Tuesday, May 16, 2017

How to Stop Third-Party Apps From Accessing Your Private Data on Social Media

By   Nancy Messieh 

Email subscription management service Unroll.me recently made headlines for selling user data to other companies, including Uber. Unroll.me quickly issued an apology for what The New York Timesdescribed as a widespread practice.Unroll.me Has Been Caught Selling Your Data Unroll.me Has Been Caught Selling Your DataIf something is free then there's usually a catch. And it turns out Unroll.me is no exception.READ MORE
If you’re still concerned about who has access to your various accounts, the good news is that it’s very easy to revoke access. On the other hand, if you want a better understanding of how each app uses your data, you may need to dig into each app’s Terms of Service.
For the time being, if you want that quick and easy fix, here’s how to revoke access to third-party apps in Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.


To disconnect third-party apps from your Gmail or Google account, go to your Connected Apps page in your account. (You can also reach this page by going to My Account > Sign-in & Security > Connected Apps & Sites > Manage Apps.) You should find a list of all the apps you’ve granted access to your Google account with an explanation of what kind of access they’ve been granted. You can scroll through the list, click on apps you want to remove, and click the Remove button.


Go to Settings > Apps and you’ll see a list of apps that have access to your Twitter account. You can also tell what kinds of permissions the apps have: read and write (meaning they can post to Twitter on your behalf) or read-only. Click the Revoke Access button on the apps you want to disconnect.


Go to Settings > Apps and you’ll see a list of apps that have access to your Facebook account. Hit the Show All button and you can click on each app to see what information the app can access from your Facebook profile, and whether it can post to Facebook on your behalf. To revoke access, just click the to remove.
You can also selectively remove what information an app can access, but this could also break the app’s ability to work.


Instagram users can go to Settings > Authorized Applications in your browser to see what apps can access your account – and what permissions they have. Possible permissions include viewing your media and profile, accessing your follower and following lists, posting or deleting likes and comments on your behalf, and following or unfollowing users.
Just click the Revoke Access button to disconnect the apps.


On Pinterest go to Settings > Apps to see which third-party apps have access to your account, and what kinds of permissions they have. Click Revoke Access to remove them.
Do you feel like you should review the list of apps that have access to your accounts? Have you stopped using Unroll.me? Let us know in the comments.   Source: www.makeuseof.com

Everything You Need to Know Before Installing a Smart Lock

By  Dan Price  

Smart locks have come a long way in the last few years. Once the exclusive domain of tech geeks and expensive hotels, they’re now easier than ever to buy, install, and use.How to Save Money on Every Hotel You Book How to Save Money on Every Hotel You BookHotels can be very expensive, but you can save a lot of money if you know how to go about it. Follow these tips to make sure you get the best deal when you travel.READ MORE
Like any purchase, you need to do your research before you take the plunge and invest. Unfortunately, if you’re new to the world of smart locks, that’s easier said than done.
If you want to buy a smart lock but you haven’t got a clue where to start, don’t worry. MakeUseOf is here to help! In this piece, I’m going to introduce you the most important things you need to consider before you make your purchase. I’ll even introduce you to a few different brands and models as we progress.

Password Security

The most important feature of any lock is its security. In the same way that a skilled criminal can easily pick a cheap traditional lock, a well-versed hacker will be able to crack your smart lock and break into your abode in mere seconds if your lock isn’t sufficiently robust.
And, worryingly, a lot of locks aren’t as secure as you’d hope. At DEF CON 2016 in Las Vegas, a presentation from security experts Anthony Rose and Ben Ramsey showed that four models of smart locks from Quicklock, iBlulock, and Plantraco used plain text passwords — a cyber criminal’s dream.
The presentation went on to explain how models from Ceomate, Elecycle, Vians, Okidokey, and Mesh Motion could also be cracked. However, the flaws in their models weren’t as bad: Rose and Ramsey had to use more advanced hacking techniques, including replay attacking, fuzzing, device spoofing, and decompiling APKs.
So, are any smart locks safe from hackers? Thankfully, yes. The researchers found that Bluetooth locks from Noke, Master Lock, and Kwikset were unhackable. Locks from August were also thought to be unhackable, but a different DEF CON attendee managed to crack them later in the conference.
“Ultimately, what [the hacker] showed was that a person could hack their own phone to obtain a one-time use key for their own lock. The ability for a user to download and access their own encrypted key has been removed. Our system has never been compromised and none of our users’ smart locks have been at risk.”
— August Representative
Check out the Kwikset Kevo range. They offer fingerprint unlocking, a usage history, doorbell integration, and alerts for suspicious activity.


Speaking of features, what can you expect your smart lock to offer? What comes as standard?
Here’s a rundown of features you can expect to find on all smart locks. If the product you’re looking at doesn’t have most of these items included, you should probably move on to another, more secure option.

