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Monthly Archives: April 2016

Cyber Security: Humans + AI

Cyber security is an ongoing problem, especially as our technology becomes a larger part of our everyday lives. Neither our efforts alone nor artificial intelligence (AI) have achieved a fool proof method. Our human-driven techniques are based on rules set by living experts, which means we miss any threats that don’t follow these rules. Machine-learning approaches, on the other hand, rely on anomaly detection, which often trigger “false positives” (nonthreats mistakenly identified as threats) that need to be checked by humans.

What if humans joined forces with AI? Researchers at MIT have been working on this concept and have produced some promising results.

AI² is a collaboration between researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the startup company PatternEx. After three months of testing on 3.6 billion pieces of user-made data, it is said to detect 85% of attacks and reduce the number of false positives by a factor of five.

To find the most important potential problems, AI² uses machine learning first, and then shows the top events to analysts for labeling. After the analysts go through and confirm which events are actual attacks, the system incorporates this feedback into its models for the next set of data. This ongoing cycle of improvement decreases potential events and increases accuracy.

What are your thoughts on AI² and the interaction of humans and AI for cyber security measures? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also find us on Vine.

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Buying A Drone

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), are aircrafts without human pilots on board. They can be preprogrammed or piloted remotely. Their use spans from surveillance to search and rescue to firefighting to recreation. Before you purchase a drone, there are a few things you need to know.

Drones are made in three grades: Consumer Grade, Prosumer Grade, and Commercial Grade.

Consumer Grade Drones
These are best for beginners, as you can get a quad copter, possibly with a camera and micro SD card, for under $300. These are smaller than average, with a range of about 100 ft plus 10 minute flying time. These are great for practice and, until you have really mastered flying it, you can expect to crash more than once. You will find that you must do extra work for tasks that could be automated.

Prosumer Grade
These drones are in the $300-$1,500 price range, and you can tell the difference. With these, you will find longer lasting batteries, farther range, computer automation to stabilize them in the air, built-in HD cameras with increased storage space, plus improved controllers. The controllers may have built-in video or have the ability to sync with your devices.

Drones with GPS fall within this grade and can offer excellent and practical benefits. If you adventurous or active, you may want to record your excursions. These drones can follow you when you partake in things like water skiing or snowboarding. They can even sense a low battery and will automatically bring the drone back down for a safe landing. Another added bonus: these drones will prevent you from flying within 5 miles of an airport, thus keeping you out of trouble for the most part.

Commercial Grade
These are the truly specialized kind of drones. For example, these are the ones that will herd sheep, deliver your pizza, or even guide a lost student around campus. You may have seen them, or viewed an exceptional aerial view when watching your favorite football team. Commercial drones are gaining popularity in Hollywood as well. While they are used for filming, the paparazzi have also used them in an attempt to get exclusive shots of the stars.

You will want to invest in accessories to keep your drone safe. If your drone doesn’t come with a case, you can find cases on the market that are great for travelling (think backpack or suitcase types) and even cases with molded foam for increased protection. Extra batteries and extra blades are good to have on hand just in case.

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is now requiring drones to be registered (thanks to some people who flew them where they shouldn’t have). Luckily, a $5 fee is good for 3 years, and covers all your drones, if you have more than one.

Do you own a drone or have you toyed with one before? Would you invest in your own? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also find us on Vine.

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Secure Your Wireless Surveillance Cameras

Wireless surveillance cameras are also known as IP (Internet Protocol) cameras. Aside from securing your property inside and out, they are also often used as baby monitors. When used as baby monitors, wireless IP security cameras are often equipped to pick up audio as well as video.

With these cameras, video footage is streamed to a secure online space and you may view what is happening on a computer or via a mobile app or device. To ensure the security of your live feed, these cameras should offer encryption for your streamed data along with a username and password protected hub or app for viewing your footage.

Does your system or equipment lack any of these? Do you want added security for your wireless surveillance cameras? Follow these tips to ensure the most secure experience.

