Protect your smart home by encrypting your router

Smart home technology has been around almost as long as wi-fi but it’s only with the recent lowering of prices and the accessibility of built-in software such as Apple’s Home Kit that the market has really exploded. As such, we’ve not had much time to stop and take stock as well as ask ourselves the most important question: s it safe?

The answer to this is, as many answers on safety on the internet: ‘it depends.’

The battle for your data

There’s a constant and escalating war in computer technologies between those seeking to protect their stuff and those seeking to exploit it. Even technologies and protocols that have been around since the inception of the internet are constantly having to be refined and made more secure.

New technologies are the hacker’s Christmas, however, because a new technology usually has a lot more exploitable bugs and back-doors which haven’t been closed off yet, and because the users of these technologies aren’t yet savvy enough with them to know how to protect themselves fully.

Even in the short time that Smart Homes have been a part of the normal person’s vocabulary, there have been breaches of the software used to govern them.

How Hackable is a Smart Home?

In 2014, HP’s Fortify security division ran tests to determine how easy it was to hack certain Smart Home devices, including home and garage door locks. They found ‘shocking’ results – including an exploit in some of the password reset utilities which could allow the hackers to isolate active accounts to target.

However the main problem encountered is simply that seven out of the ten devices did not encrypt their data.

This immediately opens the door to both direct attack from hackers and also information profiling which can lead to targeted phishing and fraud attempts. Using a simple data-capture router (anyone can build on a $40 Raspberry Pi), it’s possible to capture network traffic that leaves the house to communicate with the smart devices servers.

If that data is not encrypted the hacker can then read and interpret the information, and know all kinds of things about your house – including what times your door is and isn’t locked, for instance.

What can you do about it?

So, if the problem is that the providers of these devices aren’t encrypting the data, what can we do?

There are three basic answers:

1: Don’t use Smart Home technologies.

Not much fun. Next.

2: Make sure that you buy only technologies that can confirm they encrypted data to, at least, 128 bits.

Better.

However, if you’ve already bought a ton of stuff it’s a pain to have to replace it and you’ve got to check every device.

That just leaves option 3:

3: Encrypt every single packet of data that leaves your network.

It’s no big challenge to see that option 3 is the sensible one.

Encrypted data is becoming more and more important in our day-to-day lives. It’s also incredibly easy to achieve for even basic computer users. Just get a VPN. It’s the best way to protect your smart home devices.

VPNs will encrypt all data leaving along its connection, and they’re considered nigh-unhackable in the modern world.

What if your router doesn’t support a VPN?

The only challenge you will need to be aware of is that your router will need to support VPN configuration. Sadly a lot of the free routers that come with your ISP won’t.

However, if you’re already willing to lay out for the Smart Home Technologies, be assured that it’s worth paying for a VPN enabled router and a VPN for it to go onto.

Configuring a VPN on your home router

Configuring a router to use VPN is actually incredibly easy if it supports it. You can usually find instructions on the routers manufacture page but here’s the basic break down.

1: Have a VPN

2: Get the user name and password from your VPN provider for use with “VPN”;”L2TP”;”PPTP” or “SOCKS”.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the terms. The unique password should work for all compatible types. You may also want to double check the VPN server address.

3: Log into your router control panel. This is usually as simple as typing the IP/ web address of the router into your web browser. Mine is either router.home or 192.168.0.1. The default password should be printed on the back of your router or in the instruction manual.

4: Find a section in the web page called “VPN” or “VPN Client” and fill in the details you got in step 2. Click save or ok.

5: Done.

If you’re not sure what you’re doing it can take as much as 20 minutes to get it on the go, but it’s time well spent.

Once it’s up and running you don’t have to worry about each individual device or service encrypting its data. The VPN will do the lot for you without leaving any doors open in your network – or your home.

 

Dependable Services Providing Creative Magento Designing Solutions

 magento-2

Magento studio has come up with a whole new concept and innovative designing in doing the right thing in an effective way through simple and result oriented strategies. Searching the internet you will find quite a number of Magento design services who thoroughly understand that their success totally relies on customer satisfaction and for that reason they always deliver the best. They have a team of experienced and knowledgeable experts who specialize in Magento designing and have vast knowledge of some of the latest and innovative techniques that help in setting high standards in Magento designing.

