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Ring’s Flying In-Home Camera Drone Escalates Privacy Worries



Privacy fears are blasting off after Amazon’s Ring division unveiled the new Always Home Cam, a smart home security camera drone.

Ring’s newly announced robot drone – a connected device that flies around homes taking security footage – is causing privacy experts’ concerns to take off.

Amazon on Thursday unveiled the Always Home Cam as part of its Ring division, which will cost $249.99 and starts shipping next year. The autonomous indoor security camera can fly around in the home on paths that are pre-approved by users, allowing them to check to see if they left a window open or forgot to turn the stove off – or to check to make sure robbers aren’t breaking in.

However, the new device has also sparked a firestorm of privacy concerns on Twitter about how Ring – whose connected doorbells have already created plenty of privacy controversies – will collect, use and share the collected data.

“For privacy advocates, the concept of an untethered IoT [Internet of Things] device surveilling the house is disturbing,” Rick Holland, CISO and vice president of strategy at Digital Shadows, told Theatpost. “Coupled with Ring’s controversial privacy practices, the adoption of the drone could be low. However, those that have already embraced the concept of in-house security cameras are likely to be excited. The prospect of having a single drone monitor your house instead of multiple individual cameras could be alluring.”

Privacy Concerns

Ring for its part said that it has built privacy features into the physical design of the Always Home Cam. When the drone is docked in its charging base, the camera is physically blocked. The device has also been designed to hum at a certain volume, so it’s clear that the camera is in motion and recording, said Ring.

But Emma Bickerstaffe, senior research analyst at the Information Security Forum, told Threatpost that Ring needs to better address how it’s securing and using the sensitive personal data that’s being collected. If sold to advertisers, for instance, this type of data could allow companies to track individuals’ daily life, habits and preferences, and use this information for commercial gain, she said.

“Smart home devices, such as Ring, collect an inordinate amount of sensitive personal data in real time – this is typically transmitted to a cloud service for processing,” she said. “A critical question is, who has access to the data collected by the device, and whether it is processed and stored in a lawful manner that protects personal data from unauthorized use.”

For users who do opt for the security drone, the proper configuration will be critical to minimize security and privacy risks as much as possible, Holland urged.

“Consumers must enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) and automatic software updates to ensure that any vulnerabilities are quickly resolved,” he said.

Ring Privacy Efforts

During its Thursday product launch, Ring highlighted several privacy and security steps it is taking. For one, it said it aims to make end-to-end encryption easier for connected-home device users to control, saying that later this year, users will be able turn on end-to-end encryption for video from their Control Center.

“Privacy, security and user control are foundational to us at Ring,” said the company in a press statement. “Launching today in the Control Center, Video Encryption Controls let you learn more about how we currently encrypt and protect your videos.”

The changes come after media reports shed light on serious security holes in the Ring connected doorbells. For instance, Ring owners aren’t notified of suspicious login alerts when devices are accessed on various IP addresses — and there are seemingly no limitations for incorrect login attempts. Ring has addressed these issues by mandating two-factor authentication (2FA) security measures.

Ring is also allowing doorbell users to completely disable its “Neighbors” service, a controversial feature that allows Ring owners to share video footage captured from their cameras with law enforcement. The app has raised worries about racial bias, surveillance and privacy.

Smart-Home Privacy Problems

IoT devices – many of which have security measures described as a “ticking time bomb” by researchers – are dramatically increasing in homes, which could potentially open the literal door to private and sensitive user data.

Researchers have previously discovered several deep-rooted issues that exist around connected devices: Earlier in 2020, researchers found that at the most basic level, 98 percent of all IoT device traffic is unencrypted, exposing personal and confidential data on the network.

Several smart home devices have been found to have specific security holes. In August, researchers disclosed vulnerabilities in Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant platform that could have allowed attackers to access users’ personal information, like home addresses – simply by persuading them to click on a malicious link. Also in August, researchers urged connected-device manufacturers to ensure they have applied patches addressing a flaw in a module used by millions of IoT devices.

