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Buying or selling a smarthome? Watch out for amnesia!

November 10, 2016 Leave a comment

Moving, 1988 - Richard Prior

With everyone, including Realtors talking about “smart homes” I’m not sure there’s anyone who’s involved in a home transaction who’s not aware that “smartness” is a compelling selling feature.

So much so, that the realtor company Coldwell Bankers teamed up with CNET a few months ago to define exactly “what a smart home is” – some criteria their members can use to decide whether your home is worthy of the title.

Simply, they define a smart home as one with internet-connected HVAC or security, plus something else, like connected lighting, audio, watering systems or safety systems.

Yes, a home with Sonos music and a Ring doorbell would be considered smart.

The problem is – much of the current generation of consumer smart technology is likely to be taken by the previous owner when they vacate. Read more…

Categories: SmartHome

It be that time o’ year again – 19th September, International Talk Like A Pirate Day

September 19, 2016 Leave a comment

2000px-flag_of_edward_england-svgWell ye scurvy land-lubbers, it’s that day again – t’ infamous Parlay Like A Pirate day.

http://talklikeapirate.com/

Tho’ its origins be clouded in mystery (well, unless you visit the website anyway) It’s become a globally celebrated phenomenon.

So much so that I be inclined t’ see how fast I could code up one o’ my infamous VBScript classes t’ help yonder less able translate their words.

Here it be in its full glory – yonder incredible, 17minute VBScript pirate speak class.

Read more…

Categories: Everything Else Tags:

SafeSkies TSA Master Key reverse engineered

July 25, 2016 Leave a comment

tsa-master_keys-travelsentry_xmas-2-100673378-large-idge

Another of the seemingly secure “TSA” approved luggage locks has fallen to good old fashioned reverse engineering.

According to SafeSkies Locks writer Steve Ragan, the key and the story behind how it was reverse-engineered using a number of store purchased locks was disclosed at a lockpicking conference.

If you remember, in 2015 a large number of TSA master keys became available after a picture of them was shared online, leading to the lockpicking community demonstrating how easy it is to convert an image into a working key. Now you can find the 3D files online to print your own.  Read more…

Categories: Everything Else

Realtors define “smart home” – but there’s a catch.

July 19, 2016 Leave a comment

Coldwell Banker teamed up with CNET to define what a smarthome really is – but they didn’t pay any attention to what is in my opinion the most important fact to smarthome buyers.

What technology is transferred to the new owners? 

Their examples include very transitory things, like smart TVs and entertainment systems which you would normally expect to leave with the original owner.

And, they don’t cover the difficult process of how exactly do you transfer control of permanent things like your HVAC system to new owners? Do you give them your user name and password? Can they even set a new user name?

For the more complex integrated systems – is it even possible to transfer control over without giving them “your account”? – after all, you don’t want to move into your new smarthome and find you have to set up all the automation again.

Of course for the original owner, if you give someone your account – are you able to set up a new one for your new home? Does the new owner get to see all the logs from your residence?  Read more…

Categories: SmartHome Tags: ,

NY State vs Microsoft – Part 5

July 17, 2016 Leave a comment

(You can find the previous part 4 of this topic here)

This week there was another progression in the infamous and long running Microsoft vs State of NY case – the one if you remember where the New York, USA court is demanding that Microsoft Ireland aquise to a subpoena issued in the USA.

Well this week the Second Circuit court of appeals agreed with Microsoft USA that the USA had no jurisdiction over assets within Ireland:

§ 2703 of the Stored Communications Act does not authorize courts to issue and enforce against U.S.‐based service providers warrants for the seizure of customer e‐mail content that is stored exclusively on foreign server.

A great writeup of the case can be found at Lawfareblog.

This case can still be raised to the Supreme Court, but since there are other legal methods for the USA to request the assistance of the law authorities in other countries, the door is finally closing on trying to impose domestic law on USA companies with assets in other countries.

The current global data economy and the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy act are woefully out of step, but this decision is the right one to support the global technology industry.

After all – if a court in the USA can compel the release of data from Ireland, surely a court in China can compel the release of data stored in the USA?

 

Smarthome Survey Shows Safety Is No.1 Concern

March 31, 2016 Leave a comment

Smart Home Survey
After surveying nearly 10,000 individuals crossing every continent, it’s obvious that concerns around personal data are the most pressing issue in adoption of smart home technology – more than 90% of people had concerns about cybersecurity.

People also had strong opinions on how things should be secured, with passwords being the most disliked option. It seems the future smart home will use fingerprints, voice and even eye scans instead.

Despite these concerns though, people are generally positive about “smarting up” their living spaces – 75% of participants expect to see real benefits, and were especially interested in smarter lighting, kitchen appliances and heating systems.

And, driving good design, 82% of our participants wanted “a single integrated security package” – another reason for the smarthome industry to drive towards consolidation.

You can find more information in the Atlantic Council smart home report, at http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/publications/reports/smart-homes-and-the-internet-of-things

Categories: SmartHome Tags: ,

How could Apple help bypass an iPhone Pin?

February 17, 2016 Leave a comment

This week BBC news reported that Apple would not help the FBI bypass the pin on one of their phones

The FBI have apparently asked Apple to create two assistive technologies :

“Firstly, it wants the company to alter Farook’s iPhone so that investigators can make unlimited attempts at the passcode without the risk of erasing the data.

Secondly, it wants Apple to help implement a way to rapidly try different passcode combinations, to save tapping in each one manually.”

Ignoring who is right or wrong in this matter – these are not uncommon requests – I’ve been asked by various governments and “three letter agencies” in the past to do exactly the same thing, which I too have politely declined.

Reading between the lines, the FBI requests would indicate an admission that the actual cryptography within the iPhone is robust and correctly implemented – and that there are no discovered back doors which would allow the FBI access to the data without Apple’s help.

So we can assume that the FBI cannot usually access data stored on iPhones. What help can Apple give?

Read more…

Categories: Encryption, Privacy Laws Tags: , ,