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Officials link hacker to theft of 1.2 billion log-in credentials

The FBI is linking a hacker only known by the moniker "mr. grey" to a whopping 1.2 billion stolen internet credentials after finding his Russian email address in the evidence it gathered. It's unclear if he obtained all those by himself, though, or if he's even just a single person or a group of people operating under one name. Either way, if there were a contest for hackers, mr. grey would've won it by now, as this is apparently the biggest collection of stolen log-in details the FBI has investigated thus far. Reuters says that info came from the court documents the feds submitted to support its search warrant request in 2014. The authorities got their tip from cybersecurity firm Hold Security, which found out that a Russian hacking group called CyberVor has stolen 1.2 billion log-in details and over 500 million email addresses.

Hackers have been breaking through a lot of government agency's defenses these past years, and DARPA thinks it's high time to do something about it. Pentagon's mad science division has launched a new program called Rapid Attack Detection, Isolation and Characterization (RADICS), which aims to develop innovative technologies that can quickly detect and respond to cyber attacks. Not just any cyber attacks, though: RADICS was specifically created to deflect security threats on critical infrastructures in the US, especially those that are vital to the Department of Defense's missions. The agency likely wants to make sure the government can quickly detect and fight off terrorists and/or hackers trying to switch off the country's electricity or transportation systems.

FCC hires a privacy guru to help lead its telecom investigations

If you want proof that the Federal Communications Commission is getting serious about privacy, you only need to look at its latest recruit. The agency has hired Jonathan Mayer, one of the masterminds behind Do Not Track browsing, as the chief technologist for its Enforcement Bureau. He'll help lead investigations into any shady behavior from telecoms and TV providers, particularly if they run afoul of your privacy or security.

Volkswagen is issuing AR glasses as standard factory equipment

Following a successful 3-month pilot program at its Wolfsburg plant, Volkswagen announced on Tuesday that it will begin issuing 3D smart glasses to its plant logistics personnel. These glasses, which display information like bin locations and part numbers directly in the user's line of sight, should help speed up order picking. That is, they'll tell plant employees if the parts they're holding are the parts they actually need. And to keep the process as hands-free as possible, a camera embedded in the specs will double as a barcode scanner.

NASA's depiction of comets swarming around a star

Occam's Razor apparently holds true everywhere, even in the farthest reaches of space. While researchers speculated that star KIC 8462852's mysterious dimming might be the result of alien megastructures, NASA is about to publish evidence supporting the theory that it's really just a swarm of comets. Based on the strange dimming and the moderate infrared light levels, you may be looking at a pack of cold comets on a "very long, eccentric" orbit. If so, the strange signatures over the years reflect different-size comets passing around the star.

TiVo Bolt screenshot showing "SkipMode" ad-skipping prompt

It looks like TiVo Roamio owners won't need to buy an upgraded box for the new SkipMode feature. Zatz Not Funny points out info on TiVo's website promising SkipMode will come to older Roamio DVRs on December 10th, which the company confirmed in a statement to Engadget. Starting today, a software update is going out that enabled QuickMode sped-up viewing on the Roamio. Meanwhile, a limited test will only let older boxes in the Bay Area and Chicago access SkipMode, for now (it's available nationwide on the Bolt). In case you're not familiar, SkipMode lets users bypass ad breaks on selected shows (prime time broadcasts on certain national networks) just by pressing the green button on their remote. At least so far, it has avoided any legal issues seen by Dish Network's Hopper technology, and hopefully will continue to work as advertised. When I reviewed the Bolt, I found my favorite way to use it was skipping any stray seconds recorded before a show starts, so I could leap to the actual beginning.

Twitter's IPO Filing Implies $12.8 Billion Value Amid Growth

Twitter announced the rollout of full-screen video playback for its Twitter Kit on Tuesday. That means users will be able to view videos and animated gifs within Twitter without having to pop open a new window or launch the Twitter app -- everything is handled within the running app itself. The feature is currently only available for apps running Twitter Kit for iOS8+ but the company is also reportedly releasing an Android version "shortly."

[Image Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Hilton Waldorf Astoria Sold

If you've stayed at one of Hilton's hotels in the past year, you might want to check your credit card history. The chain has confirmed a report that malware compromised its payment systems, putting your data at risk. The intruders got in between November 18th and December 5th in 2014, and between April 21st and July 27th this year. The malware didn't expose home addresses or PIN codes, but it did get access to card numbers, security codes and names -- enough that hackers could potentially make purchases.

Ah, Thanksgiving -- the perfect time to relax with your family and play something slow, wholesome and casual. Nintendo, it's your time to shine: join us as we check out Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival and Mario Tennis Ultra Smash on Wii U to see which game better compliments a gluttonous holiday meal. We'll be streaming at 6PM Eastern / 3PM Pacific right here in this post, on the Engadget Gaming homepage and, if you want to join us in chat, at And yes, it's okay to vent your Amiibo shopping frustrations here. This is a safe space, friends. We understand.

Bang and Olufsen is known for two things: unique design and high prices. Sometimes, the cost isn't so much of an issue if the design is matched by quality audio or a solid display panel. The company's new BeoPlay A6 is a $1,000 wireless speaker with three modes to change its sound based on where it's placed in a room. With Sonos and others already offering similar products for a fraction of the price, I was unsure if B&O's latest product would live up to steep asking price. Unfortunately, my suspicions were correct.

