Category Archives: Security

Massive cyber attack on Russian banks allows hackers to access 24,000 CCTV and home video cameras in 30 different countries

“A massive cyberattack has hit at least five of Russia’s largest banks allowing hackers to access 24,000 CCTV and home video cameras in 30 countries including the U.S.

The attacks saw as many as 660,000 requests being sent every single second using a network of more than 24,000 hijacked devices located in 30 countries.

Russia’s central bank said the attacks used botnets made up of electronic devices hooked up to the internet such as CCTV cameras or digital video recorders plugged in to offices and homes worldwide.”

So own up, have you got a connected device? Perhaps not yet but are thinking of getting one. This could be in the form of wireless lights, an internet connected weather station or a security camera that is connected to the internet. Maybe you are thinking of getting an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot or a Google Home. Then again, have you thought about the Apple TV Box, Amazon Fire or Google Chromecast.

What if all or some of these devices were hacked? Whilst some of the cool features of the devices are labour saving, smart and probably slick to own, have you ever thought about have secure they are?

With hacks like the one above and more previously, are we becoming to dependent on the world of connected devices!

Source

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Lizard Squad hacked thousands of cameras to attack websites!

“The hacking collective Lizard Squad isn’t relying solely on masses of compromised PCs to cause some grief online. Security researchers at Arbor Networks have discovered that the outfit compromised several thousand closed-circuit cameras and webcams to create a botnet that it promptly used for denial of service attacks against bank, gaming sites, governments and internet providers. Each device might not be as individually powerful as a PC, but they add up — some attacks flooded sites with as much as 400Gbps of data.

As to the reasons for infiltrating these cameras? Simply put, they’re easy targets.”

With more and more devices being able to connect to the internet, it won’t be long before a hack occurs that closes down a home. Belkin’s WeMo recently updated its firmware for this very reason, discovering a vulnerability that could allow a hacker to replace its firmware with a malicious one and take over your home and more.

More at Engadget

Netatmo Welcome Camera for iOS & Android – Review – Updated 4 months later

Welcome to my review of the Netatmo Welcome Indoor Camera.

  
The Netatmo Welcome Indoor camera unique selling point is its ability to recognise faces and then send you notifications to your phone.

See video from Netatmo below showing this in action.

The Key Specifications

– Dimensions – 45x45x155mm
– In the Box – 1 x Welcome camera, 1 x USB cable, 1 x power adapter, 1 x 8GB micro SD card
– Build – Single piece of durable aluminium shell, Matte black plastic piece infrared transparent.
– Hardware Requirements – High-speed Internet connection needed, Public hotspots not supported.
– Connectivity Specifications – Ethernet RJ-45 port: 10/100 Mbits, Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4G)
– Camera – Video sensor: 4MP, Resolution: Up to 1920×1080
– Minimum iOS 8 for iPhone / iPad, Android 4.3 minimum
– Browser Support – Webapp available for the two latest versions of: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer
– Monthly Costs – Nil, Free to Use, App available on the App Store / Google Play.Free access to your camera online.
– Data Storage – MicroSD card up to 32GB (8GB class 10 MicroSD card included)
– Faces – Max 16 faces

The Hardware

  

The Netatmo Welcome camera is a lovely piece of hardware and doesn’t look like a typical camera. This means it gets blended into your environment without people gets paranoid they are being “watched”. In fact, you forget its actually there. On the rear there is an ethernet port, micro SD card slot and micro USB port. The front is minimalistic.

Background Notes for Review

Notes – I originally reviewed this after 3 weeks. Further down is my update after 4 months following a significant firmware update that added lots of new features which are documented along with a tip if you have dogs.

I have been using the Netatmo Welcome for 3 weeks now and overall have been pleased with its operation and results and intend to keep this indefinitely as my home connected security indoor camera. I also have several IP Cameras which were a total nightmare to setup and configure as remote access involved changing my home router configuration. I have now retired these. In terms of other connected devices, I have a Netatmo Urban Weather station which is coming up to 2 years old and a range of lights that are controlled from my iPhone and or Apple Watch. Due to protecting my own privacy, screen shots of the app in operation have been edited to remove views of my home.

