First hacked was Japan's Sony's Playstation network, next Square Enix Holdings Co., then Nintendo, and now the gaming company Sega. News reports began surfacing late last week that Sega had sent an email to registered users of its Sega Pass web site informing them that their names, birth dates, email addresses and encrypted passwords had been compromised. 

A BBC story from last Friday reported that the email from Sega to its customers  stated in part that:

"Over the last 24 hours we have identified that unauthorised entry was gained to our Sega Pass database."

"We immediately took the appropriate action to protect our consumers' data and isolate the location of the breach. We have launched an investigation into the extent of the breach of our public systems."

Japan Times story reported that on Sunday Sega formally announced that the hackers broke into the web site of Sega's London unit, Sega Europe Ltd., and "stole personal information on all of its 1,290,755 registered users." The Times says that Sega Pass provides information on new Sega product news.

The Sega Pass site was shut down on Thursday. This morning, the site displays this message:

"Hi"

"SEGA Pass is going through some improvements so is currently unavailable for new members to join or existing members to modify their details including resetting passwords."

"We hope to be back up and running very soon."

"Thank you for your patience."

A Sydney Morning Herald report today that Sega put out a statement saying:

"We sincerely apologise for troubles this incident has caused to our customers."

No other Sega websites apparently have been compromised, the Herald story also said.

At the rate their going, hackers may soon be running out of Japanese game companies worthwhile attacking.

PHOTO: iStockPhoto

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Metamaterials Could Solve One of 6G’s Big Problems

There’s plenty of bandwidth available if we use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

12 min read
An illustration depicting cellphone users at street level in a city, with wireless signals reaching them via reflecting surfaces.

Ground level in a typical urban canyon, shielded by tall buildings, will be inaccessible to some 6G frequencies. Deft placement of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces [yellow] will enable the signals to pervade these areas.

Chris Philpot

For all the tumultuous revolution in wireless technology over the past several decades, there have been a couple of constants. One is the overcrowding of radio bands, and the other is the move to escape that congestion by exploiting higher and higher frequencies. And today, as engineers roll out 5G and plan for 6G wireless, they find themselves at a crossroads: After years of designing superefficient transmitters and receivers, and of compensating for the signal losses at the end points of a radio channel, they’re beginning to realize that they are approaching the practical limits of transmitter and receiver efficiency. From now on, to get high performance as we go to higher frequencies, we will need to engineer the wireless channel itself. But how can we possibly engineer and control a wireless environment, which is determined by a host of factors, many of them random and therefore unpredictable?

Perhaps the most promising solution, right now, is to use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. These are planar structures typically ranging in size from about 100 square centimeters to about 5 square meters or more, depending on the frequency and other factors. These surfaces use advanced substances called metamaterials to reflect and refract electromagnetic waves. Thin two-dimensional metamaterials, known as metasurfaces, can be designed to sense the local electromagnetic environment and tune the wave’s key properties, such as its amplitude, phase, and polarization, as the wave is reflected or refracted by the surface. So as the waves fall on such a surface, it can alter the incident waves’ direction so as to strengthen the channel. In fact, these metasurfaces can be programmed to make these changes dynamically, reconfiguring the signal in real time in response to changes in the wireless channel. Think of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces as the next evolution of the repeater concept.

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