Amazon has released a ton of new features for its Video app. The update includes 3D touch support, Next Up (which is basically auto-play), picture-in-picture and X-Ray, which offers a wealth of IMDB information and trivia at the touch of a button. Even though some of these features are iPad exclusive (like picture-in-picture) they can help Amazon stand up against competition like Netflix when content alone won't carry the day. The 3D touch option is only available on Apple's latest smartphone offerings, the 6s and 6s Plus, and lets you access a number of features faster, but offers nothing in the way of exclusive functionality. Also, the app has been customized for the iPad Pro, meaning Amazon-exclusive content is bigger and better than it's ever been before. What more could you ask for?

[Image credit: AOL]

After Android Pay's slow rollout throughout the US, it's finally available to everyone -- well, those with a compatible device anyway. In the spirit of giving (or trying to get more people using the service), Google has teamed up with to support special needs children in US schools. Through December 31st, Google will donate $1 for every purchase made through Android Pay, with a total of up to $1 million. The idea is to create an interactive classroom environment so kids who struggle to engage aren't left out. What's more, Android Pay will double its donations for every purchase made on Black Friday. As if you needed another reason to spend big on the most insane shopping day of the year.

[Image credit: AOL]

Automatic sprinklers watering lawn

Putting your sprinklers on a timer system is probably the best way to avoid under-watering your plants -- but the "set and forget" mentality isn't the most economical. What if it rains during the week and you forget to turn the timer off? Now you're wasting water and drowning your lawn. A company called ETwater thinks it has a better automatic solution: a smart sprinkler that only waters your lawn when it actually needs it.

3D-printed vascular systems

It's safe to say that you want your doctors to know exactly what they're doing when performing surgery. But how do they train for a vascular operation, which is both extremely tricky and unique to your anatomy? By using 3D printing, that's how. MakerBot's parent company Stratasys is teaming with physicians to create 3D-printed replicas of patients' vascular systems, giving surgeons a way to practice before they poke around your blood vessels. The models use flexible photopolymers (that is, light-sensitive polymers) to recreate the feel of organic tissue, so you don't have to worry that the surgery team is only used to working with hardened plastic.

Sony's had its Remote Play tech in one form or another since the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, but it didn't truly take off until its implementation on PlayStation 4 and the PS Vita handheld. But that's kind of wasted when nobody is buying the Vita and it's getting zero love from its parent company. Remote Play PC is exactly what its name implies: an application that tricks the PS4 into thinking a PC is a Remote Play device. Microsoft changed the game (sorry) with the ability for the Xbox One to stream its games to Windows 10-based hardware and until Sony catches up we're just going to have to settle for an unofficial app that costs money to perform the task.

Vine on the Apple Watch

Vine teased months ago that it was working on support for the Apple Watch, and it's finally delivering on that promise. Grab the updated Vine app for iOS and you can watch those 6-second looping videos on your wrist (either featured ones or those from favorites) whenever you need a quick pick-me-up. You can set your total loop count as a complication, too, in case you're just that close to hitting an important milestone. The wrist-based app doesn't work quite the way it does on your iPhone, as you might suspect. Videos won't automatically play, and the audio goes through the watch's built-in speaker -- keep that in mind if you decide to watch cat videos while you're waiting for the bus.

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter don't deal in investments: Backers pledge money to a project and that's generally where their involvement ends. No purchasing shares, no percentage of final sales. Video game-funding platform Fig, however, combines this traditional form of crowdfunding with actual investment -- and it will allow unaccredited people to invest in its next campaign. This move opens up investment to people who aren't SEC-accredited, meaning they don't make at least $200,000 a year (or have a minimum net worth of $1 million). "We believe that fans, in addition to having the opportunity to participate in the rewards-only tiers, should also have the opportunity to buy shares and participate in the financial success of a title," Fig CEO Justin Bailey says in a press release.

You know you want to plug your phone into your belt.

Have you ever wanted to carry an external battery for your phone, but hated the thought of creating even the smallest bulge in your pocket? No? Well, someone decided to fill that niche anyway. Ion Tech Wear is crowdfunding the Ion Belt, a 3,000mAh power pack that keeps your phone alive while it keeps your pants up. It's meant to be a "sleek" and "stylish" wearable that goes with anything, but it comes across as a phone holster-like fashion faux pas -- it's still a little too obvious that there's a gadget on your waist, and you're going to look a little dodgy plugging in that USB cable. This isn't even the first battery belt we've seen, for that matter. If you think you can pull it off, though, you can pledge $89 or more in the hopes of getting the belt in June.

Sorry we haven't updated the buyers's guide in a couple months -- we've been too busy pumping out reviews of all the new devices. Now that things have finally started to slow down (fingers crossed), let's take a step back and look at all the awesome stuff we've had a chance to test this fall. For starters, there's a bunch of excellent smartphones that we absolutely need to add to our guide. Namely: the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the Nexus 6P and 5X, and the Moto X Pure. On the tablet side, we're inducting both the iPad mini 4 and the Surface Pro 4. Microsoft makes another appearance in the laptop section, where we've added the Surface Book, along with Dell's Chromebook 13. Rounding out the list, we threw in a few miscellaneous items, including the new Xbox One Elite Wireless controller, the redesigned Sonos Play:5 wireless speaker and Google's $35 Chromecast Audio.

Amazon Book Store

Did you recently get a notice that Amazon changed your password? You're not alone. Numerous readers tell ZDNet that Amazon reset their passwords after learning that the login might have been "improperly stored" or "transmitted" in a way that could expose it to others. The company is shy about what happened (is it a data breach? A security hole?), but doesn't believe that someone actually swiped your info -- it's just giving you a new password out of an "abundance of caution." Gee, thanks. We're glad to see Amazon taking a better-safe-than-sorry approach, but we've reached out to the internet giant to get a better sense of what happened... and whether or not you have reason to be nervous.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]