These security fears are exacerbated now that much of the world is working from home due to the pandemic, Bickerstaffe said. Cybercriminals are looking to smart home devices as a way to access and compromise valuable business information on the same network.

With this in mind, “close attention should be paid to the security controls adopted by Ring,” Bickerstaffe told Threatpost. “Cybercriminals are already maximizing the opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in smart home devices as a stepping stone to target the network on which these devices are installed.”

Source:- Threatpost

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iPhone 12 didn't get USB-C, and I'm starting to accept that it'll never happen – CNET



Come on already.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This story is part of Apple Event, our full coverage of the latest news from Apple headquarters.

I had high hopes that the iPhone 12 would move to a universal port that’s already everywhere. Instead, it’s traded one proprietary format for another. The iPhone 12 didn’t get USB-C at Apple’s event last week. (Here’s how to preorder and buy all four Apple 12 models.) Instead, it kept Lightning and added a new MagSafe connector instead.

I’m starting to accept that USB-C on the iPhone will never happen.

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Apple (re)introduces MagSafe


Lightning has been around since the iPhone 5 in 2012, when it debuted as a replacement for the old 30-pin charger that had been around since the iPod. Lightning had its advantages, way back last decade: It was small, and enabled faster data transfer. But we’ve been living in the era of USB-C for years now. Lightning feels old by comparison.

Apple’s new MagSafe charge connection looks like an improvement to standard wireless Qi charging, adding a magnetic handshake similar to the way the Apple Watch charges. Charging could be more reliable. But also, you’ll need a whole new charge cable, and the MagSafe-compatible iPhone cases to go with them. 

But why is there still a Lightning port? Why not be brave and move to USB-C, too?

Apple’s iPad lineup has already started to shift to USB-C: the iPad Pro first, now the iPad Air this year. MacBooks have all moved to USB-C/Thunderbolt 3. I can charge an iPad Pro, MacBook Pro, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia controller and Oculus Quest 2 all from common charge cables. And then Lightning for the rest. 

Lightning is a weird legacy port now, and it’s even weirder that Apple packs a USB-C-to-Lightning charging cable in the iPhone 12 box. It makes you find or buy a charging brick that is USB-C, and that you’ll plug your Lightning cable into. It’s like a tease. Seriously, why not just move fully to USB-C? 

And now that Apple isn’t including a charging brick in the box, and that USB-C tipped cable won’t fit into your older iPhone and iPad power adapters, what are the odds that a lot of people will just end up buying a MagSafe charger and a new case with their iPhone 12?

At the moment, there’s a power strip on my home office desk studded with all the bricks and cords I need to charge up all my random devices. I see a ton of wearable-specific chargers, but for everything else, it’s nearly all USB-C. Everything, that is, except for the iPhone, and the few other Apple devices that still use Lightning.

I hate dongles. And I dislike proprietary charge cables even more. At least one could have been eliminated on future iPhones. Instead, I might be adding another.

I don’t think I need to explain why USB-C should be on the iPhone. Because all other phones use it. Because half of Apple’s devices do, more or less? And also, it would allow a more seamless flow of accessories and dongles for the iPhone and iPad Pro and other products I use. Sure, I can do many of those things with Lightning and a dongle: I could output to a TV with HDMI, or use a microSD card to read camera data. But even so, USB-C would be so much nicer.

Sanho HyperDrive USB-C Hub for iPad ProSanho HyperDrive USB-C Hub for iPad Pro

OK, this might be going too far. But you could on an iPad Pro.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Sure, you may have all those Lightning accessories you may need to replace. Who cares? Unlike the 30-pin to Lightning evolution, which involved two waves of proprietary ports and accessories, USB-C skips all that. And, again, here’s the great news: Apple has already made the move. Or, made the move partway. 

So, iPhone 12 didn’t get USB-C. Now, I’m wondering if it ever arrives at all. But seriously: Apple, don’t skip it. Don’t go portless, and fuse the whole thing into one port-free slab like everyone is anticipating, using MagSafe as the only charge method. No, please. If the iPhone is an everyday computer, it would be extremely helpful for it to get an everyday port, too — one small and already well-used and accepted one.