The Initial Setup

Netatmo have made the first setup as simply as possible. I setup my Netatmo Welcome camera using my iPhone 6S Plus. I downloaded the Netatmo Welcome app from the Apple App Store and then followed the on screen setup instructions provided by the app. The app asks permissions to share Wi-Fi setup from your iPhone to the Welcome camera and literally within 5 minutes the camera is connected. Points to note. The Welcome camera only operates at 2.4G . Over the next 24 hours a new firmware arrived and got installed on the camera and the app showed me faces and asked me to identify who the respective people were. For each member of your house, a face profile gets created.

The Operation

The concept of the Netatmo Welcome camera is simple. It learns all the faces of people who live in your home/flat and then notifies you when somebody comes home and tells you who they are and also if somebody arrives who is not recognised. When movement is detected, it records a clip onto the micro SD card which can be streamed back on to your phone and or downloaded remotely to your phone as well. When at home you can also play back the recorded video clips.

  
  
Other options include a range of privacy and advanced security options. For example if your Netatmo password gets changed, or someone logs into your account you can receive an email. Netatmo will also block your account if there are too many failed attempts occur. In terms of learning faces, you can go into the app settings and speed up the learning process. You can also tell the system when the house is empty and adjust other settings as shown below.

  
Using the app on your phone is really easy. It shows a live view snapshot when you open the app. You can then hit the play icon to stream live video. Turning your phone landscape provides full screen playback and streaming. Scrolling the screen reveals details of who is at home and or when they were last seen. Scrolling the screen the other way reveals a list of when movement was detected. Tap on one notifications and you can watch or download the recorded movement. Now if your home is broken into and someone steals your camera, you will get a notification that Welcome was switched off. The person cannot access your data and videos without your Netatmo account details. However, this also means if the camera is never recovered, you cannot view the videos stored on the camera either. However, if you sign into My Netatmo on the web you will be able to see a screen shot of each video before it started the recording of the motion.

The video quality is excellent and the camera switches to night mode which provides clear images and video as well.

As I have mentioned I have had the Netatmo Welcome indoor camera for 3 weeks now. In that time, the camera has come offline about 4 times for no apparent reasons and then reconnected a few hours later. I don’t know if its my broadband dropping although that wouldn’t surprise me as the connection does vanish occasionally. I have only had to pull the power cord out and replug back in to restart the camera just once when it became unresponsive. In terms of recognising faces this is now 90% accurate. I have relocated the camera several times to get a better position. To be honest, positioning is crucial. If the camera is recording motion to the micro SD card, it is not possible to see a live view until this has finished.

UPDATE – 4 months later, Netatmo released a major firmware update. This improved its performance and reliability but also added Dropbox support and tags. With Dropbox you can now upload video clips to the cloud instead of using the micro SD card.

wp-1467698483257.jpg

Tags are waterproof sensors for doors and windows. Photo above is one of my tags. The Netatmo tags are superb as they detect the motion before the intrusion occurs. That is because they detect vibrations. The Tags’ have an integrated open/closed state sensor, so you can choose to be alerted if you have accidentally left a window or the garage door open. And then you can check directly on your smartphone if all windows are closed.

Tips – I have 3 labradors and the Welcome camera was recognising my dogs faces. So instead of telling the Welcome camera they were not faces, I did the opposite. So now it recognises my 3 labradors and that means I don’t get any false notifications about an unknown face.

The Special Stuff

The Netatmo Welcome camera supports third apps and that extends to IFTTT. This opens up a whole world of different sequences that can be achieved. See screen shot below.

  
You can also add Welcome tags to the system, sensors for doors and windows. The other aspect I like about the Netatmo Welcome Indoor camera is once bought, there are no other costs. Its free and it has no monthly charges either.

As I mentioned already, Netatmo allow you to sign into to your camera via a web browser which uses their web app. Using a web browser, if you have other Netatmo products, you can access all the different connected devices in one go.

Conclusion

The Netatmo Welcome Indoor camera recommended retail price is £199, although if you click the link below it is available for a lot less. It provides piece of mind with its face recognition and notifications with zero ongoing costs once purchased. Add to the fact it supports third party app integration and it becomes a decent investment. It also doesn’t look like a typical camera so blends into the home environment.

And now after using it for over 4 months the added new features of tags and Dropbox integration really add to its value.

Highly Recommended.

