Tag Archives: Citadel

The edge of IP

Yup, another bout of insomnia, another idea in the IP range. I state this casually and carefully, because even if the stage is altered, there might be a setting where it in not entirely my IP. In the first I came up with a new Mass Effect Andromeda, I wrote about it previously and to make the story fit, the game would contain a remastered and rewritten part one (the bad version we saw in 2017), a lot would be used, but the game would be different, even if the planets are not. That was only part one, the stage of part two is in three parts, the Nexus, the missing ships and 5 additional planets. Also we would revisit the planets that were cleaned up with a lot of additional materials. Yet my mind kept on racing. It was the Prothean Vigil VI who gives us “They used the conduit to gain access, but the conduit is only a prototype. The portal only links in one direction, so they were trapped on the station. I do not know what became of them there, it is unlikely they found any food or water, they suffered a slow grim death”, the game is 13 years old, and I have lashed out to Microsoft on a number of occasions, but this one, this one they got right, and the second game was even better the the first one, optionally one of the best RPG games EVER produced. 

So what happens when a group of people makes it to the Citadel, about 2 millennia after the reapers. The station cold dark and we get to see the restart of the station, the keepers are setting the parameters for races to come, yet what happens when teams Humans, Salarians, Drell, Turians, and Protheans make it to the Citadel? Not the original station as shown in the game, but the station in its complete complexity. Each race starts in the original building that was meant for them, as they could dock there, but after that, it becomes a chase, a challenge, of puzzles and wit to survive, to create the stations energy settings, the interactions that are required and not to mention as you play one race, all the others become NPC’s, with the option of a previous completed race to use your achievement as a template to equal. Something like that has as far as I can see never been done before and to that extent wasn’t even possible until the PS5 (and its Microsoft equivalent) were released. Not to mention there is every chance that the Google Stadia might keep up, so that is three, all whilst it would be possible to link a friend and set his milestones as one for one of the NPC’s. 

You might wonder why that and not a new station, a new environment. Yes, that is true, but to create all the races and all the settings takes a lot more and these races have been clearly established, also there is a danger that we might inadvertently copy parts of another Citadel station (System Shock), as such I wanted to get head of the curve (as I am not getting any sleep)

It would still be a large undertaking, The idea was bugging me when I was redesigning MEA and MEA2 in one package, the setting of the size of the station was never that clearly represented, also the cryogenic unlocks made little sense, there was too little pro and con options. A setting where we see the plusses on one sided and we weigh that, all whilst the minus side was largely ignored. So as I went out to create a new version in my mind, I kept on looking at the larger stage, the larger needs and it kept on kicking me back to Citadel station, especially the parts we saw in ME1 and ME2, I thought it was time to kick it in another direction and this is what I came up with in a mere 2-3 hours. 

Consider the screenshot, it is part of the citadel, 5 arms, one arm holding dozens upon dozens of skyscrapers, each building (or at least several of them) explorable, yet there is also the danger of that needle and haystack expression, there needs to be a clear directive on what is required, what are we seeking for, and not all are in the same arm, so paths are needed, airlocks, and larger cargo spaces so we can travel between the arms, yet the keepers (now under clear Reaper control) must also be avoided and changes need to be done whilst they are not looking. All whilst ever building is getting cleaned and sanitised by worker drones. 

It becomes a much larger setting and it might be one that the explorers under us (Dora too) might like to get a handle on. And let’s not forget, there are 5 teams, optionally some with advanced knowledge. All this and the Andromeda challenge too? What a luxury! I would love to make it a Sony exclusive, but Microsoft already has the beat on the IP, so if there is exclusivity, it might be Xbox (something I really would not like).

Well, it is 2:14 now, I have no idea what I will come up with next, but I got roughly 4 hours until the sun comes up and I forgot my Maui Jim glasses. 

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Fraud, deception or Ignorance in IT Safety?