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The best time to buy an Apple iPhone? Right now




Yahoo Life is committed to finding you the best products at the best prices. We may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change.
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Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (Photo: Getty Images)

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Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (Photo: Getty Images)


If you’re thinking about making the switch from Android to iPhone, or just need a smartphone upgrade, get ready: The best time to save money on an iPhone is…right now!

Apple recently announced the new iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro with the latest and greatest bells and whistles—including 5G wireless—you can put inside a smartphone. While the newest models start at just $699 for the Apple iPhone 12 Mini, the tech giant also dropped the price on previous models.

In fact, you can pre-order the Apple iPhone 12 for $800 (or $33.33 per month for 24 months) at Verizon. Want something bigger? Pre-order the Apple iPhone 12 Pro for $1,000 (was $41.66 per month for 24 months) at Verizon too. Both phones come out on October 23.

(Verizon Communications, Inc. is the parent company of Verizon Wireless and Yahoo Life.)

Once a year, Apple usually discounts older generations of the iPhone to clear inventory for the new generation. This year is no different with price drops on last year’s iPhone 11 ($599, was $699) and iPhone XR ($499, was $749). Not too shabby.

However, Apple quietly discontinued the 2019’s iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max altogether.

Meanwhile, retailers like Amazon are always selling new and renewed models of older iPhones. At the moment, you can get the Apple iPhone SE (64GB) for as little as $350. When it was released earlier this year in April, it cost $399—that’s a savings of $49.

So unless you just can’t survive without the very latest model, check out the best iPhone deals below:

Here are the best deals on previous models of the Apple iPhone:

Apple iPhone 8 Plus (64GB)—renewed, $332 (was $385),
Apple iPhone 8 Plus (64GB)—renewed, $330 (was $386),
Apple iPhone 8 Plus (64GB)—renewed, $320 (was $339),
Apple iPhone 8 Plus (64GB)—renewed, $332 (was $385),
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (128GB)—renewed, $290 (was $350),
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (128GB)—renewed, $3090 (was $340),
Apple iPhone 7 Plus (128GB)—renewed, $299 (was $315),
Apple iPhone 7 (128GB)—renewed, $211 (was $229),
Apple iPhone 7 (128GB)—renewed, $189 (was $400),
Apple iPhone SE (64GB)—renewed, $350 (was $370),
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (256GB) —renewed, $950 (was $1,260),
Apple iPhone 11 (128GB)—renewed, $630 (was $850),
Apple iPhone XS Max (64GB)—renewed, $530 (was $564),
Apple iPhone XS (64GB)—renewed, $449 (was $484),
Apple iPhone XS (64GB)—renewed, $440 (was $465),
Apple iPhone XS (64GB)—Simple Mobile (pre-paid), $399 (was $600),
Apple iPhone XR (64GB)—renewed, $384 (was $405),
Apple iPhone X (64GB)—Simple Mobile (pre-paid), $502 (was $528),
Apple iPhone X (64GB)—renewed, $380 (was $404),

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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T.M.R. planning redevelopment of Rockland sector – Montreal Gazette



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“We don’t want to see Rockland go,” Roy said.

But T.M.R. wants to ensure any future redevelopment plans for the mall by its owner, Cominar, a real estate investment trust in which the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec owns a stake, will necessarily involve building underground parking, Roy added.

“We’re creating a framework,” he said. “We’re sending a message to the owner of the land saying here’s the playing field and if you come and propose projects, we’ll see according to that.”

The Rockland sector is at a crossroads given the uncertain future of shopping centres, Roy said. Cominar has announced plans to densify other malls it owns in the Montreal region with residential construction.

T.M.R.’s plan for the Rockland sector also includes an extension of Brittany Ave., a bike path and a shuttle service to transport residents to the future REM stations in T.M.R. CDPQ Infra Inc. is also building a REM station across from Rockland on the north side of the Met in St-Laurent borough. However, Roy said the Caisse de dépôt subsidiary hasn’t yet indicated whether and how T.M.R. residents will be able to get to it.

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