Category Archives: Security

Shhh! It’s a Secret!



Shhh!The past few weeks have seen most of the tech industry line up against law enforcement and intelligence agencies over the matter of encryption and privacy. I particularly liked Google’s recent conversion to privacy as it wasn’t that long ago that Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, said that, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

Moving on, there’s been a great deal of emphasis on the privacy aspect, but few have noted that encryption is mainly about secrecy, and that privacy and secrecy are not the same thing. If you do think that privacy and secrecy are the same thing, consider this, “It’s no secret that you go to the restroom, but it’s something you do in private.” I can’t claim credit for this – Bruce Schneier was discussing this over ten years ago and I thoroughly recommend you read some of his recent posts on the matters too.

You might also like to think of it this way; a private home v. secret hide-out. The former is in plain sight but restricted to the owner and his guests, whereas the latter is hidden and known only to a select few.

With a better understanding of the difference between privacy and security, a more reasoned debate can take place, which needs to be agnostic of the technology, to decide the rights of the individuals and the responsibilities of law enforcement.

Ask yourself some questions, “Should what person X does (on their phone) be private?” and “Should what person X does (on their phone) be secret?”. Remember, person X might be you, your family, your friends, your colleagues; person X might be suspects, criminals, murderers, terrorists, paedophiles; person X might be freedom fighters, democracy activitists, oppressed women, abused spouses, LGBT members. You get the picture, person X might be someone you approve of, or they might be someone you don’t like.

The easy answer is to say that person X should have privacy but not secrecy. Does this guard against wholesale monitoring of communication by intelligence agencies? Snowden has shown that this happened and I think most people would see this as an overreach of their authority with no legal oversight. But once person X has come to the attention of the authorities, does that strip away any right to privacy? What level of suspicion is needed, what evidence is required, what is the process of law? None of these have easy answers.

Undoubtedly this is a complex affair with hyperbole, thin-end-of-wedge-ism, and freedom protestors in dictatorships by the bucket load. For certain, we need to move this away from the technology and into human, societal and legal rights. Nothing is black and white, but this is about the future and the world we want to live in. Personally, I firmly believe in privacy, but I’m not so sure about secrecy. I use encryption on my phone as reassurance that should I lose my phone, important data won’t be misused by the finder. Generally I feel that wrong-doers, alleged or otherwise, shouldn’t have secrets, but I’m always concerned about the abuse of power. As always, “Who watches the watchers?”

(The other curious thing to consider is regarding dead people. Generally, they don’t have the same legal rights as living people. What would this mean?)


CUJO is a Simple, Yet Sophisticated, Smart Firewall



CUJO logoThe internet can be a dangerous place if you aren’t careful. There are ads that contain malware, phishing websites, and other dangers. People who aren’t very tech-savvy might be unaware of the dangers or how to protect themselves, and their families, from them. CUJO provides a simple, yet sophisticated, smart firewall that can be easily used and understood by everyone.

Jamie and Nick spoke with VP of Technology of CUJO Smart Internet Security, Robert Beatty, at CES 2016. He explained how CUJO works. It is a plug-and-play device that you plug into your router. There is no configuration required. CUJO will automatically take over from there.

The CUJO team checks to make sure that your computer (and other devices) are not talking to things like virus command and controller centers or phishing websites. For SSL, they check to make sure that no “man in the middle” attacks are happening. They can also check to see if IoT devices are suddenly talking to a website other than their manufacturers.

Once something has been identified as malicious, the team behind CUJO sends a signal to your CUJO device with a specific rule from that device in particular to whatever rogue server is communicating with it. Only that communication is stopped.

CUJO device

Family members who are not tech-savvy can glance at the CUJO device and get a quick idea of how things are going. CUJO’s “eyes” appear to be smiling when everything is good. When CUJO’s “eyes” are round, it means that it is filtering something.

CUJO is available for preorder via the CUJO website. The device is priced at $99.00. It comes with a subscription. The first three months are free. After the free trial is over, the subscription costs $8.99 a month.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly which can be found at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic, and health journalist.