Info and Deals on the Netatmo Welcome Home Camera with Face Recognition

Piper NV Smart Security Alarm with HD Video Camera review

Piper NV Security camera

Welcome to my review of the Piper NV Smart Security Alarm with HD Camera. The Piper NV system costs £229.

Piper NV Security camera

I have now had the Piper NV for over one month before writing this review to try and see how it performs over this period.

Key Specifications

The Piper NV is a device that lets you manage and connect with your home. For starters the camera is a 180 degree HD affair. You can set the device up to capture video and send it to your phone when doors are opened and more. Notifications are customisable. You can add home automation accessories to Piper to control lights and appliances remotely, with no monthly fees or contracts. The HD camera is excellent quality and I could see everything with ease.

Setting up the Piper was as easy as downloading the app, create an account, run the setup and connecting via wiFi. There are customisable security modes: home, away and vacation. The Piper NV includes motion, sound detection, a high quality microphone and a super loud 105db siren.

With the camera you have options to pan, tilt, zoom and split screen while watching live or recorded video with pan, tilt and zoom capabilities. You can even split your screen into four independent viewing zones. On top of all that there is two-way audio.

What makes Piper NV more useful is support for Z-Wave home automation accessories. I linked up some Z-wave window and door sensors into the app and system. You can connect up to 5 Pipers.

So apart from Z-wave support the Piper NV system also support IFTTT integration. Using IFTTT I was able to get the Piper to automatically arm or disarm according to three factors:

1. Geolocation – e.g. if I was on my way home, then Piper could disarm

2. Time – e.g. at a certain time it could disarm or arm.

3. Connection to Wi-Fi – e.g. if I left home with my smartphone the Piper would arm itself

But auto arm and disarm isn’t the only IFTTT recipe. The options are only as limited as your skill with IFTTT.

During the month, the app got updated. This provide the app with a fresh new theme and provided a more streamlined experience due to –

· More intuitive layout with three tabs – Dashboard, Events and Rules

· Security modes have been simplified to ‘Armed Away’, ‘Armed Stay’ and ‘Disarmed’

· Piper View – view a live feed of all Pipers that you have linked

· Panic Slider – trigger the blaring siren directly from the dashboard

· Wireless accessory drawer – quickly see the status of every wireless accessory you have connected

· Faster app start-up

· Enhanced setup experience

If the power goes, the device does have battery back up. Also Piper offers cloud storage for up to 100 snippets of recorded events at no additional charge. That’s really cool.

One aspect which would impact the service would be if Piper NV servers were out of action. This would be the same for most other systems too.

Because I live on Dartmoor which is rural and has low internet speeds, I did notice a time delay of 10 seconds from sending an audio message to the message being pumped out of the Piper NV. A faster internet connection will improve this situation.

Final Thoughts

Overall this is a versatile security system and without any monthly charges. Recommended.

More information and the latest deals on Amazon UK – Click HERE.

Items in the Review Process – Plus Special Offer

There are a number of devices/gadgets currently undergoing the review process. These include the following –

LG G5 BCK-5100 Hybrid Battery Charger & Portable Battery – Now available from Clove Technology

LG 360 VR – Now available from Clove Technology

LG 360 Cam – Now available from Clove Technology

Piper NV Smart Security System – Details and available from Amazon

Other items expected soon which will be reviewed include the remaining LG G5 Friends – LG Cam Plus, HiFi DAC, LG Rolling Bot and the LG Tone Platinum. – Full details – LG G5 Friends

Special Offer – I bought yesterday a 4 pack of USB Type C cables with different sizes. (1 x 10cm cable,2 x 100cm cable, 1 x 200cm cable) Tested and certified to USB Type-C standards and with the 56k ohm resistor. Available at Clove

None of the Clove Technology links are affiliate referral links. I just like using them and have done for many years. It is really good to see that they have stock of the latest devices and gadgets, so do have a look at all their other items 🙂

There are a few other items/phones/audio/gadgets undergoing the review process too 🙂

And don’t forget if you’re buying anything on Amazon, use the link below. Helps Gavin’s Gadgets towards the site running costs and at no extra cost to yourself!

AMAZON LINK

Netatmo Welcome Indoor Camera for iOS & android – review – Updated 4 months later

Welcome to my review of the Netatmo Welcome Indoor Camera.