User-Based Permissions

User-based permissions are a key aspect of smart locks. They remove the need for spare keys for visitors or workers and let you keep a tighter control on who has access to your building.
august smart lock
Consider August’s range of locks. They allow you to grant access to certain people at specific times of the day or for a certain time period. For example, perhaps you only want to let your cleaner enter between 10 AM and 12 PM noon on Thursdays or you just want to give your visiting aunt access for the duration of her stay.
August Smart Lock (2nd Gen) - Keyless home access - Control with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, the Google Assistant or your smartphone (Dark Gray)August Smart Lock (2nd Gen) - Keyless home access - Control with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, the Google Assistant or your smartphone (Dark Gray)No more keys: Open your door and control who comes in - all from your August Home smartphone app. BUY NOW AT AMAZON $199.99

Tamper Alarm

Like a traditional lock, smart locks are still vulnerable to brute force. If a committed intruder attacks your lock with a flathead screwdriver, there’s a good chance they’ll eventually gain access. The best smart locks will send you a notification if your entry point is under physical attack.
yale smart lock
Yale’s smart lock is one such product. If it detects that someone is trying to break in, it’ll sound an audible alarm and ping you on your smartphone.


If your lock has geofencing, you can say goodbye to fumbling around for your keys in the rain. Instead, your entry point will automatically unlock when it senses you’re nearby.Make An Auto-Locking Office Door with Smartphone Proximity Sensor Make An Auto-Locking Office Door with Smartphone Proximity SensorWe'll be setting up a Raspberry Pi with a Bluetooth adapter to be on the lookout for when your smartphone is out of range, and snap a relay into action to lock the door.READ MORE
kwikset smart lock
The Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 2nd Gen offers the feature. It uses Bluetooth authentication to sense when you’re close to home. It’s more secure than Wi-Fi-based geofencing, which has the potential to inadvertently unlock your home when you’re still a few blocks away from your residence.
Kwikset Kevo (2nd Gen) Touch-to-Open Bluetooth Smart Lock, Works with Amazon Alexa via Kevo Plus, in Venetian BronzeKwikset Kevo (2nd Gen) Touch-to-Open Bluetooth Smart Lock, Works with Amazon Alexa via Kevo Plus, in Venetian BronzeYour Smartphone is now your key - touch to open convenience with the 2nd generation Kevo BUY NOW AT AMAZON $211.51

Voice Activation

More and more locks are now offering voice activation. These locks let you lock and unlock a room with a simple audio command. Most will also require you to recite a PIN code for an added level of security.
schlage sense lock
If you want a voice-activated lock, consider buying the Schlage Sense. It works with both Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit to bring you the feature.


Integrations with third-party products are important. If you’re running Nest, Alexa, HomeKit, SmartThings, or one of the other leading smart home systems, you want to be able to add your smart lock into the ecosystem.Samsung SmartThings: The Future of Smart Homes? Samsung SmartThings: The Future of Smart Homes?Samsung has supported the idea of the smart home for a long time, and their recent developments and flexibility make Samsung's SmartThings a solid investment for the future.READ MORE
An increasing number of smart locks now provide the integrations, including the Poly-Control Danalock V2 BT and the August range of products. August works with Alexa, HomeKit, Google Assistant, and more.
august ifttt smart lock
Some locks, such as August and Kevo, even offer IFTTT integrations. A quick search of these brands will pull up a broad range of recipes. For example, when someone locks/unlocks your door, the device can send a notification to your TV screen, turn on your WeMo switches, shut down the oven, or dim your lights.Clever IFTTT Smart Home Integrations For Your Life Clever IFTTT Smart Home Integrations For Your LifeThe future of the smart home is now. And thanks to online websites like IFTTT, creating a smart home is easy and more impressive than ever.READ MORE

Consider the Drawbacks

Most of the potential pitfalls for smart locks are related to security. Since an insecure lock can literally give a criminal the keys to your house, you need to be wary.
Take the geofencing feature. If someone steals your phone, what’s to stop them turning up at your home and walking straight in? With the amount of data on smartphones these days, it’s easy for a thief to work out where you live if they have access to your mobile operating system.
Integration with services like Amazon Alexa or smart home hubs also raises security questions. Could someone hack a different device in your house (like a baby monitor), then use that access to virtually hack your lock or even voice-activate your lock from within? It would be beyond the skill set of an average user, but a skilled cyber-criminal could do it easily, especially given how insecure lots of default passwords are on many smart home devices.Smart Home Smackdown: Amazon Alexa vs. Apple HomeKit Smart Home Smackdown: Amazon Alexa vs. Apple HomeKitIn this article, you’ll learn more about Amazon Alexa and how Apple Siri integrates with HomeKit. See a comparison between both products and decide for yourself which one is better.READ MORE
Lastly, you need to consider how well the manufacturer has designed the locks from a physical standpoint. I’ve already touched on brute force attacks, but make sure you do your research about the strength of the lock you are about to buy. Cheaper models are unlikely to be as robust as a top-end device.
There are also some practical drawbacks. A malfunctioning voice activation system could leave you locked out of (or, arguably worse, in) a certain room. Similarly, if your smart lock is battery-powered, what happens when the batteries run flat but you don’t have the physical key on your person?

