The smart gadgets that make our homes easy prey

A survey of 15 devices by the consumer group Which? found that eight were vulnerable to hacking via the internet, wi-fi or Bluetooth connections. Picture: Pixababy

A survey of 15 devices by the consumer group Which? found that eight were vulnerable to hacking via the internet, wi-fi or Bluetooth connections.

It comes as manufacturers routinely install technology into new household products that allows them to connect to the “internet of things”, an umbrella term for devices that can go online.

This lets them work with smartphones and “home hubs” such as Amazon’s Echo and its virtual assistant Alexa, as well as the Google Home device.

For a report called The Hackable Home, Which? set up a home with a host of gadgets and hired a team of ethical security researchers, SureCloud, to hack it.

One of its most disturbing discoveries involved CloudPets smart toys such as cats, unicorns and bears that play back messages sent to a child from family and friends.

Which? said: “Building on a recently published flaw, SureCloud hacked the toy and made it play its own voice messages. Scarily, anyone could use the same method to speak to children from outside in the street.”

The team then used the toy pets to send commands to the Amazon Echo home hub, using its “voice purchasing” system to order cat food from the online retailer.

Which? also found a flaw in home CCTV camera systems, increasingly popular with families who use to them to keep an eye on their property when they are out. The consumer group’s researchers found the Fredi Megapix system operates over the internet using a default administrator account without a password.

It said: “This a real privacy concern and we found thousands of similar cameras available for anyone to watch the live feed over the internet. Worse still, the hacker can even pan and tilt the cameras to monitor activity in the house.”

The Which? team also found it was easy to crack the password on the Virgin Media Super Hub 2 router, letting it on to the Wi-Fi network.

The consumer group said: “After SureCloud gained access to our Wi-Fi network, it could easily control any devices that didn’t require a password.”

Alex Neill, of Which?, said: “There is no denying the huge benefits that smart home gadgets and devices bring to our lives. However, consumers should be aware that some of these appliances are vulnerable and offer little or no security.

“There are a number of steps that people can take to better protect their home, but hackers are growing increasingly more sophisticated.But even as they transform our lives, they put families at risk from criminal hackers taking advantage of security flaws to gain virtual access to homes, a report warns.

“Manufacturers need to ensure that any smart product sold is secure by design.”

[“Source-iol”]

 

A smarter way to protect your smart home?

Dojo by BullGuard. — AFP pic

SAN FRANCISCO, June 2 — As smart home products and connected devices grow in popularity, so will the cyber risks they potentially pose to their owners.

“A smart home can quickly become a fool’s paradise when IoT devices are not properly secured,” said BullGuard CEO, Paul Lipman.

However, if the typical home with a high-speed wi-fi network had enterprise-grade security protecting it, many of these security issues could be eradicated.

And that’s the idea behind the BullGuard Dojo, which officially launches Thursday. It’s a wireless device with a dock that connects to a network and monitors all activity on it, all of the time. It is capable of spotting and preventing certain types of activity automatically and when it spots a threat that it can’t take care of autonomously, it alerts the owner via an app so that they can take further action.

Its security capabilities aren’t its USP however, its simplicity is what the company is hoping will make it a hit with the average household. Although it runs enterprise grade applications, users won’t need a formal qualification in IT or cyber security to get the most out of it.

And as cyber criminals are constantly adapting their activities to exploit new digital loopholes or product and device trends, consumers also need to stay on their toes if they want to keep their digital lives protected.

“Many IoT devices are notoriously insecure and it is relatively easy for hackers to exploit their vulnerabilities,” said Yossi Atias, General Manager, IoT Security of BullGuard. “Dojo solves the IoT security conundrum and protects every smart home device to ensure security and privacy.”

It used to be that if your PC was running the latest version of Windows and a watertight anti-virus program that you were protected from many cyber threats. However, in recent years, there’s been a marked increase in cybercrime activity targeting smartphones and tablets as the devices have become cemented into the daily life of the vast majority of consumers around the globe.

Likewise, according to Norton, thanks to the proliferation of home wi-fi the average consumer’s network itself is becoming a prime target for attacks.

Therefore, it stands to reason that adding new, less secure wireless devices, such as smart thermostats or baby monitors to these networks could result in making your home and its network far too attractive to cyber criminals.

“We’ve seen major privacy breaches in recent months caused by compromised devices, including Mirai, the largest ever DDOS attack launched from an IoT botnet, smart TVs hacked by the CIA, and even smart Teddy Bears go from cuddly to creepy. Device manufacturers often sacrifice security for speed to market and consumers are unwittingly paying the price,” Atias said.

