Thursday, 29 May 2014

NSA Spying Scandal: How To Keep Your IP Cameras Feeds Protected

Everyone knows that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on people all over the world, but not everyone knows that they can use tools to remotely turn on IP cameras and watch everything that it can see. This not only highlights a problem with privacy laws but also posits a very real threat when crooks or terrorists are able to reverse-engineer the software used to peek into your IP cam.
This ultimately means that you have to step up and take a more active role in protecting your video feeds. These tips ought to help you do just that:
Look For Video Encryption And Secure Connections
The very first thing you need to do to ensure the security of your IP camera feed is to use models that encrypt videos and transmit these videos via a secure connection. Encryption will scramble the video data, making the feed illegible without the right ‘key’ that is stored in the destination page. You will also need to use a camera that transmits videos via a secure connection. Wireless IP cameras will do this using security measures like WPA2. It is also important that the websites showing the camera feed start with HTTPS as this denotes a more secured connection compared to ordinary HTTP websites.
Use A Very Strong Password
Virtually all IP video camera setups let you set a password to challenge anyone attempting to access or view the live feed. Do not, under any circumstances, forget to set a password. Make sure the password you use is strong as well. Use at least 10 characters in a mixture of numbers, lower-case letters, upper-case letters and a symbol or two. Make sure the password itself has nothing to do with information people can find out about you. This includes but is not limited to names, birthdates, significant others or even project ideas.
Avoid Using Insecure Phone Apps
Many IP cameras have complementary applications for smartphone operating systems like iOS or Android. These apps may make it convenient for you to view your IP cam feed while on the go, but you have to be very careful with the app itself. These apps may not have the same security features that a secured website has, and may allow others to capture vital log-in information. The safest bet here is to use the browser on your phone to manually visit the website of your camera feed.
Disconnect The IP Camera System When Not In Use
Simply turning off your IP cameras won’t do. The only sure-fire way to prevent any images from being transmitted is to disconnect the camera from its power source. This is not always a practical thing to do, especially for a wireless IP security camera setup that needs to be on at all times, but it can prove to be very useful for those that use their cameras for personal reasons.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Security Equipment Masterclass: Footage Storage Tips

If you plan to install security equipment to protect your home or business, then you need to understand how best to store the footage your surveillance system captures. Store too much data and you risk racking up over-the-top storage expenses that will break your budget – especially with cameras with Internet access that store data to online servers. Store too little data and you end up with footage that is virtually useless or worse – you could end up with no footage to work with at all!
security equipment
There is more to this than meets the eye, which is you need to take the following factors into consideration:

Video Resolution
The overall quality of the captured footage is one of the most important aspects that will determine the storage needs of your security equipment. Higher resolution means clearer pictures over longer distances, but this leads to images and videos that will need much more space. A good rule of thumb to solve this dilemma is to set resolutions at 40 pixels per foot from the camera: 400 pixels for 10 feet, 800 pixels for 20 feet and so on and so forth. This will allow your surveillance equipment to capture footage in acceptable detail when the need arises.

Frames Per Second
Another major factor that will determine the file storage needs of your security equipment is the speed at which each individual surveillance camera captures images – the frames per second. Higher frames per second allow for smoother images with minimal motion blur but will require more space in exchange for the improved quality. 6 to 10 FPS is the most common range used for security cameras and will provide a pretty good benchmark to help you determine what you need for your own purposes.
File Compression
The way your security equipment creates its videos and images is the third major factor in determining your storage needs. This is where the digital video recorder or DVR comes in. You will want this particular piece of security hardware to have H.264 compression capabilities, which is currently one of the most efficient methods of squeezing down file sizes without compromising image quality. Pair it up with a good hard drive with 1 terabyte or more of storage space and you will have a lot more storage space to work with.

Motion-Triggered Capture
If you are looking for a security camera setup that will drastically reduce your storage needs, then make sure to look for one with motion-triggered capture capabilities. Such a setup will ‘freeze’ an image of the surrounding area. If there is even the slightest disturbance, the camera will activate and begin capturing footage until after the last movement is detected. This will save a lot of storage space by activating the video feed only when something is amiss – allowing you to make the most with fewer resources at your disposal.

