Monthly Archives: December 2015
I received an email yesterday from John McAfee. Yup – he’s the guy that founded McAfee Antivirus, he’s the libertarian party candidate in the 2016 presidential election and he’s also promoting his new security technology device called Everykey!
Everykey is a brand new product designed to replace your passwords and keys. When Everykey is close to your phone, laptop, tablet, house door, car door, or another access-controlled device, it unlocks that device. When you walk away, that device locks back down. Everykey can also log you into your website accounts. If you lose your Everykey, you can remotely freeze it, so no one else can use it.
Using the EveryKey App, you pair your key to your devices, manage key settings such as the active range and even freeze your key if it is lost or stolen. The EveryKey app also pushes the latest over-the-air software updates to your key so you stay up to date with features and updated security standards.
There are currently 2 different device options.
A Wrist Band: This wearable accessory turns EveryKey into a sleek and stylish fashion statement. Just pop your key into the pocket on the back of the band and wear it wherever you go.
Key ring: One day, Everykey will replace all of your keys on that big bulky keychain. Until that day, you can use the Everykey Rey Ring Accessory as a convenient way to carry your keys.
Current pricing which includes 1 Key Ring Accessory and 1 charging cable for each EveryKey device purchased.
1 EveryKey – $128
2 Pack: $230
4 Pack: $435
10 Pack: $1,024
Expect the first EveryKey devices to ship in March of 2016
For additional information: https://everykey.com/
Get regular updates and additional information about Everykey here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/everykey-your-only-key#/updates
NORAD celebrates 60 years tracking Santa
The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of tracking Santa’s yuletide journey! The NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, which launched on Dec 1, features Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Chinese.
Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are also available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores, so parents and children can countdown the days until Santa’s launch on their smart phones and tablets! Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.
Also new this year, the website features the NORAD Headquarters in the North Pole Village, and highlights of the program over the past 60 years.
Starting at 12:01 a.m. MST (2:01 a.m. EST) on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Then, at 4 a.m. MST (6 a.m. EST), trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to email@example.com. Any time on Dec. 24, Windows Phone users can ask Cortana for Santa’s location, and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa.
It all started in 1955 when a local media advertisement directed children to call Santa direct – only the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. Thus began the tradition, which NORAD carried on since it was created in 1958.
NORAD Tracks Santa is truly a global experience, delighting generations of families everywhere. This is due, in large part, to the efforts and services of numerous program contributors and volunteers.
Hobby drones. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Remote-controlled Copters.
Call them what you will, in many cases they’re becoming a nuisance. A minority of irresponsible users have been flying them too close to airplanes and helicopters, wandering into restricted military airspace, spying on neighbors; disrupting sporting events and even injuring people. It was only a matter of time before some trigger-happy vigilante shot one of the privacy invaders out of the sky.
Regulators and law enforcers are struggling to cope with the growth in their popularity, increasing the likelihood that heavy-handed legislation could stifle innovation in a sector that has great commercial potential for businesses large and small.
The Government Steps In: Drones in the US, and the people who fly them, must be registered in a government database beginning on December 21st. Any drones purchased from that date onwards must be logged before the first outdoor flight, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said.
Existing drone owners will have until February 19th, 2016 to register their drones, but a $5 fee will be waived to encourage registration within the first 30 days.
FAA spokesman Les Dorr said that it would seek to educate, rather than punish, those found to have not registered their drones. But he added: “For people who simply refuse to register, we do have enforcement tools available.” Those punishments could be civil penalties of up to $27,500, but in severe cases, criminal prosecutions could result in a $250,000 fine and a maximum of three years in prison.
The new rule affects drones weighing in at half a pound to 55lb. Users older than 13 must register themselves, but parents can register on behalf of younger children. Each drone will be given a unique identification number to be displayed on the device.
On Monday, December 14th, the FAA promised the process would be streamlined and user-friendly. “Make no mistake: unmanned aircraft enthusiasts are aviators and with that title comes a great deal of responsibility,” US transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. “Registration gives us an opportunity to work with these users to operate their unmanned aircraft safely.
What will registering drones accomplish? Regulators had been under pressure to clamp down on what many people, particularly those in the emergency services, consider to be a growing menace – hobbyist drone users flying in unwanted places. Firefighters in California have reported that drones have disrupted efforts to contain wildfires.
Unfortunately, drone rules and registration will not prevent bad drone use. Many pundits are drawing comparisons to people who drive cars without a driver’s license or insurance: “You really can’t legislate against stupidity.” But other bodies, including the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems
www.AUVSI.org – The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, have backed the idea and taken an active role in consultations. The new regulations fall short of allowing emergency service personnel to forcibly disable drones by using electronic jamming equipment. Let’s see how long that lasts?
What toy should you put under the Christmas tree this year? If you were thinking about buying a smart toy for Christmas, the Vtech hack may cause you to re-think your decision.
For many parents the thought of their children’s personal data being stolen and made available online is the stuff of nightmares. So what exactly is a smart toy and should you be avoiding them in favor of a more traditional gift this year?
What happened to Vtech? Vtech’s tablets and other connected toys are all currently unable to access the app store. The Learning Lodge app store – which provides downloads of apps, games, music and books for toys made by VTech – had its database hacked on 14 November.
The personal information stolen, which was not encrypted, included the parent’s names, email addresses, passwords, secret questions and answers for password retrieval, IP addresses, postal addresses, download histories and children’s names, genders and birthdates. It has also been reported that photos, audio files and chat-logs were stolen – something that Vtech has not yet confirmed.
The numbers involved are huge – according to Vtech, 6.4 million children’s accounts were affected and it has now employed a security firm – Mandiant – to look at the damage and fix it. Until then, the app store will remain offline.
What’s the risk? If a toy is labeled “smart” then that probably means it’s connected to the internet in some manner, whether this be via an app, wi-fi or another method.
Security has not traditionally been an area of expertise for most toymakers so combining tech and toys could lead to problems.
Hello Barbie, another net-connected toy that can share conversations, games and stories with children, has also been subject to some scrutiny from security experts. Security researcher Matt Jakubowski discovered that conversations with children stored in the cloud can be accessed by others and that the toy can also be used as a surveillance device.
The risks of internet-enabled toys don’t end with security. Children confide in dolls and reveal intimate details about their lives, but Hello Barbie won’t keep those secrets. When Barbie’s belt buckle is held down, everything your child says is transmitted to cloud servers, where it will be stored and analyzed by ToyTalk, Mattel’s technology partner.
ToyTalk states that passwords are stored in a hardware-encrypted section of the doll and that no conversation history is stored on the toy. It also said that stored data is “never used for advertising purposes.
Do connected toys destroy imaginative play? Those days many children live large parts of their lives on the internet so it seems obvious that toymakers would want to tap into that cultural shift.
And many of the toys they make are attempting to bridge the gap between the real world and the digital one. Some critics point out that tech toys – like talking dolls and dinosaurs – may limit the imaginative play element that is part of more traditional toys.
What kind of limits will you be setting for your children this year?