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Weekend Roundup: PlayStation 4 officially announced, MWC 2013 excitement mounts, hackers do serious damage

PlayStation 4 unveiled...sort of

Just as the hype seemed to be reaching new levels of mania, Sony finally made an official announcement about the forthcoming PlayStation 4. Though the Japanese firm unveiled some of the forthcoming console’s features, the event on 20 February left us with more questions than answers. For instance, Sony kept mum on perhaps the three most important details about the PS4 - what it looks like, when it will be available, and how much we can expect to fork over.

What we do know is that the next-gen console, which has been five years in the making, will ship with a Dual-Shock 4 controller with an integrated touchpad, that it will enable game streaming and sharing, that there will be improved second-screen gaming through Remote Play, and that there will be a host of game titles available from top publishers.

Despite Sony’s coyness, however, there was still a lot to talk about. Sebastian Anthony analysed the console’s hardware specs and feared that the PS4 might prove to be underwhelming, and also discussed some of the features we expect to hear more about in the near future. Meanwhile, James Laird rounded up the big questions, many of which we hope to see answered with more detail soon.

MWC 2013 promises to deliver major mobile news

CES proved to be a disappointment on the mobile front, with Sony’s Xperia Z being the only smartphone to make any real waves. But with Mobile World Congress just around the corner, we’re preparing for some major mobile revelations.

Over the next few days, we’re expecting to hear big news from firms including Huawei, Asus and LG, with many of the flagship handsets of 2013 due to be taking the spotlight. This week, we rounded up the top five devices to keep an eye out for, including ZTE’s Grand Memo and a pair of new Windows Phone 8 Lumia smartphones from Nokia. We also took stock of some of the major trends we expect to see at MWC next week, with Désiré Athow tipping the launch of even more Windows Phone 8 handsets and Mozilla’s brand-new mobile operating system as two things to look forward to, and Will Dalton suggesting that we can expect to see Chinese firms playing a big role at the event and to see a surge in software developments.

As always, stay tuned to ITProPortal, where we’ll have up-to-the minute coverage of MWC directly from the show floor.

Hackers come out to play

Hacking was the name of the game this week, with a string of back-to-back security breaches leaving a handful of high-profile companies vulnerable and raising consumer alarm to new levels.

First, Facebook reported that it had been the target of a “sophisticated” cyber attack that compromised some of its computers. The malware made its way into Facebook’s systems after some of its employees visited the website of a developer that had already been infected. A few days later, Apple reported that some of its employee computers, too, had been victimised by a group believed to have been behind the Facebook attack. "Apple has identified malware which infected a limited number of Mac systems through a vulnerability in the Java plug-in for browsers," the company said, specifying that the breach originated on a developer site. Both companies have since quashed the malware and launched respective investigations.

On a highly cheeky, and slightly less consequential, note, the Twitter accounts of Burger King and Jeep were taken over by mischievous hackers who changed the Burger King logo to that of McDonalds and tweeted that BK had been sold to its fast food rival, while the Jeep meddlers said the company had been sold to Cadillac and changed the account’s profile picture accordingly. Towards the end of the week, Anonymous ironically found itself on the receiving end of a social media hack and got caught out by the Citadel trojan.

This latest slew of attacks comes after major US publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, revealed that their systems had been the victims of security breaches believed to have originated in China - more information about which was revealed in a Mandiant report that traced Chinese cyber attacks against the US to a People’s Liberation Army base in Shanghai.

In the coming weeks and months, it’s likely that yet more attacks will show their face, with the evidence mounting that digital security is an increasingly volatile area. Accordingly, we strove to answer two major security-related questions this week - who attacked Facebook and Apple and why, and how do hackers break into Gmail accounts and what is Google doing to stop them.