Category: Security

HomeKit Control of X10 Devices

HomeKit serves as a software framework that lets users set up their iPhone to configure, communicate with, and control “smart-home” appliances.  By designing rooms, items and actions in the HomeKit service, users can enable automatic actions in the house through a simple voice dictation to Siri or through apps.  This is also a closed protocol which also means only registered vendors can have their products certified to work.  In addition X10 was a protocol developed in developed in 1975 for home automation.  Because it’s been around for a while the devices are somewhat cheaper but  this also means that it doesn’t sport a connection to the newest protocols like HomeKit.  I experimented with voice control years ago (circa 2000) with HomeSeer but was never satisified with the quality and the fact that I would have to wire microphones all over my house.  Now that we have Siri and other fantastic voice recognition and this cool HomeKit integration the future for this old protocol is now.

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ReadyNAS NV+ Gmail Configuration


I finally tracked down the “Blocked Sign-in Attempt” messages on my Gmail account.  My old ReadyNAS NV+ had alerts setup on it using my Gmail SMTP.  Unfortunately Google has limited access to SMTP unless you allow less secure apps.  I didn’t want to allow this on my main e-mail account so I setup a “relay” account that I could enable the less secure access in. Read more

Electrodragon ESP8266 (Wi07C) Module Notes

I recently ordered up a few of those super-cheap ESP8266 wifi modules.  These have an 80211 b/g/n Wifi with WPA/WPA2 support, are super small and have a fairly powerful CPU on board (more powerful than that Arduino I am hooking it up to).  I ordered my modules from Electrodragon and they came super-fast (and even shipped from state-side).  For ~ $25.00 I got 4 pieces shipped to my door.  In hindsight I should have ordered a couple of the modules with all the GPIO pins exposed.  The first order of business is interfacing.  These modules utilize a 3.3V power supply and IOs.  I utilized my $17.00 Arduino Mega with 3.3v selector to be voltage compatible instead of setting up voltage dividers.

There are 5 critical pins needed to get this working:

  • GND – Connect to Arduino GND
  • VCC – Connect to Arduino 3.3V VDD
  • UTXD – Connect to Arduino Mega RX1
  • URXD – Connect to Arduino Mega TX1
  • CH_PD – Connect to Arduino 3.3V VDD

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Dump(ster) diving for data

This is just a word of caution for anyone throwing away, donating or otherwise discarding a computer or hard disk.  You may think that your data was removed with a format but you are mistaken.  There are many free and easy to use forensic recovery tools that can be used to recover your data. Case in point I found a 20 GB hard disk at the dump in the swap shed.  I plugged the drive into my garage/utility computer and began examining the drive.  The first thing I noted is there was no partition table and several bad sectors (likely the reason for it being discarded).  Being it was a parallel ATA drive I assumed that it was a PC based drive and began recovery using a tool called testdisk on in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (CNC).  This tool can recover otherwise deleted partition tables from a variety of systems.  I tend to use Linux for tasks like this to reduce the risk of infection from viruses and it can be done with a Live CD if necessary.

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