The Morning After: Crypto heist hacker returns all $610 million they stole

It might have been about testing security.

Dado Ruvic / reuters

It’s the weirdest cryptocurrency heist so far. On Monday, Poly Network, a cryptocurrency finance platform, was hacked by “Mr. White Hat” who exploited a vulnerability in its code to steal $610 million in Ethereum, Shiba Inu and other cryptocurrencies. The company now says it has recovered all the money it lost in the theft.

Less than a day after stealing the digital currencies, the hacker started returning millions saying they were “ready to surrender.” They subsequently locked more than $200 million in assets in an account that required passwords from both them and Poly Network. They said they would only provide their password once everyone was “ready.” At that point, Poly Network offered the hacker a $500,000 reward — a fraction of what they had stolen.

It’s not entirely clear why the hacker surrendered, but it may have been difficult to cash out the millions. The hacker says they were trying to contribute to the security of Poly Network. Maybe they just didn’t want to get caught. Poly will breathe a sigh of relief as will those that were doing their crypto trading through the platform.

— Mat Smith

A Razer mouse can bypass Windows security just by being plugged in

The company says it's fixing the flaw.

Security researcher Jon Hat posted on Twitter that after plugging in a Razer mouse or dongle, Windows Update will download the Razer installer executable and run it with SYSTEM privileges. It also lets you access the Windows file explorer and Powershell with "elevated" privileges, which means nefarious types could install harmful software — if they can get to your USB ports.

Since this vulnerability requires someone plugging in a mouse, it's not nearly as dangerous as a remote attack, but it's still not great for Razer. The company's security team said it’s working on a fix.

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Finally, the ‘Stardew Valley’ esports tournament is a thing

Farm, mine and fish your way to glory on Labor Day weekend.

Stardew Valley

Esports is most commonly associated with high-octane competitive games, usually with guns. That’s not the vibe in Stardew Valley, where you literally tend to crops. It’s more agrarian, less aggro.

But soon, some of the world's finest Stardew Valley players will face off for thousands of dollars. Creator Eric Barone said the first official Stardew Valley Cup event will take place on September 4th. “It’s a competition of skill, knowledge and teamwork, with a prize pool of over $40k.”

More than 100 challenges have been created for competitors to tackle, with four teams of four players each having three hours to complete as many of the tasks as they can. Best start sharpening that hoe.

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NASA’s latest video from Mars looks like ‘Dune’

A new video from the Curiosity rover is here.

Image taken from a JPL video showing off the interior of the Gale Crater, as shot by the Curiosity Rover.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory released a breathtaking panorama of the inside of the Gale Crater, as snapped by the Curiosity Rover. It shows off where the rover has been and where it’s going. Apparently, on a clear day when there’s no dust in the air, you can see up to 20 miles away.

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PayPal brings its cryptocurrency trading feature to the UK

Even in small units.

PayPal is bringing the ability to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies across to the other side of the pond, the better part of a year after it launched in the US. In a statement, the company said that UK-based users would be able to buy, hold and sell Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash via their PayPal account. The company adds that users can buy as little as £1 of cryptocurrency, and while there are no fees to hold the currency, users will have to pay transaction and currency conversion fees. And hey, it’s not Poly.

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'Twelve Minutes' ruins a compelling game concept

I’ve been waiting a while for this, too.

Twelve Minutes
Annapurna Interactive

Twelve Minutes managed to hook several Engadget editors when it was revealed back in 2015. Even before it gained an all-star cast including Daisy Ridley, James McAvoy and Willem Dafoe, the pitch was easy to understand: a time loop point-and-click adventure. I made a note to keep an eye on the title, and Devindra Hardawar, who reviewed the game, did the same.

Unfortunately, the need to push the story in any — most! — directions leads to some grim choices by the player, and what Devindra calls “mind-numbingly dumb” twists. Tell us how you really feel.

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Apple employees are organizing to push for 'real change' at the company

“We’ve exhausted all internal avenues,” the group says.

A group of current and former Apple employees are calling on colleagues to publicly share stories of discrimination, harassment and retaliation at the company. The collective has started a Twitter account called Apple Workers.

"For too long, Apple has evaded public scrutiny," the group says on its website. "When we press for accountability and redress to the persistent injustices we witness or experience in our workplace, we are faced with a pattern of isolation, degradation and gaslighting." In August, the company put Ashley Gjøvik, a senior engineering program manager, on paid administrative leave. Apple hasn’t yet commented.

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The best streaming gear for students

It’s not just laptops and keyboards.

Being a student is hard, but just because you’re holed up in a dorm room doesn’t mean you should settle for mediocre entertainment. Our updated Student Buyer’s Guide has everything you could possibly need to upgrade from mindlessly watching Netflix on your laptop. That includes deals for TVs, audio gear and the best streaming devices.

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Take a first look at the live-action ‘Cowboy Bebop’

It’s coming November 19th.

A still promoting the new live-action Netflix series 'Cowboy Bebop' showing three people and a corgi walking down a water-slicked back alley.

Netflix's live-action adaptation of classic anime Cowboy Bebop has been a long time coming, and the show finally has a release date. The 10-episode first season will start streaming on November 19th. There’s still no trailer, but we get some stills of the iconic crew, played by John Cho (Spike Spiegel), Mustafa Shakir (Jet Black) and Daniella Pineda (Faye Valentine). There’s a corgi, too.

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Virgin Orbit plans to go public

It’ll go on the Nasdaq exchange to fund its space satellite project.

Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit, with a rocket underneath the wing of a modified Boeing 747 jetliner, takes off to for a key drop test of its high-altitude launch system for satellites from Mojave, California, U.S. July 10, 2019.       REUTERS/Mike Blake
Mike Blake / Reuters

Virgin Orbit, the less glamorous half of Virgin’s space adventures, has announced plans to go public on the Nasdaq stock exchange through a special purpose acquisitions company (SPAC) merger. The deal with NextGen Acquisition Corp. II values Virgin Orbit at $3.2 billion.

The combined company is expected to pull in up to $483 million in cash when the deal closes, and it plans to scale up its rocket manufacturing. The first spaceflight company to go public through a SPAC, and the company that really kicked off the SPAC trend was Virgin Galactic back in 2019, which sought to fund its tourist trips to space. Yeah, the more exciting facet of space companies.

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