On-Camera Memory Cards
Some security equipment setups combine all the aforementioned factors to allow cameras to operate with minimal – if any – connection to a centralized system. Motion-triggered capture combined with optimized video capture can reduce file sizes to the point where they can be safely stored in memory cards planted within the digital cameras. If your surveillance systems are minimal and want to focus on only a few key areas at a time, cameras with mounted memory cards may be a much more cost-effective option than a fully networked camera setup.
Using a On-Camera memory security system requires a stringent manual backup system and you may want to have two or three sets of SD cards to make backup of security footage easier.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

What is Wi-Fi Direct and How Does It Work?

More and more new devices are using Wi-Fi Direct. Wi-Fi Direct allows two devices to establish a direct, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection without requiring a wireless router. Wi-Fi becomes a way of communicating wirelessly, like Bluetooth.
Wi-Fi Direct is similar in concept to “ad-hoc” Wi-Fi mode. However, unlike an ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection, Wi-Fi Direct includes an easier way to automatically discover nearby devices and connect to them.
The Miracast wireless display standard also uses Wi-Fi Direct. Peripherals, such as mice and keyboards, could also communicate via Wi-Fi Direct. Wi-Fi Direct could be used to remotely connect to a wireless printer without requiring the printer to join an existing wireless network. Android also includes built-in support for Wi-Fi Direct, although few applications are using it just yet.

How It Works

Wi-Fi Direct uses a number of standards to accomplish its functions:
  • Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi Direct uses the same Wi-Fi technology that Wi-Fi-enabled devices use to communicate with wireless routers. A Wi-Fi Direct device can essentially function as an access point, and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices can connect directly to it. This is already possible with ad-hoc networking, but Wi-Fi Direct extends this feature with easy setup and discovery features.
  • Wi-Fi Direct Device and Service Discovery: This protocol gives Wi-Fi Direct devices a way to discover each other and the services they support before connecting. For example. a Wi-Fi Direct device could see all compatible devices in the area and then narrow down the list to only devices that allow printing before displaying a list of nearby Wi-Fi Direct-enabled printers.
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup: When two devices connect to each other, they automatically connect via Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or WPS. We can only hope that device makers use a secure connection method for this WPS connection and not the extremely insecure WPS PIN method.
  • WPA2: Wi-Fi Direct devices use WPA2 encryption, which is the most secure way of encrypting Wi-Fi.Wi-Fi Direct may also be referred to as Wi-Fi peer-to-peer or Wi-Fi P2P, as it functions in peer-to-peer mode. Wi-Fi Direct devices connect directly to each other rather than through a wireless router.
…While Wi-Fi Direct is theoretically supposed to be a standard that allows multiple types of devices supporting the Wi-Fi Direct standard to communicate with each other, this hasn’t really happened just yet.
For example, you may have two new laptops, each advertised as supporting Wi-Fi Direct. You might assume there’d be a way to set up easy file-sharing between them using Wi-Fi Direct, but you’d be wrong at the moment. There’s also no easy way to connect an Android smartphone to a Windows laptop and actually do much just yet. For now, Wi-Fi Direct isn’t a feature you should really concern yourself with. In the future, this may become a more useful standard.
Wi-Fi Direct is a promising feature that’s already working in the real world. However, it has a long way to go before it’s actually an interoperable standard normal people can rely on. At the moment, it’s just a way for specifically designed products to communicate with each other.
via HowToGeek

Thursday, 8 May 2014

How to Take a Screenshot on Android system

Android Tablets

Taking a screenshot of your Android phone’s screen can be a bit confusing, since the process isn’t the same on every device. Here are the different ways to take a screenshot on Android.

If You’re Running Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and Above

If you have a phone with Ice Cream Sandwich or above, screenshots are built right into your phone! Just press the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time, hold them for a second, and your phone will take a screenshot. It’ll show up in your Gallery app.