  
The Netatmo Welcome Indoor camera unique selling point is its ability to recognise faces and then send you notifications to your phone.

See video from Netatmo below showing this in action.

The Key Specifications

– Dimensions – 45x45x155mm
– In the Box – 1 x Welcome camera, 1 x USB cable, 1 x power adapter, 1 x 8GB micro SD card
– Build – Single piece of durable aluminium shell, Matte black plastic piece infrared transparent.
– Hardware Requirements – High-speed Internet connection needed, Public hotspots not supported.
– Connectivity Specifications – Ethernet RJ-45 port: 10/100 Mbits, Wireless: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4G)
– Camera – Video sensor: 4MP, Resolution: Up to 1920×1080
– Minimum iOS 8 for iPhone / iPad, Android 4.3 minimum
– Browser Support – Webapp available for the two latest versions of: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer
– Monthly Costs – Nil, Free to Use, App available on the App Store / Google Play.Free access to your camera online.
– Data Storage – MicroSD card up to 32GB (8GB class 10 MicroSD card included)
– Faces – Max 16 faces

The Hardware

  

The Netatmo Welcome camera is a lovely piece of hardware and doesn’t look like a typical camera. This means it gets blended into your environment without people gets paranoid they are being “watched”. In fact, you forget its actually there. On the rear there is an ethernet port, micro SD card slot and micro USB port. The front is minimalistic.

Background Notes for Review

Notes – I originally reviewed this after 3 weeks. Further down is my update after 4 months following a significant firmware update that added lots of new features which are documented along with a tip if you have dogs.

I have been using the Netatmo Welcome for 3 weeks now and overall have been pleased with its operation and results and intend to keep this indefinitely as my home connected security indoor camera. I also have several IP Cameras which were a total nightmare to setup and configure as remote access involved changing my home router configuration. I have now retired these. In terms of other connected devices, I have a Netatmo Urban Weather station which is coming up to 2 years old and a range of lights that are controlled from my iPhone and or Apple Watch. Due to protecting my own privacy, screen shots of the app in operation have been edited to remove views of my home.

The Initial Setup

Netatmo have made the first setup as simply as possible. I setup my Netatmo Welcome camera using my iPhone 6S Plus. I downloaded the Netatmo Welcome app from the Apple App Store and then followed the on screen setup instructions provided by the app. The app asks permissions to share Wi-Fi setup from your iPhone to the Welcome camera and literally within 5 minutes the camera is connected. Points to note. The Welcome camera only operates at 2.4G . Over the next 24 hours a new firmware arrived and got installed on the camera and the app showed me faces and asked me to identify who the respective people were. For each member of your house, a face profile gets created.

The Operation

The concept of the Netatmo Welcome camera is simple. It learns all the faces of people who live in your home/flat and then notifies you when somebody comes home and tells you who they are and also if somebody arrives who is not recognised. When movement is detected, it records a clip onto the micro SD card which can be streamed back on to your phone and or downloaded remotely to your phone as well. When at home you can also play back the recorded video clips.

  
  
Other options include a range of privacy and advanced security options. For example if your Netatmo password gets changed, or someone logs into your account you can receive an email. Netatmo will also block your account if there are too many failed attempts occur. In terms of learning faces, you can go into the app settings and speed up the learning process. You can also tell the system when the house is empty and adjust other settings as shown below.

  
Using the app on your phone is really easy. It shows a live view snapshot when you open the app. You can then hit the play icon to stream live video. Turning your phone landscape provides full screen playback and streaming. Scrolling the screen reveals details of who is at home and or when they were last seen. Scrolling the screen the other way reveals a list of when movement was detected. Tap on one notifications and you can watch or download the recorded movement. Now if your home is broken into and someone steals your camera, you will get a notification that Welcome was switched off. The person cannot access your data and videos without your Netatmo account details. However, this also means if the camera is never recovered, you cannot view the videos stored on the camera either. However, if you sign into My Netatmo on the web you will be able to see a screen shot of each video before it started the recording of the motion.

The video quality is excellent and the camera switches to night mode which provides clear images and video as well.