The Dojo by BullGuard goes on sale at Amazon and BestBuy in the US this week and will retail for US$199 (RM853.44) including one year’s free service. It is destined to launch in the UK later in 2017. — AFP-Relaxnews

[“Source-themalaymailonline”]

10 must-have gadgets for every home

Image result for 10 must-have gadgets for every home

You’ve got your own place and it’s probably time to fix it up with all the necessary devices needed to turn your house to a home. The list of things you need is seemingly endless but on that long list, some items remain absolutely essential. Yudala provides an insight into the top 10 must-have devices for your home.

Electric kettle: In need of some hot water for a cup of tea or to make eba (garri)? Looking to fast-track boiling your rice? Or you simply wish to sterilise your baby’s bottle with some sizzling hot water? Then you definitely need an electric kettle.

Blender: The blender is one of the most under-rated home appliances ever! How often do you actually want to go out and grind your pepper at the public roadside grinder’s place? Do you feel this is a hygiene issue for you? One word: Blenders.

Home entertainment system: Are you a movie or music lover? Do you crave the sound effect and acoustic difference, which a quality entertainment system delivers? Then you definitely have to get a Home Theatre System. Imagine watching the ‘Fate of the Furious’ in your living room, supported by a powerful Home Entertainment System. Certainly an experience worth having.

Microwave oven: Nobody likes coming home to eat cold food after a long, hard day. A good microwave is in order and a very essential appliance for your home.

Refrigerator: Cold water, cold drinks, fresh fruits, preserved left-overs, what do all these wonderful things have in common? Yes, you got it right, a quality fridge. The importance of a refrigerator can never be overemphasised!

Gas cooker: You definitely have to cook something at some point. Even if noodles are all you are good at; a table top gas cooker is perfect. There are several great options at e-commerce stores. An added incentive is that gas cookers are quite durable and easy to clean.

Air conditioner: The weather in this part of the world can get really humid. Gone are the days when a good air-conditioning unit was considered a luxury. With several competing brands in the market, you can now get an air-conditioning unit that combines excellent design with great functionality!

Washing machine: Dirty laundry? No worries. Now you can do your laundry in record time and without expending your energy. With a small budget, you can get a useful, quality brand that can handle your laundry tasks for many years.

TV set: Your home is certainly incomplete without a TV set hanging from your living room wall. Interestingly, TV sets come in various screen sizes and in most cases, the bigger the screen, the better for your viewing pleasure, especially for movie and sport lovers.

Inverter: One of the most important items your home needs is a quality inverter. How do you intend to power all your appliances when public power supply fails? Unfortunately, power supply is often erratic and cannot be relied upon exclusively. If noisy generators are not your thing, you can give yourself and the neighbours the much-needed peace of mind by getting an inverter.

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[“Source-ndtv”]

Facebook Working on a Teen Messaging App Called ‘Talk’: Report

Facebook Working on a Teen Messaging App Called 'Talk': Report

HIGHLIGHTS
App will allow parents to monitor who their children are in contact with
The app, called Talk, cannot be searched by general public
The app is expected to be for those who are 13-years-old and above
In a bid to protect vulnerable teenagers from online bullying and exploitation, Facebook is reportedly launching a new messaging app that will allow parents to monitor who their children are in contact with.

The app, called Talk, cannot be searched by general public but just by the teens who use it and will be closed to strangers who are looking to take advantage of teenagers on the Internet.

According to the website The Information, a software code was found in the main app that revealed signs of new parental controls that would set the app apart from Facebook’s Messenger app.

The code said, “Talk is a messaging app where you fully control the contacts and your child uses the Talk app to chat with you in Messenger.”

 

The app is expected to be for those who are 13-years-old and above and will not require the user to have a Facebook profile.

Recently, The Australian newspaper reported that the social network can help advertisers target users as young as 14.

While the parental controls in the new messaging app may turn some teens off due to limitations on their freedom on the social media, the service may be helpful to parents who are worried about their inability to monitor to whom their kids talk to online.

