionately called “Malwarenauts.” She has developed seven “microlearning modules” and one security compliance training course—with another soon to come—and she has organized multiple in-house security webinars.

Prichard’s programs have also taken advantage of what she described as a “playful culture” at Malwarebytes, as each October, she has structured the annual security training to be “based around a different popular sci-fi movie.” The themed training programs have found a perfect home at the company, as its Star Wars-themed Santa Clara headquarters includes multiple conference rooms named after popular characters and its hallways are adorned with plenty of movie art.

The following Q&A with Prichard has been edited for clarity and length.

When you first joined Malwarebytes, you were tasked with something quite intimidating: Developing a cybersecurity training program for hundreds of company employees. Where do you even start with a task this large? 

This was quite the challenge, as this role was my first formal introduction to the world of security. My background’s in learning and development, and I used to work for Tesla developing their body repair training. So much of the material was new to me. Luckily, the security team here is fantastic and gave me a lot of the security frameworks I needed to get started. I think being a “beginner” in security helped give me a clarity I’m not sure I would’ve had otherwise. The first few months consisted of a lot of Googling, online training courses, and trial and error. As I learned, I developed courses and wrote down ideas. It was extremely important to me that I didn’t start a program that people didn’t want, nor were interested in, so a huge aspect of that was learning how to make it fun. Malwarebytes has a lot of very smart individuals, and this is a security company, so I had to develop content that was interesting and yet also met compliance requirements, so everyone took training in a timely manner

How did you measure the cybersecurity familiarity of Malwarebytes employees to ensure that the training programs you built would fit their level of understanding? 

We have a huge range of security knowledge here at Malwarebytes, so we’ve tried to incorporate variability in the content we upload. Some formats, like our training modules, are catered to Malwarenauts who may have less security understanding, while others, like our monthly webinars, are more technical. We also have a Security Champions program where our security experts in the company come together to learn from each other and our security team so that they can help educate their fellow Malwarenauts. There are some things, however, like our compliance training that we need to roll out to everyone, so this needs to cover a broad spectrum of security knowledge.

How did developing these training programs specifically for employees at a cybersecurity company influence, if at all, the development process? 

Lucky for me, working at a cybersecurity company has meant more engagement in security training than you’d see at other companies. However, it also makes our mandatory trainings more difficult since we have such a broad level of security knowledge and it’s odd knowing that you may be training someone with more security knowledge than yourself. That being said, I really love that there are so many people around me that are knowledgeable and excited about cybersecurity. It means I have a lot of people to learn from and I get a lot of support from upper management, but it was definitely intimidating at first! 

When deciding what topics to prioritize, I imagine you had an enormous list. Can you describe what was on that early list? 

Yes! The first thing I needed to do was set up our first annual security training, which was easy to prioritize for compliance reasons. Cybersecurity Awareness Month was also a big priority because I used it as the launch of our security awareness program and it’s the optimal time to make a big deal of cybersecurity. Creating a plan for the year on topics to be covered was also very helpful, as it allowed for getting the expert speakers for those topics. It requires a lot of coordination.

How did you narrow down the first few topics you developed training programs for? Why did you choose those topics? 

My security teammates were hugely valuable. They were aware of the biggest threats to our organization, so I initially developed training to highlight and help our employees prevent these threats from occurring. From there, we really wanted to cover the “cybersecurity basics” to set a knowledge groundwork for all employees.  

In developing the training programs, was there any practice you knew you wanted to avoid? 

I am very aware that “learning fatigue” is easy to succumb to with mandatory training modules. Because of this, I wanted to ensure that all training programs were split up to take no longer than 15 minutes at a time. This is why you’ll see our mandatory training is 30 minutes in total, but is split into three separate courses that are combined into one learning plan. This gives learners the option to complete a course and return to the learning plan as needed.

I also aim for story-based training, where it makes sense, to simplify otherwise complex content and make it relatable. 

Finally, what is your top tip for other cybersecurity trainers who want to make smart training progrmas for their organizations? 

Keep it engaging. I think as cybersecurity trainers we tend to get wrapped up in what the content is and forget how crucial it is to make the learning entertaining. If your audience doesn’t engage in the training you create, all it’s doing is checking a compliance box. 

The post Making better cybersecurity training: Q&A with Malwarebytes expert Kelsey Prichard appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

Discord scammers lure victims with promise of free Nitro subscriptions

Malwarebytes - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 09:27

A number of bogus offers are doing the rounds in Discord land at the moment. Discord, a group text chat/VoiP app of choice for many gaming communities, is having a bit of trouble with phishing links.

You may recall we’ve covered a lot of Discord scams previously. Service users can create bots, those bots can be invited into channels, and then they get to work spamming. The messages run the range of free games, discount sign-ups for services, or just plain old fake login screens.

You’ll also frequently see bots pushing offers for things which simply don’t exist anymore. Their purpose is to hit the channels and drift forever, spamming all and sundry until they get a few hits. This week it’ll be a bot promoting a “red hot” offer from 2018. Next week it’ll be promoting crossover deals with a service which went out of business a year ago.

While many gamers who know their stuff won’t fall for those kinds of things, plenty of others will. They could stand to lose their gaming accounts, their logins for other services, some money, or perhaps a combination of all 3. Depending on the scam, they could also be used to send spam messages to an even bigger audience. You definitely don’t want any of this clogging up the channels you use on a daily basis.

What’s happening?

Spam messages are sent to other Discord users. As is common with this kind of attack, they’re themed around “Nitro”. This is a paid Discord service which offers added functionality in the servers along with some other features. At one point, games were included in some of these deals, and those were a big target for scammers even after the games were no longer available. The scammers are just banking on nobody checking before clicking the links.

Here’s what some of the current messages going around look like:

@discord this is getting out of hand. All from friend accounts, all the same stupid language none of them use, all the same fake scam links. Gonna dk something about this? Getting as bad as the bots on @Twitch pic.twitter.com/QEvyoAj6Yt

— That Vaxx'd Wolf From Hyrule (@HylianEchoWolf) October 3, 2021

Note that this isn’t being sent from bots (as in, chatbots specifically coded to send spam links). As the Tweeter points out, this is all being sent by friends. Those friends have likely been compromised earlier in the chain, and are now being used for malicious purposes.

As for the messages themselves? They’re a mixed bunch. One claims a friend has sent the recipient a Nitro subscription. The others claim the recipient “has some Nitro left over”, tied to a URL which mentions billing and promotions.

When sneaky sites go phishing…

The sites here use a common trick. This is where they switch out the letter i, for an L in the URL. As a result, you’re not visiting Discord, you’re visiting something along the lines of dLscord instead (we’re using the uppercase L here purely for visual clarity).

Hunting for phish If it seems too good to be true…

From there, it’s a case of phishing the victim’s logins.

Tackling the Discord phishers

Sometimes these sites already have multiple red flags thrown up along the way:

Caught!

Other times, you’re reliant on the site being taken down or your security tools stopping the scam in its tracks. Either way, if you’ve entered your details into one of these sites (or similar!), then change your login as soon as possible.

How to protect your Discord account

Discord offers some tips on how to keep your account safe:

  1. Use a strong password, and one that is unique to your Discord account. A password manager can help generate and store strong passwords for you, because it’s very very difficult to remember them yourself
  2. Set up two-factor authentication (2FA) on your account
  3. Set up message scanning, which automatically scans and deletes any explicit content. You can choose to do this for all messages or just those from people not on your Friends List
  4. Block users if you need to. Discord offers more information on how to do that in tip 4.

Stay safe out there!

The post Discord scammers lure victims with promise of free Nitro subscriptions appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Categories: Techie Feeds

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