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Microsoft Edge News Feed infiltrated by tech support scammers

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Microsoft Edge News Feed infiltrated by tech support scammers
Microsoft Edge Chromium



(Image credit: Microsoft)

Scammers are planting malicious advertisements in the Microsoft Edge news feed, according to new research from antivirus and VPN provider Malwarebytes.

In a blog post (opens in new tab) by its threat intelligence team, the company claims that the scheme, set up to “direct victims to tech support scam pages”, has been in motion for at least two months.

This particular scam operation has been particularly effective because of Microsoft Edge’s news feed doubling as the web browser’s homepage, increasing the chances that users may be lured by “shocking or bizarre stories” that have been placed there by attackers.

Fake news in Microsoft Edge

Once a user has clicked on a false news story, a script is run to decide if a user should be targeted by the scam. According to Malwarebytes, the script aims to filter out “bots, VPNs, and geolocations that are not of interest,” and that these machines are instead sent to a harmless decoy page.

“This scheme is meant to trick innocent users with fake browser locker pages, very well known and used by tech support scammers”, wrote Malwarebytes, in reference to the scourge of malvertising, whereby threat actors serve up fake advertisements to users in order to compromise their devices.

The scam operation relies on an ever-changing list of malicious domains served up by DigitalOcean’s cloud-based web hosting infrastructure, making the threat difficult to stamp out completely. Malwarebytes claimed that, over the course of 24 hours, over 200 different hostnames were being used to scam tech support pages.

It also noted the considerable efforts to obscure identifying information (known as fingerprinting) about servers and devices involved in the campaign.

The company did, however, connect one of the collected domains, previously reported as suspicious (opens in new tab), to Sumit Kalra, listed as a director for “Mws Software Services Private Limited”, a Delhi-based company working in “Computer and related activities”.

It also linked Kalra to a number of other domains involved with this particular campaign, which Malwarebytes has said is “one of the biggest we are seeing in terms of telemetry noise”. 

TechRadar Pro has asked Kalra, Mws Software Services Private Limited, and Microsoft for comment.

Default browsers and malvertising

Microsoft Edge is the default web browser on Windows 10 and 11, making it a prime target for scammers looking to target the largest number of unsuspecting users who are less aware of what measures they can take to stay secure online.

Users looking to protect themselves from fake tech support scams and other threat actors may wish to install one of the best free VPNs, consider an anonymous web browser, or simply change their Microsoft Edge homepage from the default news feed.

They should also maintain a healthy skepticism when interacting with content from an unfamiliar or disreputable source. If a news story sounds too good to be true, thinking twice before clicking on it can go a long way.

Clicking on a fake advertisement can result in a device being infected with malware. But scammers sometimes just want users to believe they’ve been infected, and follow through with what the page is requesting of them. This may be to call a certain phone number, or send money to an unknown actor – the latter being a form of ransomware

To stay safe, users should also be vigilant about the pages making these requests. Usually, it’s antivirus software, not a web browser, that reports on threats to a device’s security. 

Luke Hughes holds the role of Graduate Writer at TechRadar Pro, producing news, features and deals content across topics ranging from computing to cloud services, cybersecurity, data privacy and business software.

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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