[“Source-ndtv”]

WhatsApp Starts Allowing Sharing of All File Types on Android, iPhone, Windows Phone: Reports

WhatsApp Starts Allowing Sharing of All File Types on Android, iPhone, Windows Phone: Reports

HIGHLIGHTS
Users in Kuwait and Sri Lanka are seeing the support for all file type
The roll out has happened only to select users
WhatsApp will roll out support to everyone soon
WhatsApp has long been used as a medium to share photos, videos, and even Word docs. And for those files that weren’t supported on WhatsApp, users tend to go the long route by uploading them first on the cloud, and then sharing the link for download. There are several other workarounds, including third-party apps, to get your unsupported file from one sender to another, but it appears WhatsApp no longer wants you to use those. The company is said to be testing support for all types of file transfers (including archives) on Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone with a limited number of users, removing any hindrance of file sharing on WhatsApp.

WABetaInfo spotted this roll out, and claims that it’s a phased one. While some users in countries like India, Japan, Kuwait, Sri Lanka have reported that the support has arrived, there are several other users that do not see it still. However, WhatsApp can be expected to roll this feature out to everyone in the due course of time. The file sharing limit is at 128MB on iOS, 64MB on Web, and 100MB on Android, WABetaInfo reports.This new feature will now allow you to share video in a wide variety of formats, MP3 songs, or even APK files for that matter on WhatsApp. As of now, it’s now certain what type of file-checking system WhatsApp has put into place to prevent transfer of malicious or booby-trapped files. The other neat addition noted by the tipster is that with the new sharing feature, WhatsApp also allows you to send uncompressed photos and videos without compromising on resolution, but the ceiling limit is too low for high-quality video clips of sufficient length. Presumably, this cap has been enforced to not overwhelm WhatsApp’s servers with huge files.
WhatsApp is also tipped to be working on a recall feature that allows you to undo a message sent to someone, and is also working on bringing the new Status feature to WhatsApp Web.

[“Source-ndtv”]

Facebook Launches Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK

Facebook Launches Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Facebook will launch the Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK
  • Looks to train and fund local organizations to combat extremist content
  • EU said that social networks have improved in removing hate content

Facebook is launching a UK programme to train and fund local organizations to combat extremist material online, as Internet companies attempt to clamp down on hate speech and violent content on their services.

Facebook, which outlined new efforts to remove extremist and terrorism content from its social media platform last week, will launch the Online Civil Courage Initiative in the UK on Friday, the company said in a statement.

The new initiative will train non-governmental organizations to help them monitor and respond to extremist content and create a dedicated support desk so they can communicate directly with Facebook, the company said.

“There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer. “We use technology like AI to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counterterrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform.”

The British government has stepped up attacks on Silicon Valley Internet companies for not acting quickly enough to take down extremist online propaganda and fostering “safe places” where extremists can breed following a string of attacks in recent months in London and Manchester.

 

Facebook, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Twitter have responded by saying they have made heavy investments and employed thousands of people to take down hate speech and violent content over the past two years. Security analysts say the efforts have dramatically reduced the use of these platforms for jihadist recruitment efforts, although more work needs to be done.

Prime Minister Theresa May has sought to enlist British public opinion to force the US Internet players to work more closely with the government rather than proposing new legislation or policies to assert greater control over the web.

Earlier this week, May urged fellow European Union leaders at a meeting in Brussels to join her in putting pressure on tech companies to ‘rid terrorist material from the internet in all our languages’.

She called for the Internet companies to shift from reactively removing content when they are notified of it, towards greater use of automatic detection and removal tools – and ultimately preventing it from appearing on their platforms in the first place.

[“Source-ndtv”]

Attleboro High students win web design contest

AHS WEB KIDS 6/215/17

ATTLEBORO

Computer information students from Attleboro High School dominated a recent web design competition sponsored by Bristol Community College.

Two-student teams of Attleboro juniors won first and second place in the competition that attracted students from throughout Southeastern Massachusetts.

Zion Armour and William Harmelink won the challenge with classmates Colby Goyette and Benjamin Tibnan coming in close behind.

At class on Wednesday, Armour and Harmelink said they learned a lot from the program.

They said the challenge was to use different computer languages to write codes to replicate a series of eight websites they were shown.

“At first I was leery of it, but it was definitely a learning experience,” Armour said.

Harmelink said he knew most of the languages he was required to use, but he did not consider himself fluent in them until the competition.

Teacher Frank Balcarcel said he started entering students in the competition as soon as he came to Attleboro High four years ago after seeing its benefits at another school.

He said knowing how to write codes and create websites prepares students for a number of jobs in the field.

Principal Bill Runey said the wins in the competition reflect highly on the career and technical education department at Attleboro High.