Nick DiMeo is an audio enginner and show host at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Nortek Brings Water Saving Solutions to CES



Nortek logoHome irrigation and water monitoring might not seem like the most exciting technologies being represented at CES. But if you’ve ever had to manage an irrigation system or fallen victim to a hidden water leak, you may find these products from Nortek to be greater than any other gadget the convention had to offer.

Avi Rosenthal, VP of Security & Control at Nortek, stopped by the TPN booth to meet with Todd and Daniel. Avi brought two products. The first is a smart irrigation controller. This controller uses Z-Wave technology to connect to the Internet and other devices. It gets regular weather updates so it knows which days to water the lawn and which days not to. It can be set up with different zones so your lawn and vegetable garden can have different watering schedules. Another Nortek product is the smart flow detector that attaches via velcro to the copper water main that comes into a home from the water company. This device also uses Z-Wave to transmit data to a user’s smartphone. The flow detector can be used to find potential water leaks in the home, down to as small as five ounces of water per hour.

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Kwikset’s Z-Wave Protocol Locks Provide Peace of Mind



Kwikset logoEveryone wants to keep their homes safe and secure. Kwikset is the largest lock manufacturer in the world. They make a whole series of products that can replace the door locks in your home with an updated, IoT version.

Todd and Marlo spoke with Director of North American Sales and Business Development for Kwikset, Larry Goldman, at CES 2016. He discussed Kwikset’s new line of door locks that operate in the Z-Wave protocol. Z-Wave is a wireless technology that is similar to Bluetooth. The difference is that Z-Wave has been designed specifically for security and is part of the IoT platform.

Kwikset offers a series of products that replace the door locks in your home. It ranges from a simple keypad door lock to a touch screen door lock. These door locks operate wirelessly and run on 4 AA batteries (which can easily last for a year). You can connect these door locks to an app on your phone that will let you see which doors are locked or unlocked, to lock the door remotely, or to let someone in while you are not at home. This technology brings homeowners peace of mind.

Marlo Anderson is rounding up the latest technology news at The Tech Ranch.

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Keezel Personal WiFi with VPN Security



KeezelVPNs are great for keeping snooping countries, Orwellian agencies and thieving criminals at bay, but they’re not always straightforward to setup and when you have a laptop, mobile phone and tablet it’s a pain to maintain the VPN on each of them. Keezel has a solution in the shape of a personal wifi hotspot which has VPN software baked into the firmware. Daniel finds out more from Aike Müller, Co-Founder and CEO.

The way the Keezel works is that when out-and-about in coffee shops and other public wifi areas, you connect all your personal devices to the Keezel wirelessly. The Keezel connects to the public wifi network, establishes a VPN connection to a secure server and then all your communications travel securely across the network. Neat.

The standard price is US$99 for the Keezel and then $5 per month for the VPN service. The Keezel is currently on Indigogo’s InDemand having been originally 540% funded back in August 2015. There are some special perks available with devices are expected to ship in March 2016.

Daniel J. Lewis is the host of the award-winning podcast about podcasting, The Audacity to Podcast. Daniel helps others launch and improve their own podcasts for sharing their passions and finding success.

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UniKey Powers ERA Touchkey into UK



Unikey logo

With a string of successful smart lock products such as the Kwikset Kevo, UniKey are expanding out of the US and into other worldwide markets, but it’s not simply a case of taking a US product and selling it abroad as each country has its own size and security requirements . Don discusses the problem with Dirk from UniKey and looks at the first smartlock product from UniKey for the UK’s residential market.

The ERA Touchkey has been developed in partnership with ERA, a long established British manufacturer, to bring a smart nightlatch to the UK. The lock is really simply to use….touch the lock, the lock talks to your smartphone (which can stay in your pocket or bag), checks your credentials and opens the door if authorised. It’s clever enough to tell if the smartphone is on the inside or outside of the door, to stop the door being unlocked to intruders because your phone is nearby inside the house.

The ERA Touchkey will be available in the first half of 2016, but no details on price.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at TheGadgetProfessor.com.