Are You Going to Buy a Smart Lock?

I hope this article has made it clear that there are both pros and cons to buying a smart lock. They bring added convenience and, in some cases, added security. But there are also some significant drawbacks you need to consider before you part with your cash.
Are you thinking about buying a smart lock? How have you weighed up the pros and cons in your own mind? I’d love it if you shared your thoughts with your fellow readers.
You can leave all your opinions and input in the comments below.  Source: www.makeuseof.com

Why You Should Be Cleaning Your Home With a Robot Vacuum

By  Brent Dirks

Robot vacuums come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and price points. While the technology has sometimes gotten a bad rap, it can truly make a big difference in making your house cleaner — without you needing to raise a finger.
Instead of having to lug a standard vacuum all around the house and spend time and energy sucking up dust, debris, pet hair, and who knows what lurking on the ground, a robot vacuum can get the job done with minimal fuss.
Even though this smart home technology has been available to consumers for a while, robot vacuums are just starting to become more popular due to the growing variety of options available.What Is A Smart Home? What Is A Smart Home?We recently launched a Smart Home category at MakeUseOf, but what is a smart home?READ MORE
Let’s examine the technology and highlight one great all-around option: the Neato Botvac Connected.

What Exactly Is a Robot Vacuum?

While it’s not exactly as fun as having R2-D2 or WALL-E living at your home, robot vacuums accomplish a single purpose: to keep your floors clean. Since you don’t have to worry about pushing them around,  the vacuums are low to the ground and can fit under many obstacles like tables and chairs.
Unlike the usual vacuum, robot models use a battery and don’t require a power cord. Instead, most models automatically return to a corded charging dock.
The built-in wheels help the unit navigate around your home and also automatically move the vacuum up or down depending on floor type: carpet, tile, hardwood, laminate, and others.
neato botvac connected underside
Unfortunately, no robot vacuum on the market can be used on stairs, but most models have special sensors that will prevent them from running off the edge of a tall surface. As well, the dirt doesn’t just disappear — any debris picked up by a vacuum is stored in a small bin that you’ll need to empty.

Who Needs One?

Does everyone need a robot vacuum? Absolutely not. If you’re living in a small home with just a few other relatively tidy adults, don’t mind doing the chore often, or have some type of maid service, you’ll be just fine without one.
But in my house, I have a trio of issues that most of us are probably familiar with: two young children, a dirty dog, and a wide variety of different allergies that affect everyone in my family.
dog robot vacuum
Image Credit: Frank11 via Shutterstock
As anyone with kids or animals knows, they’re not exactly known for being neat and tidy. Throw in allergies to pollen, grasses, dust mites, and more, and a robot vacuum helps keep my house clean and my family more healthy.If you’re ready to take the plunge, one of the best choices is Neato’s Botvac Connected.

The Neato Botvac Connected

Currently available for $649 (£679/C$915), the Connected is the top-of-the-line vacuum from Neato, and it offers a host of unique features not found anywhere else.
neato botvac connected
The standout feature is the small circle on top of the unit that houses the LaserSmart mapping and navigation technology. Using special technology called LIDAR, the vacuum takes time before it starts to scan and map the room, planning the exact route it will take while cleaning.
Unlike some other models, this approach means the vacuum has already mapped out a plan of attack while avoiding other obstacles in the room. That saves time and is definitely more efficient on the battery. On the turbo mode, it can clean for up to 90 minutes.
Another great plus is the vacuum’s “D” shape. Unlike circular vacuums, the flat edge allows the Connected to fully back into corners and crevices where dirt and dust like to pile up.
Neato Botvac Connected Wi-Fi Enabled Robot VacuumNeato Botvac Connected Wi-Fi Enabled Robot VacuumWi-Fi Connected for Ultimate Control-use the Neato app to clean your floors from wherever you are. Receive notifications on the go. BUY NOW AT AMAZON TOO LOW TO DISPLAY