Benefits of Magento designing

The services in Magento designing provided by these web developers are aimed at helping their clients by:

  • Providing outstanding designs to strengthen the brand identity
  • Providing services of highly qualified and experienced magento designers
  • Helping to build up confidence of consumers through stunning web designs
  • Helping to make an impressive online presence and enhance the ROI
  • Providing services that are cost effective.

Innovative solutions

The key attributes that are leveraged by these service providers include flexibility, experience, reliability and creativity. In order to help their clients reach the global market and to new horizons to market their products in an effective manner, they offer:

  • Integration and designing of Magento templates
  • Designing of landing page through Magento
  • Integration and designing of Magento themes
  • Magento customization
  • Magento skinning
  • Editing of pictures of various products
  • Designing of Newsletters
  • Creating absorbing effects, buttons and logos

What they do

They have a team of qualified and experienced Magento developers who will provide you with programming services for your website through magento designing to:

  •         Make your website featured with flexible options and provide solutions that are ideal for online store management.
  •         Enable you to manage, publish and update the web contents without the help of a developer.
  •         Help to create an ecommerce website that will be incorporated with excellent features like updating the catalogue, check out, managing the shopping cart and quality content management.
  •         Create stunning Magento themes that will make your website an absorbing and attractive one.

For e commerce websites

These Magento design development services are the right ones for building effective and result oriented ecommerce websites. You will be able to manage multiple stores under a single panel for administration and to ensure that visitors have a unique shopping experience. The reasons why these web development services are preferred over others are:

  • Give your website the right feel and look where users will find a great experience in online shopping
  • Provide you with the benefit of managing your ecommerce website efficiently in this age of online competition.
  • Manage several shopping carts where each product is displayed in different languages and at different locations and prices.
  • To help in the reduction of the acquisition cost of your business by having your old customers retained through providing them to reorder.

These expert service providers can be your perfect web development partner through magento designing that can place your brand soundly established in  the global market.

There are high profile magento design development services who are experts in the field of building websites that are stunning and result oriented for establishing a brand identity in around way.

The Evolution of Wearable Technology

Despite their continued popularity, it appears that smartphones may soon be replaced by another high-tech group of gadgets.

Over the past eight years, the wearable technology industry has evolved from simple devices used to track movements to fully-functioning computers that can be worn on the wrist or face. While consumers are understandably excited about these new innovations, wearable tech is beginning to give some businesses pause as they work to refine their BYOD strategies.

As these products grows more and more accessible to the average consumer, it will be interesting to see where the industry will go next.

For more information on the evolution of wearable technology, check out the infographic below:

Shoretel_GuestGraphic_300dpi-01 (2)

Graphic provided by ShoreTel, Inc.

 

Samsung Announces Galaxy Gear Smart Watch

 

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Samsung announces its Galaxy Gear Smart Watch.

This wearable device  (wrist-watch) that features a 1.63-inch, 320 x 320 Super AMOLED touchscreen and a flexible band. Samsung’s uses its Smart Relay feature which allows you to receive messages, while voice control lets you make and receive calls.

It is very easy to answer a call, all you have to do is hold your watch to your ear. The speakers and microphone have been positioned strategically in the band for talking.

You’ll also be able to take pictures with the 1.9-megapixel autofocus camera, which has a macro mode and Full HD video recording.

There are also dual microphones with noise cancellation and a speaker embedded into the adjustable wristband. Besides its built-in software,

The watch will run and include  apps like MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper and Path which I think are really useful as you can buy these fitness watches already which are bulky but don’t have half the features of the Gear Smart Watch.

Samsung believe this will become the new fashion icon around the world !! – we will have to wait and see.

Geeks Have Landed told you about a concept Samsung were working on back in May 2012  Proxima Watch By Samsung

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What the OUYA is going on!

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What is OUYA?

Ouya is a compact Android powered games console. You can use it to download a range of games.

It like taking your smart phone and making it into a miniature games console.

Now Ouya will let you try these games for free before you buy them which I think is a great and novel idea, we are all getting used to free apps and once you get to like them you then buy the extra levels well this is a play on this system and should work well.

Ouya downloads its games directly storing them on its own built in 8GB storage which is expandable by USB stick, which I like as my children are always losing discs or scratching them so they are no longer working (very expensive to replace).

You do get a controller with the console but you can also use a mobile phone to control the characters on the screen and play the game. (great for that friend that pops in and wants a go)

As Ouya states it plays all your apps on your TV, it can even stream shows, movies and music directly through your TV sound system. They have already paired with Twitch.tv, Crunchyroll, iheartradio, TuneIn, XBMC, Plex and Flixster and are continually adding more to the list.

