Xbox Home Removes Cortana in New Update

Microsoft is redesigning Xbox Home for the Xbox One by reworking the current UI in an effort to simplify and streamline the way Xbox users peruse their content. Dubbed the “Home Experiment,” the Xbox UI redesign update focuses on two major points. First, the Home panel is dropping the top Twists bar in favor of simple, noticeable buttons for key areas. And second, the UI is removing the Cortana voice command system in favor of off-console cloud-based alternatives.

The Xbox One’s Home page is the console’s most important, being both the first thing console owners see when they turn on the platform and the place with the quickest access to other areas of the Xbox One’s user interface. The Twists menu at the top of the Home page, named for the way the menu twisted to different panels with a button press, is gone.

The Twist menu is replaced by simple buttons arranged in a square, placed below a panel for the user’s most recently played game. The buttons are for Game Pass, Mixer, the Microsoft Store, and the Xbox Community. The extra space has been shifted to make more room for the user’s recently played games. The “Discover” section of the Home panel also remains, populated by various offers and advertisements.

Regarding Cortana, the voice-activated service will no longer be available on Xbox One. The Xbox team has come to the conclusion that Cortana and Microsoft’s voice commands are best taken off-console and onto cloud-based alternatives. That means that if Xbox users want to continue using Cortana, they can use the Xbox Skill via the Cortana app on either iOS or Android devices, or via Windows.

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New Ransomware Found Exploiting Former Windows Zero-Day Flaw

Researchers at cybersecurity firm Kaspersky have uncovered new encryption ransomware named Sodin (Sodinokibi or REvil) that exploits a recently discovered Windows vulnerability to get elevated privileges in an infected system. The ransomware takes advantage of the architecture of the central processing unit (CPU) to avoid detection – functionality that is not often seen in ransomware.


“Ransomware is a very popular type of malware, yet it’s not often that we see such an elaborate and sophisticated version: using the CPU architecture to fly under the radar is not a common practice for encryptors,” said Fedor Sinitsyn, a security researcher at Kaspersky.


“We expect a rise in the number of attacks involving the Sodin encryptor, since the amount of resources that are required to build such malware is significant. Those who invested in the malware’s development definitely expect if to pay off handsomely,” Sinitsyn added.


The researchers found that most targets of Sodin ransomware were found in the Asian region: 17.6 percent of attacks have been detected in Taiwan, 9.8 percent in Hong Kong and 8.8 percent in the Republic of Korea.


Microsoft Making Streaming-Only Xbox With Super Low Price

Thurrott writer Brad Sams has proven in the past that he has insider knowledge of Microsoft and Xbox, with his reveal of Halo: Infinite before the game was officially announced at E3 2018 being just one example of this. Now Sams has uploaded a compelling new video where he reveals new information from sources detailing the long-rumored streaming-only Xbox console.


According to Sams, Microsoft is actively working on an Xbox “cloud console” that would function strictly as a device to stream xCloud, Microsoft’s game streaming service. Sams is unsure of when the streaming-only Xbox console will launch, if ever, but he did note that it’s more likely to release now that Microsoft has canceled its plans for Xbox Lockhart, and that it would likely have a low price point in the range of $60-$85.


Xbox Lockhart, for the uninitiated, was meant to be a less powerful version of Project Scarlett. However, it seems as though Lockhart was redundant because of this streaming-only console, and so Microsoft is shifting attention to it instead. The console will reportedly be a low power device with the main goal of providing a better experience for xCloud subscribers, with Sams comparing it to Google Stadia.