Hacked by Subtitles

CheckPoint researchers published in the company blog a warning about a vulnerability affecting several video players. They found that VLC, Kodi (XBMC), Popcorn-Time and strem.io are all vulnerable to attack via malicious subtitle files. By carefully crafting a subtitles file they claim to have managed to take complete control over any type of device using the affected players when they try to load a video and the respective subtitles.

According to the researchers, things look pretty grim:

We estimate there are approximately 200 million video players and streamers that currently run the vulnerable software, making this one of the most widespread, easily accessed and zero-resistance vulnerability reported in recent years. (…) Each of the media players found to be vulnerable to date has millions of users, and we believe other media players could be vulnerable to similar attacks as well.

One of the reasons you might want to make sure your software is up to date is that some media players download subtitles automatically from several shared online repositories. An attacker, as the researchers proved, could manipulate the website’s ranking algorithm and not only would entice more unsuspecting users to manually download his subtitles,  but would also guarantee that his crafted malicious subtitles would be those automatically downloaded by the media players.

No additional details were disclosed yet about how each video player is affected, although the researchers did share the details to each of the software developers so they can tackle the issue. They reported that some of the problems are already fixed in their current versions, while others are still being investigated. It might be a good idea to watch carefully and update your system before the details come out.

Meanwhile, we can look at the trailer:

Filed under: news, security hacks

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Japanese Buildings that are Shaped Like the Things They Sell

The other day we stumbled upon a building in Osaka that was shaped like a dachshund. As it turns out, it was a warehouse and distribution center for the Japanese pet food company DoggyMan, which made sense; what you see is what you get.

But it made us wonder: what other novelty architecture is there in Japan in which buildings are shaped like the things they sell? Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few. And thanks to our Twitter followers who pointed us in interesting directions. Read on for some of our favorites.

images courtesy Nikken

DoggyMan Kansai Logistics Center

The aforementioned dachshund-shaped building was designed by Nikken and completed in 2011. It functions as DoggyMan’s warehouse and distribution center and is located in Osaka. It can be seen if you’re driving along the Hanshin Expressway No. 4 (Gmap). An outline along the roof lights up at night, allowing drivers to see the adorable shape even when its dark.


image courtesy WPO blog

Kirin Beer Factory (Nagoya)

Located along the Tokaido Shinkansen Line (and viewable as you’re pulling out of Nagoya Station) is the Kirin Beer Factory. The tanks are immediately recognizable because they’re painted to look just like a tall glass of beer: golden brown on the bottom with white foam at the top. If you’re actually in Nagoya you can also schedule a free tour and tasting! (They even have a hip-looking restaurant)


images courtesy Taisei Design

Meiji Chocolate Factory (Osaka)

In 2011 Meiji, known for their chocolate candy, decided to refurbish their first factory that was originally built in 1955. Since then it’s been a magical place for kids and the company wanted to instill that same magical spirit into their new factory. Given that the JR Kyoto train line runs directly south, Taisei Design proposed an idea that to make the entire façade look like a gigantic bar of chocolate that can be seen from the train. It’s 28 m high and 166 m long, which is equivalent to 38,000 bars of chocolate. If you want to visit, they offer free tours as well.


image courtesy Taru Tonneau

Taru Tonneau in Okinawa

In Okinawa there’s a bar and eatery known as the Barrel Restaurant. The real name is Taru Tonneau (taru means barrel in Japanese) and the shop is shaped like a gigantic whiskey barrel. It’s been around since at least 2012 but its website looks like it’s from the 90s. It’s one of the more wild novelty architecture designs we’ve come across but it certainly does the trick in announcing its business.


image courtesy wikimedia commons

The Bank of Japan

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) technically doesn’t sell money. But they do issue banknotes, as well as implement Japan’s monetary policy. So it only makes sense that the old headquarters of the Japanese yen currency is shaped like the kanji for yen (円). But, like the previous examples, the BOJ building’s form isn’t immediately recognizable from the street. But thanks to google earth we were able to get a bird’s eye view, which reveals it’s yen-semblance. The BOJ building was designed in 1896 in a neo-baroque style by Tatsuno Kingo (who also designed Tokyo Station).

image courtesy google maps; edited by spoon & tamago

It’s actually unclear whether or not the yen design was intentional. And there’s some confusion over whether the kanji for yen was even used back then. It’s true that the formal kanji for yen was 圓 and it wasn’t simplified to 円 until 1946. But a little digging reveals that Meiji government that emerged from the collapse of the Edo Bakufu established a formal currency in 1871, 25 years before Kingo designed the BOJ. And at the time they also designated 円 as the kanji.

In addition, the BOJ building was constructed where a gold coin foundry was previously located. So although the evidence isn’t conclusive, we would like to imagine that Kingo foresaw satellite technology and gave future internet dwellers a gift to ogle over.

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Mother Brain by Alex Noriega

Mother Brain by Alex Noriega

I’ve been captivated by the geology of the Colorado Plateau for years, but I’ve often found it difficult to fully represent just how crazy it really is. I hope this series of images helps convey my boundless interest in the subject.
And since I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it, yes – my first official processing video is still slated for release in December!

Alex Noriega: Photos

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Sake Bottle Pillow Makes Any Sleeping Person a Passed Out Drunkard

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If you’ve had too much to drink, go to sleep. That was the idea behind the concept for this ishobin sake bottle pillow modeled after the largest of sake bottles.

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Measuring in at 1.8 liters, the ishobin bottles are typically reserved for parties or celebratory gatherings. But with this fun pillow, anyone can be a passed out drunkard.

They’re available online for 2,700 yen at the Village Vanguard shop.

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The bottle even comes packaged like a typical ishobin sake bottle found in liquor stores. The label reads 泥酔, which means smashed (as in completely drunk).

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