As I have mentioned I have had the Netatmo Welcome indoor camera for 3 weeks now. In that time, the camera has come offline about 4 times for no apparent reasons and then reconnected a few hours later. I don’t know if its my broadband dropping although that wouldn’t surprise me as the connection does vanish occasionally. I have only had to pull the power cord out and replug back in to restart the camera just once when it became unresponsive. In terms of recognising faces this is now 90% accurate. I have relocated the camera several times to get a better position. To be honest, positioning is crucial. If the camera is recording motion to the micro SD card, it is not possible to see a live view until this has finished.

UPDATE – 4 months later, Netatmo released a major firmware update. This improved its performance and reliability but also added Dropbox support and tags. With Dropbox you can now upload video clips to the cloud instead of using the micro SD card.

wp-1467698483257.jpg

Tags are waterproof sensors for doors and windows. Photo above is one of my tags. The Netatmo tags are superb as they detect the motion before the intrusion occurs. That is because they detect vibrations. The Tags’ have an integrated open/closed state sensor, so you can choose to be alerted if you have accidentally left a window or the garage door open. And then you can check directly on your smartphone if all windows are closed.

Tips – I have 3 labradors and the Welcome camera was recognising my dogs faces. So instead of telling the Welcome camera they were not faces, I did the opposite. So now it recognises my 3 labradors and that means I don’t get any false notifications about an unknown face.

The Special Stuff

The Netatmo Welcome camera supports third apps and that extends to IFTTT. This opens up a whole world of different sequences that can be achieved. See screen shot below.

  
You can also add Welcome tags to the system, sensors for doors and windows. The other aspect I like about the Netatmo Welcome Indoor camera is once bought, there are no other costs. Its free and it has no monthly charges either.

As I mentioned already, Netatmo allow you to sign into to your camera via a web browser which uses their web app. Using a web browser, if you have other Netatmo products, you can access all the different connected devices in one go.

Conclusion

The Netatmo Welcome Indoor camera recommended retail price is £199, although if you click the link below it is available for a lot less. It provides piece of mind with its face recognition and notifications with zero ongoing costs once purchased. Add to the fact it supports third party app integration and it becomes a decent investment. It also doesn’t look like a typical camera so blends into the home environment.

And now after using it for over 4 months the added new features of tags and Dropbox integration really add to its value.

Highly Recommended.

Info and Deals on the Netatmo Welcome Home Camera with Face Recognition

Fake TV – A Smart Security Gadget – Review

FakeTV with Response logo_window

I had heard a lot about the Fake TV so decided to try one myself. It is manufactured by Response Electronics. With the Fake TV it appears as if you are at home watching TV and therefore fools burglars to think somebody is at home. 

Key Features 

– Visual deterrent to intruders/burglars: giving the appearance that someone is at home watching TV

– Realistic TV programme simulation: completely unpredictable, no light or colour pattern repeats

– Simulates scene changes, light fades, light flickering, on-screen motion & colour changes

– Eco friendly – uses less power than a night light

– The built in computer controls its super bright multi-colour LED light output – equivalent to a typical 27″ TV

– Light sensor automatically triggers FakeTV at dusk

– Two settings: Dusk+4 hours and Dusk+7 hours

– Automatically turns on when dark outside (0.5 lux)

– Automatic shut-off at the switch selectable time

– Mains powered – 240V AC Adapter included

This £25 gadget is so simple and brilliant to use, I just wished I had invented it myself. All you have to do was plug it in a room, in a way that it can’t be seen from the outside. You could for example close your curtains so there is just a peep of activity visible from outside. If plugging it in upstairs, it probably is not as important to shield it from people outside as they are unlikely to be that tall to see thru an upper floor window from the outside. Once in position, just turn it on. 

For my tests, I plugged it into a front bedroom located upstairs. It came on automatically at dusk. I then stepped outside to view the scene appearing from the upstairs window. It absolutely looked like someone was watching TV. I watched the view from outside for a good 30 mins. A few hours later, I went outside again and was just as amazed as I was originally. In fact, it looked like adverts were running at one point too. Size wise the Fake TV is the size of your hand. It projects a strong mix of light across your room with ease. It also only uses the same amount of energy as a night light. 

The Fake TV is a simple idea but a good security device to act as a deterrent against burglars. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best, and this is one of them. 

Fake TV on Argos UK – Click Here