It also comes with free developer tools to create and build your own OUYA games, so if you ever had that great game but just didn’t know how to create it here is your chance.

Specs on the OUYA

1GB RAM

8Gb Internal Storage –expandable by USB

1080p Via HDMI

USB 2.0

Conclusion

For the price of £99 you get a great gaming system which is actually so much more than that and this is for a consul you can not only play games on but also develop for. I’m definitely in. (although I will have to get passed my kids first !!)

Closure of Google Reader Make the switch before 1 July 2013

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With the closure of Google Reader don’t forget its vital to swap over to a new reader today. (Sunday 30 June 2013)

I would suggest Feedly which is a free service together with Mr Reader £2.49 from the Apple App store together they are the perfect team.

mr-reader

I recommended this wonderful article to help you make sure you move all your feeds across to Feedly from Google Reader before this closure on 1 July 2013.

This free step by step guide was written by Ed Dale and I think it explains everything perfectly.

Step by step guide to transfer your Google Reader to Feedly.

This will be downloaded as a pdf which is so much better to store and read.

I have already moved across so make sure you do today (Sunday 30 June 2013) before it’s too late.

 

 

New NARR8’s ‘STORYBUILDER’ Editing tool.

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If you haven’t yet heard of NARR8, allow us to introduce you. 

NARR8 is a free mobile app available on for iOS (iPad and iPad Mini), Android 4.0+, and as of Mon. June 24, Amazon Kindle Fire. A digital publisher of motion comics, interactive novels, and educational nonfiction series in a slew of genres, NARR8 boasts stories for all tastes: horror, mystery, action, science fiction, and more, bringing all original content to life with fluid animation, HD effects, interactive and gamification (games within the digital content) elements and full music soundtracks.

 What’s most exciting about NARR8, however, is that as of early June, NARR8 is allowing you, the reader, to write the stories. Enter StoryBuilder, NARR8’s new user generated content editor tool allows for anyone – indie artist, aspiring writer, hardcore fan, to create his or her very own fan fiction with the help of a single tool. A web-based program with supplied graphics, animations, word processor, sound effects, and more, StoryBuilder is easy-to-use, designed to allow users to focus on the assembly of their very own masterpiece. Soon, StoryBuilder will allow artists to upload their own graphics, as well!

 NARR8 STORYBUILDER2

Once complete, user stories will face a review period of up to 72 hours (things such as unnecessary profanity, lewd or crude content will not be admitted). After the review period, users creations will be uploaded directly to the NARR8 platform, alongside NARR8 original series, shared with the app’s 800,000+ users.

 “It has always been important to NARR8 to be able to assist talented artists and creators, most importantly our readers. By implementing ‘StoryBuilder,’ we are allowing our creative fans who wish to share their stories with our 800,000+ users all over the world. We’re excited to continue evolving the NARR8 product and look forward to what this great addition will bring,” said Founder Alexandr Vashchenko.

 StoryBuilder will also include a payout for the user, eventually. NARR8 shared with Geeks Have Landed that although user generated content will be available for free, their eventual plan is to license popular fan fictions to their platform, giving creators a cut of the proceeds once monetization of the series begins (monetization will begin if and when the user title reaches over 1,000 downloads).

 StoryBuilder is available to all registered NARR8 users, who will need their account login information to access the website.

 As mentioned, NARR8 is free to download, and can be downloaded on the Apple Appstore, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore.

 Check out the StoryBuilder tutorial videos.”

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Android vs. iOS: 3 Reasons Why Android is in the Lead

Apple vs Android

Android vs. iOS: 3 Reasons Why Android is in the Lead

By Andrea Fisher

Remember the board game, Monopoly— where you buy different properties, charge rent and slowly watch your empire skyrocket and grow? The purpose of the game is to develop faster than the competition; ultimately taking over and…monopolizing.

For the past six years, since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, we have watched Apple make revolutionary advancements in digital mobile technology.  From Apple’s highly evolved processors and touch screen features, to their introduction of the iPhone App Store, Android and Windows phones simply couldn’t keep up.

There were cell phones and there was the iPhone—the only smart phone of its kind. But every winning streak ultimately comes to an end. For the iPhone, that time is now; and Android has slashed its way to the top.

Let me ask this, ‘What is an iOS device without its Apple name?’

Apple’s ingenious marketing campaigns keep them as a leading contender in the mobile world; however, they have become too cocky during their time at the top. User loyalty can last only so long— before being outweighed by competitive technology.