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Wistiki Tracking Tags by Philippe Stark



Wistiki LogoBluetooth tracking devices are fairly common but when the tags have been designed by Philippe Starck as “connected jewels”, it’s definitely worth taking a look. Lisa Despeyroux, Wistiki’s Communications and PR manager connects with Jamie and Daniel to tell them more about Hopla!, Voila! and Aha!

French outfit Wistiki have partnered with the famous designer, Philippe Starck, to create three shapes of tracking device (or Wistikis) in four colours. Hopla! is credit card shaped for wallets and purses, Voila! is rectangular for keychans and the oval Aha! dangles for pets or gear. Colour-wise, the choice is yellow, blue, orange and pink. It all adds up to Gallic flair!

As with most tracking systems, the Wistiki connects to an app on the smartphone and there’s a fairly standard set of features including ring, reverse ring and leash. There’s an additional neat feature where if someone finds a lost Wistiki, they can message the original owner to arrange return. And the ringtone is cool too.

The new range is launching on Indiegogo now with expected delivery in late 2016. Current perks offer six Wistikis for US$149.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.
Daniel J Lewis dares you to get started in podcasting with The Audacity to Podcast

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Essence Behaviour Analysis for the Smart Home



Essence LogoComing from a background in home securityEssence have used their understanding of monitoring to develop a range of products for the smart home to enable independent living for those people who might otherwise have difficulty looking after themselves. Jamie and Daniel find out more from Rafi Zauer, Essence Head of Marketing.

The smart home market is exploding at the moment and there are hundreds of companies peddling hubs and sensors. What sets Essence’s SmartCare apart is a focus on unobtrusive monitoring and pattern analysis to detect when a dependent person’s daily routine changes, potentially by illness, in order to alert family members to a problem.

By using PIR motion detectors and door sensors, a pattern of behaviour is built up and deviations from the pattern can be escalated to relatives to follow-up. It’s all passive detection; there are no cameras and as such this provides an important level of privacy. Data is passed to a cloud service which in turn passes alerts to an app on a tablet or smartphone.

With an increasingly older population who want to remain in their own home, these kinds of systems will be increasingly relevant.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.
Daniel J Lewis dares you to get started in podcasting with The Audacity to Podcast.

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AVG Protects Devices, Data and People



AVG LogoAs the online war with the bad guys escalates, the target is moving away from the devices to the people who own them. Jamie and Daniel look at this tactical shift with AVG‘s Todd Simpson.

AVG’s goal is to protect devices, data and people with a portfolio of products, from anti-virus to VPNs, parental controls to reputation protection. As more and more services come online, people are becoming more aware of the risks and securing their activities. Protecting people is a much harder problem, especially with the rise of the Internet of Things and many connected devices in every home. Things that used to be physical security, such as a door lock, become digital security problems once it’s a connected door lock that can be operated by a smartphone.

AVG’s cross-platform software is available direct from AVG and from the various app stores.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist. Daniel J Lewis dares you to get started in podcasting with The Audacity to Podcast.

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uQontrol Unveils Qkey at CES 2016



uQontrol QkeyuQontrol is unveiling Qkey at CES 2016. The Qkey is a zero-footprint device that provides a rich consumer experience while eliminating the pain of entering passwords, the fear of exposing payment card data, and the frustration of filling out forms.

Qkey is the first chip and PIN device for securing online payments utilizing the same security chip used on the new payment cards. While Qkey patent pending technology emulates the trusted chip and PIN payment card, the one-click smart login technology eliminates the need to enter hard-to-remember passwords.

With the Qkey “smart login” users can also store favorite websites, shipping information, and other sensitive data, reducing the need for re-typing in information for online transactions. uQontrol also took a page from the mobile design playbook and created Qkey one-click navigation for a more natural, frictionless experience.

With the Qkey “smart wallet”, users carry and store their payment cards and other sensitive information securely in their pocket – off the PC, off the browser, and out of the cloud. uQontrol will soon be making their Software Development Kits (SDK) available for app developers. Qkey is currently in Beta testing and will be available to the public in Q2 of 2016.

Visit uQontrol at CES 2016 in the South Hall Exhibit, booth # 21424 (between Alibaba and MasterCard).