Fraud, deception or Ignorance in IT Safety?
Again it was the Dutch NOS last night that gave me the idea of reflection on today’s blog. Their newscast and articles on NOS.nl is all about cybercrime. The news was that last year (October 2012), cyber criminals using the botnet Citadel was able to acquire over 750 GB of data. The data is coming from computers involving the Energy industry, Media corporations, Hospitals, Universities and airlines. The data seems to have gone to eastern European cyber criminals. Over 150.000 computers infected in the Netherlands alone.
Watching it, you could see login details, passwords, network layouts, detailed notes from a doctor and the medication prescribed. The amount of information was staggering! I looked a little further into this botnet. Its name is Citadel. It seems to be an ingenious piece of work. This is something the NSA, GCHQ or the FSB and several other Boy Scout units of a governmental type. When looking at the info, there was an implied strength that it could go passed and ignores many anti-virus systems. When looking at my own provider, there was an interesting lack of information regarding this botnet.
So we are looking at a three edged sword.
Are anti-viral protectors committing fraud? When looking at a Norton protection plan, and I see the green ‘Secure’ sign. Am I really secured? Tracy Kitten from Bankinfo security wrote: “Segura notes that hackers claim PCs relying on anti-virus solutions from Microsoft Security Essentials, McAfee, and Norton were infected. ‘That’s kind of worrisome,’ he says. ” So, am I paying for security I am not receiving?
It seems that this secure statement is also a case of deception. My Norton anti-virus states a secure setting, yet, citadel was initially designed to collect bank information for cyber criminals. From the two facts earlier, I must also conclude that the banks have been insincere to me on more than one occasion (big surprise I know). They claim safety and security, whilst 150.000 computers in the Netherlands seem to prove the opposite. Especially considering that banks have been trimming down on staff because much more goes on-line, yet there is no clear information that the cyber divisions of the financial industry is making any kind of strong progress. The BBC stated on Oct 10, 2012, that GBP 341 million was acquired through card fraud in 2011. The events involving Citadel imply that the losses in 2011 are not likely to go down any day soon.
Last is about Ignorance. That would be you the reader and me. These anti-viral dealers leave us with a false sense of security while we are charged $70-$100 a year, whilst it lowers intrusions, but not remove the threat. I must confess that we are all likely a lot safer with then without anti-viral protection. So stopping anti-virus protection is the worst of ideas.
I feel slightly safer as I have always refused any kind of on-line banking option. From the 90’s I knew that their X-25 protocols had several weak spots, which is now getting me to the last part of this.
If Windows is so weak, volatile and easily transgressed upon, then the dozens of security updates seem little more than a smoke screen. I reckon a lot of us should seriously consider moving to another system like Linux. Linux has proven to be a very secure system. We used to consider Apple to be very secure as it was a Unix based system, which has all matters of security or a much higher level than Windows ever had. However, that it is now an INTEL based system with Microsoft attachments makes me wonder if it remained that secure.
What is my issue with this all is that Yesterday’s news on Citadel was known with the Dutch cyber security for months, and little was done, the newscast even mentioned that many had not been alerted to this danger. I reckon that IF there is truth on transgression on ‘secured’ systems, we need to consider the dangers of connected networks. This likely endangered the infrastructure, and it definitely endangered personal information of millions. With that state of mind, how should we see the security of corporate and personal systems in the UK, US and Australia?
Consider that the implied ignoring of Cyber security is mentioned (but unproven as far as the validity of sources go). Yet, when I seek places like Norton, I get no answer (connection was reset). If we can believe people like Tracy Kitten then the financial sector that relies on massive internet presence, we are in serious trouble. On the other side is the opinion showing on the NOS site by Professor Michel van Eeten from the TU Delft. It is not really created to a directed attack. He compared it to a buck shot into the internet. It was designed to acquire login, passwords and bank details.
My issue is the fact that 150.000 systems were infected! The one flaw in the NOS newscast is the absence of the cyber safety factor. Whether Common Cyber Security was used by those infected. If so, then why are these questions not openly directed at the makers of Norton Anti-Virus, McAfee, Kaspersky and a league of other Cyber Safety providers?

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