If You’re Running Android 2.3 and Below

Unfortunately, Android 2.3 and below doesn’t have screenshotting built-in. However, some devices (like many Samsung phones) do have these features, but it varies from phone to phone. for example, on many Samsung phones, you can press the Home and Power buttons at the same time to take a screenshot. Google around to see if your own phone has a built-in shortcut.
If your phone doesn’t have a shortcut built-in, you’ll need to use an app like No Root Screenshot It. You’ll need to install it on your phone and install its free companion app on your computer, which will enable screenshots. You’ll have to plug your phone back into your computer every time you reboot it, but you’ll be able to take screenshots directly from your phone which is great.

If You’re Rooted and Running Android 2.3 or Below

If you’ve rooted your phone, you have a few options. You can install an app like Screenshot UX, which will allow you to take screenshots through a variety of shortcuts, or you could flash a custom ROM that has screenshotting built-in (like CyanogenMod).
There are more screenshot methods than we could possibly list here, but these are some of the easiest (if you aren’t rooted but know how to use ADB, you can get a screenshot from the command line, for example). Check your phone and see what it supports out-of-the-box.
(via Lifehacker)

Friday, 2 May 2014

Hardy GPS Devices: 6 Great GPS Watches You Have To Check Out

Wearable GPS devices are always a good idea when you are out engaged in outdoor activities or need to be as focused as possible on the task you are attending to. Truckers, pilots, hikers, cyclists – all these folks and more will benefit from being able to quickly glance down at your GPS-enabled devices without the need for Internet access.
So what types of satellite tracking watches will work best for your needs? Here’s a quick selection of the better ones out on the market:
GPS watch
World of Electronics G170-N1 GPS Cell Phone Watch
Not all of the greatest wrist-worn GPS tracking devices out there. The G170-N1 is a workable GPS watch phone that will pinpoint your coordinates when a separate cell phone sends an SMS to it – allowing you and your loved ones to pinpoint your exact coordinates on free mapping services like Google Maps. Best of all, you can store up to three numbers and call them in case you find yourself in trouble.
Garmin D2 Watch
The Garmin D2 is one of those GPS devices designed specifically for airplane pilots. You can customize the interface to place waypoints along your flight plan and can even be set up to create an ETA based on the speed you are traveling. The watch itself comes with a regular compass as well as a barometer and altimeter to boot – making it one of the better GPS trackers out there for pilots.
Suunto Ambit2
The Suunto Ambit2 is not only a competent line of GPS devices but is also robust enough to work with various sports-oriented apps out there. It can keep track of useful stats for various sports, like cadence for cycling and interval speeds for swimming. It also provides a lot of useful data for hikers as well, from routes and coordinates to a three-dimensional compass and a feature that will automatically guide you back to your starting point.
GolfBuddy WT3 GPS Watch
Now this is the golfer’s GPS watch of choice. It comes with around 36,000 golf courses pre-loaded in its memory – a boggling number that allows it to pinpoint exactly where you are on any given golf course. You can then take a top-down view of your position, which does wonders for letting a golfer get an immediate feel for the hazards as well as the location of the holes on a course.
Nike Sportwatch+ GPS
The Nike Sportwatch+ was designed for the runner, with its GPS devices letting you know where you are as well as providing a plethora of other useful stats for running. These include trackers to measure your pace, timers to gauge your performance, pedometers to check the distance traveled, interval tools to automatically note down your laps and even a calorimeter that estimates the calories you’ve burned.
Adidas miCoach SMART RUN
Adidas’ miCoach SMART RUN has all the features previously mentioned for Nike’s Sportwatch+, but the former has an edge over the latter: audio coaching and Bluetooth capacity. The miCoach is basically a device that is not just for GPS navigation and stat-tracking but also as a media player of sorts. It’ll be able to play music while shooting off verbal coaching tips as you focus on your activity. These features are also why the miCoach will cost a lot compared to the other devices on this list.