Network Security
Aside from securing your devices, the wireless network you connect to should also be secure. If you are using your home network, make sure your router is configured to use WPA2-based encryption. This will cover the connection between your cameras and router, while the stream’s encryption handles the rest.

You will want to steer clear of viewing your feed over open wireless networks. If you enter any usernames or passwords over these networks, they could potentially be “sniffed,” leaving you vulnerable. While these can be helpful when it comes to decreasing your mobile Internet charges, connecting to these open networks should not be done without the assistance of a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

Online Streaming
Having your camera stream footage online 24/7 can be helpful, but it also leaves you more susceptible to privacy risks. Your ISP may be hesitant to support your excessive bandwidth needs for your IP security cameras, and any bugs in your system could threaten the security of your feed.

Online streaming should only be done when you are certain the stream is secure. For the remainder of the time, maintaining a closed and secure network for your IP cameras on a secure network should suffice.

Password Protection
Cameras usually have the ability to be password protected, but you must manually enable it. Once this feature is enabled, you MUST change the defaults. Since the default usernames and passwords for most cameras are easily to find, this is the easiest way hackers will be able to access your feed.

Aside from ensuring that your cameras are password protected, you should be sure that any device you use to access your feed is password protected as well.  For example, if you access your feed from your mobile device, and somehow it gets lost or stolen, someone may have unauthorized access to your feed, as well as other personal information stored on your device.

With all this being said, the location and positioning of your cameras play an important role as well. In the worst case scenario, your feed gets broadcast to the public internet. Be sure that you position your cameras in areas in and around your property that you wouldn’t mind strangers seeing. For example, if you must install a camera in your bedroom, avoid pointing it at your bed or any area where you usually change.

You may also be worried about your webcams now, too. While threats may arise from time to time, there are ways to keep your webcam secure, such as disabling Flash, updating firmware, and using firewalls.

If you built a custom IP security camera using webcams, hacking threats should be minimal. You have likely used dedicated, reputable software and taken the time to properly configure and secure your system with a username and password.

Maintain Security
To make sure that you keep your devices secure in the future as well, make sure that you keep any and all devices related to or connected to your system up to date. This includes your camera’s firmware, client software on your PC or mobile device, and more. These updates often contain patches for any new threats, and without the proper update, your system could be left vulnerable to an attack.

How do you secure your surveillance system? Do you have any tips to share with us and your peers? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

For a great selection of IP security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages, and more, visit To speak with a representative about our products and services, please call 1-888-203-6294.

Drone Surveillance In Arctic Waters

Drones can be very beneficial when it comes to surveillance. Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, drones provide benefits such as decreased risks, relatively lower costs, the ability to house advanced technologies, and more.

Because of this, Transport Canada is looking to employ a drone to patrol the Canadian Arctic. They are looking to enhance their efforts in monitoring things such as ice and oil spills. Currently, three manned airplanes are handling the job – one over each the Atlantic and the Pacific, and the third based in Ottawa for the Arctic.

With manned aircraft, the need for a qualified pilot on board can limit flight times, and some areas are simply too difficult and dangerous for the pilot to access.

Drones, however, are compact, can last longer, and can also reach more difficult areas. Without having to wait for skilled personnel, drones are flexible when it comes to flight and coverage times. They can also be modified with the appropriate technologies and devices for more comprehensive and effective surveillance.

The ideal drone would possess sensors, ground control equipment, and satellite communications, along with maintenance support including spare parts. The drone would need the capabilities to identify and track oil slicks, icebergs, whales, and foreign fishing vessels, to name a few. The necessary range would be at least 6,500km, and it would need to be able to track its target for at least six hours.

A likely candidate would be the Northrop Grumman Global Hawk, valued at about $300 million per new aircraft. The U.S. military already actively uses these Global Hawks.

We have yet to see if Transport Canada’s wishes come to fruition. Do you think drones would be a more efficient way to patrol the seas? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also find us on Vine.

Visit to browse our stock of security cameras, CCTV surveillance equipment, and more. Call 1-888-203-6294 to inquire about our products or installations services.

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