“Our CTE program continues to be a vehicle for our students to have relevant experiences. Mr. Balcarcel has provided them with an engaging opportunity that has prepared them to be competitive beyond the walls of AHS,” he said.

[“Source-thesunchronicle”]

Top San Jose Web Design Firm Awards Released for June 2017 by 10 Best Design

Image result for Top San Jose Web Design Firm Awards Released for June 2017 by 10 Best Design

Passionate and consistent awards organization 10 Best Design brings attention to web firms that are staffed by people with a drive for producing exceptional work. With the Best San Jose Web Design Firm List for June 2017, the organization highlights top-notch agencies on a list that garners respect and attention.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (PRWEB) June 23, 2017

10 Best Design recently presented the winners of its Best San Jose Web Design awards for June 2017. Rasteroids and Baunfire were among the honorees, along with Big Drop Inc.

The representatives of 10 Best Design are passionate about providing people with information and updates regarding which digital advertising firms can offer them excellent, effective services. As such, 10 Best Design is pleased to reveal its newest award category: Best Web Design Firm. This release provides a summary of the top San Jose Web design firms as well as several other digital firms that made the list.

Being one of the best web design firms, Big Drop Inc is the organization business owners should get in touch with when they realize that they’re in need of web design and development services that will increase their sphere of online influence. The professionals of this organization know which techniques to deploy for the purpose of making this happen, and one of them is responsive web design. The Big Drop Inc professionals utilize this strategy to ensure that the site is mobile-friendly, thereby ensuring that it can generate more traffic and sales. The Big Drop Inc reps also offer dynamic graphic design services that result in an incredibly innovative website that stands out from the cookie-cutter replicas that already exist in the online world.

Top web design agency Rasteroids Design is a community of dedicated, diligent site developers who thrive on helping business owners share their brand with online audiences in an interactive, engaging way. The techies of Rasteroids Design are passionate about maintaining a holistic approach to the web design and development process, and this means that they will optimize sites for all of the key components. Some of those components include mobile friendliness, functionality, engagement, and aesthetic appeal. Also note that the Rasteroids Design professionals maintain a client-centered outlook which ensures that the business owner’s specific interests and brand vision are always understood and respected.

Another top San Jose web design agency, BAUNFIRE is a community of sedulous, diligent digital marketing experts who operate in excellence so that the client can attain an exceptional return on investment (ROI). To ensure that the client’s website is absolutely incredible, the BAUNFIRE techies maintain an innovative approach that involves coming up with unique templates, backgrounds, colors and fonts. In addition to making the website aesthetically appealing, the BAUNFIRE representatives focus on optimizing sites for mobile friendliness, usability, and conversion.

[“Source-benzinga”]

Learn how to use Adobe apps, HTML, and CSS to become an in-demand web designer

This is a paid placement and if you buy something through this article or on the BGR Store we will receive compensation from retail partners.

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Become an expert in using Adobe apps to design amazing things on your computer. A lifetime subscription to The Web Design CPD Certification Bundle is only $39.

[“Source-bgr”]

 

Indian-origin UK graduate wins £2 million software deal

Hardeep ‘Harry’ Jawanda

Jawanda did his BSc in information technology management for business at Birmingham City University.(File photo)

Hardeep ‘Harry’ Jawanda, a former England hockey player, has secured a £2 million deal with a global education technology firm that will see his software spread across the UK and Australasia.

Jawanda, CEO and co-founder of the Wambiz private social network, did his BSc in information technology management for business at Birmingham City University, graduating with first-class honours in 2009.

His company’s intellectual property rights and distribution network have been acquired by the Tribal Group, which provides services and software to the higher education sector. The deal includes distribution in education markets across the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Established in 2013 by Jawanda (30) and business partner Andrew West, Wambiz provides a safe means for students to connect, communicate and collaborate with peers, teachers and institutions in an engaging yet controlled manner.

The university said in a release that with young people increasingly unresponsive to traditional communications such as texts and emails, Wambiz has the same look and feel as the social media platforms students are using every day in their personal lives.

This results in greatly increased student engagement outside of the classroom, but at the same time does not blur the line between social and school life, safeguarding the professional integrity of teachers and student welfare.

Jawanda said: “The deal with Tribal is our largest to date and it was important for us to find a partner that understands education and could take our solution deeper into that market…Tribal has the resources to extend and grow this functionality in the education markets within their territories whilst allowing Wambiz to focus on the rest of the world.”

[“Source-ndtv”]