Already, according to http://cnet.co/14WXnBU, the number of Android devices activated outnumbers iOS devices— 750 million Android to 600 million iOS.

Mobile users are finally seeing the outdated methods of Apple— flocking over to Android devices for a customized and extensive user interface.

Let’s take a look 3 Reasons why Android is in the lead:

  1. The iOS 7  is mimicking features long used by Android’s Interface

Apple has recently released the new iOS 7 interface, which uses a couple of Android-like features in its latest design. An iOS Control Center, which is brand new to Apple mobile devices, has been long used on Android devices. It gives users fast access to Bluetooth/ WiFi settings, screen adjustment settings, and the rear LED flash as a flashlight.

The iOS 7 still has the same basic grids of shortcuts. The home screens, still all feature the same four docked shortcuts at the bottom. The bookshelf has been stripped away— the wooden bookshelf with books and magazines that you can fill is no more.

Instead, Apple gave their home screens a larger, flatter, less cluttered appearance. This new look aims to step up to the popular look of Android’s Jelly Bean interface.

2.  Widgets and Home Screens

It all boils down to cell phone customization. Do mobile users want to have more personal options or do they want standard features that are upgraded from time to time? Want options; choose Android. Want standard features; go the iOS route.

What is truly distinct about Jelly Bean is that widgets can be placed on the home screen—something that iOS still lacks.

Android operating systems are based on the idea of utilizing a fully customizable user interface. Wallpapers, widgets and desktops can all be modified to suit the individual. Android widgets, which are downloaded from Google Play, provide a flexibility that the iOS 7 interface cannot match.

These widgets allow important information (like social feeds, email, etc.) to be stored at the heart of the device. In the contrast, iOS 7 users must use Apple’s standard icons over the pre-designated desktop pages.

When forking over several hundred dollars on a mobile device, it might be nice to be able to place and locate items as you like— just a thought.

  1. Non-Market  Apps

 Adding to Android’s flexibility, its users have the freedom to download and install apps from virtually anywhere. Android may as well be synonymous with word choice; the opposite seems to be the case with iOS devices.

iOS only allows self-made apps with a developer’s license or those that have been evaluated by Apple’s App Store censors.

Apple has helped shape and mold today’s smart phone; however, it also sparked a digital mobile race— one which drives Android to constantly step up and utilize innovative features. Apple has had a good run, but if they don’t address some things soon, they will fall further down the wayside.

All in all, Android platforms have come a long way since 2007. Their fast operating systems, boundless apps, and their individualized interface are nothing short of astonishing. In the race to catch up to the iPhone, Android devices now lead—taking the forefront.

 

Guest contributor Andrea Fisher is an online marketer and content specialist for  Detection Security Systems.

 She is a published journalist & blogger with an English degree and political science minor from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

 

Google Glasses Raise Concerns

google glasses

Google Glasses Raise Concerns

The concept is quite simple you were a pair of spectacles and this feeds the wearer information such as news, maps and also details about your surrounding you can even ask question when you looking at a building like when was Buckingham Palace Built.

Concerns

There are concerns being raised though about the glasses ability to capture video and take photos with the wink your eye (just hope you don’t have a nervous twitch).  These are concerns are based on the privacy of the public and that is why Google has made the glasses very visible to other people while in use.

Google have tried to remove issues by stating the glasses won’t allow the following features:

  • Clearly visible to members of the public.
  • Won’t feature Face Recognition Software.
  • Banned Porn Apps that would allow users to view adult videos and pictures.
  • Won’t allow you to watch video filmed while wearing the glasses.
  • Encouraged developers to openly try to hack the glasses.

The glasses then will be useful to check your twitter or Facebook accounts, help with directions and identifying your surroundings, taking pictures and videos.

My thoughts.

Although the idea is interesting and certainly will have a lot of interest my thoughts are that you can do all this on a smartphone so you are not getting anything new that you don’t already carry around with you.

I wear glasses and I suppose if this technology was built into them then it wouldn’t be much different to me as I am used to glasses, but say you don’t wear glasses then to have this on your face might be a bit strange and also do you want to walk around viewing the world like Data from Star Trek.  Not me, sometimes I just like to go for a walk forget about technology and enjoy the surrounding without interruption (very calming)

Let me know your thoughts :

  • Do you love the idea and would love a pair
  • Do you hate the thought of wearing them and would rather stick to your smart phone.
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