Perfect for a Connected Home

Beyond being a great way to clean floors, Neato’s vacuum lives up to its name in a number of ways. The built-in Wi-Fi opens the door for a number of great features.
Using a smartphone app designed for either iOS or Android devices, you can set a schedule for cleaning and even start, stop, or pause the vacuum from anywhere in the world. Users can also use all of these features directly from their Apple Watch.Awesome Ways to Automate Home and Life With Your Smartwatch Awesome Ways to Automate Home and Life With Your SmartwatchThanks to Do apps from If This Then That (IFTTT), it's possible to control smart things such as lights, thermostats, and motion detectors from your smartwatch.READ MORE
neato app
There are even more advanced features exclusive to the Connected available on the app. A coverage map shows where exactly the vacuum has cleaned. And the cleaning history is akin to a fitness tracker, showing cleaning stats from the last 21 runs.
And if that wasn’t enough, you don’t even need to use an app to start the vacuum. With Amazon Echo integration, just tell the connected speaker “Alexa, ask Neato to start cleaning.” That’s definitely a unique way to use voice control. It also offers similar integration with Google Home.7 Creative Uses for Amazon Echo and Alexa 7 Creative Uses for Amazon Echo and AlexaYou’ve seen the ads starring Alec Baldwin, but you're still not sure what Amazon Echo does or whether you need one in your home. We’re about to find out.READ MORE

Long-Term Use

I’ve been using my Neato Botvac Connected for more than six months and have come away very happy. While a robot vacuum is something that is never on the top of anyone’s must-purchase list, after using one for a few months, it’s something I couldn’t live without. I schedule mine to run seven days a week. And it’s able to complete my entire house mixed with hardwood, tile, and carpet, in a little less than 90 minutes.
Even though it runs daily, the amount of dirt and dog hair the vacuum sucks up is staggering. I’ve thrown a number of tasks at it, and it always seems to come out just fine.
My one and only issue with the Neato Botvac Connected is its glossy black finish. While it looks great out of the box, after a few months it’s taken its fair share of scrapes. That doesn’t bother me, but just a word of warning.
While the device will take care of vacuuming, it still needs a bit of help from us lowly humans.
The dust bin needs emptying after pretty much every cleaning. You will have to change parts like the brushes and filters after a couple months for the best results. All of those parts of widely available to purchase online, and replaceable in just a few minutes.
All told, my house is much cleaner. And my big, heavy, full-sized vacuum is gathering dust in a closet.

Some Strong Alternatives

If the Botvac Connected isn’t up your alley, there are two other (cheaper) options to consider.
The Neato Botvac D3 Connected ($399/£449/C$599) comes in at around $300 less than the Botvac Connected.
Neato Botvac D3 Wi-Fi Connected Laser Navigating Robot VacuumNeato Botvac D3 Wi-Fi Connected Laser Navigating Robot VacuumEasy to operate. Use the Neato App to start, schedule, and receive notifications. Or, just press the button on the robot and go BUY NOW AT AMAZON $333.72
This model offers Wi-Fi and uses the same laser mapping technology as the more expensive model. You will lose a few features like the built-in LCD screen, eco/turbo mode, a side brush, included boundary markers, and a higher-capacity battery.
But if you live in a smaller home or apartment and can do without those features, it’s another good choice.
You may also want to take a look at the iRobot Roomba 680 ($325/£312). The Roomba brand has been synonymous with robot vacuums since the original version hit the market in 2002.
iRobot Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum CleaneriRobot Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum CleaneriAdapt Navigation uses a full suite of sensors to navigate and adapt to your changing home BUY NOW AT AMAZON $295.04
There are a few notable differences compared to the Neato Connected line, though. While you can schedule cleaning on the vacuum itself, there is no built-in wireless connectivity.
Also, the Roomba 680 doesn’t offer any of the same laser-guided navigation. It depends on a bumper to detect and steer away from obstacles. My Roomba is able to clean floors, but not to the same level nor as quickly as the Neato. But it’s something to consider with a smaller and uncluttered home.
There are also other, less expensive robot vacuums on the market. One example is the iLife A-series that we’ve reviewed in the past, most recently the A6 model. But for now, Neato and Roomba devices offer the best combination of features and reliability on all types of flooring.ILIFE A6 Robot Vacuum Review (and Giveaway) ILIFE A6 Robot Vacuum Review (and Giveaway)ILIFE has followed up on their wildly successful ultra budget robot vacuum the A4, with a new, more powerful A6 model. With a new rubber brush system, it should work better on carpeted floorsREAD MORE

Will You Be Getting a Robot Vacuum?

Even though robot vacuums aren’t perfect and still require some human assistance, the technology is improving with each new product cycle. And the technology can go a long way to making any living space cleaner and free of dust, dirt, pet hair, and other allergens without you needing to do a thing.
Have you ever thought about purchasing a robot vacuum? What questions do you have about the technology? Let us know in the comments.
Source: www.makeuseof.com

How to Stop Third-Party Apps From Accessing Your Private Data on Social Media

By   Nancy Messieh  Email subscription management service Unroll.me recently made headlines for  selling user data  to other companies,...