In this video there, some people doing nothing in their life but surfing on the net, day and night.
Hackers have developed a drone that can steal the contents of your smartphone — from your location data to your Amazon (AMZN) password — and they’ve been testing it out in the skies of London. The research will be presented next week at the Black Hat Asia cybersecurity conference in Singapore.
The technology equipped on the drone, known as Snoopy, looks for mobile devices with Wi-Fi settings turned on.
Snoopy takes advantage of a feature built into all smartphones and tablets: When mobile devices try to connect to the Internet, they look for networks they’ve accessed in the past.
“Their phone will very noisily be shouting out the name of every network its ever connected to,” Sensepost security researcher Glenn Wilkinson said. “They’ll be shouting out, ‘Starbucks, are you there?…McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi, are you there?”
That’s when Snoopy can swoop into action (and be its most devious, even more than the cartoon dog): the drone can send back a signal pretending to be networks you’ve connected to in the past. Devices two feet apart could both make connections with the quadcopter, each thinking it is a different, trusted Wi-Fi network. When the phones connect to the drone, Snoopy will intercept everything they send and receive.
“Your phone connects to me and then I can see all of your traffic,” Wilkinson said.
That includes the sites you visit, credit card information entered or saved on different sites, location data, usernames and passwords. Each phone has a unique identification number, or MAC address, which the drone uses to tie the traffic to the device.
The names of the networks the phones visit can also be telling.
“I’ve seen somebody looking for ‘Bank X’ corporate Wi-Fi,” Wilkinson said. “Now we know that that person works at that bank.”
CNNMoney took Snoopy out for a spin in London on a Saturday afternoon in March and Wilkinson was able to show us what he believed to be the homes of several people who had walked underneath the drone. In less than an hour of flying, he obtained network names and GPS coordinates for about 150 mobile devices.
He was also able to obtain usernames and passwords for Amazon, PayPal and Yahoo(YAHOF) accounts created for the purposes of our reporting so that we could verify the claims without stealing from passersby.
Collecting metadata, or the device IDs and network names, is probably not illegal, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Intercepting usernames, passwords and credit card information with the intent of using them would likely violate wiretapping and identity theft laws.
Wilkinson, who developed the technology with Daniel Cuthbert at Sensepost Research Labs, says he is an ethical hacker. The purpose of this research is to raise awareness of the vulnerabilities of smart devices.
Installing the technology on drones creates a powerful threat because drones are mobile and often out of sight for pedestrians, enabling them to follow people undetected.
While most of the applications of this hack are creepy, it could also be used for law enforcement and public safety. During a riot, a drone could fly overhead and identify looters, for example.
Users can protect themselves by shutting off Wi-Fi connections and forcing their devices to ask before they join networks.
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Most senior citizens in the U.S. are already cell-phone-and-computer-savvy; nearly 80 percent of seniors 65 and older own a cell phone, while more than 60 percent own a computer or laptop. However, the use of other tech gadgets (i.e. smartphones and tablets) have yet to catch on in the “gray market,” as no more than 25 percent of U.S. seniors use either device.
With 10,000 Americans turning 65 daily—a trend expected to last for the next 17 years—the number of seniors using more tech devices should increase, as well. This bodes well for seniors, their families and friends and the digital market. For seniors not yet plugged in, making the transition from analog to digital is becoming simpler and is more practical now that tech and digital development experts are catering more to the needs of the boomer generation. Below are just a few ways that technology is benefiting seniors.
There are other helpful apps, as well. One app—EyeReader—actually allows a person to use his or her smartphone as a magnifying glass for reading. Park’n'Forget is an app even younger generations might find useful, as it helps users remember where they parked their cars. It also has a timer on it to keep track of how long you’ve been parked, which is helpful when you’re in metered parking.
Start-up company Lively is a remote monitoring system for seniors that learns daily routines like taking pills, sticking to meal times and exercise. The sensors connect to a smartphone app, so family members can keep track of their loved one without compromising his or her privacy. Certain sensors are attached to items in the house, like pill boxes, the pantry or refrigerator and can even keep track of a user through a key fob that uses a Bluetooth low energy transmitter, in case one wanders past a certain range from home. Through the app on family members’ smartphones, they are alerted and updated on progress and activities.
What keeps seniors more independent is the ability to be mobile without their loved ones worrying about them falling or getting into an accident without them knowing. Devices like the GreatCall Splash are new, mobile-esque gadgets that allow a senior the freedom of leaving their home to shop or visit friends without worrying there could be an emergency and no way to call for help. While other press-a-button alert devices are still useful for the home, this device provides seniors security beyond their houses, giving them the ability to travel with only a button-click away from getting assistance from a 5Star Agent with the GreatCall Splash plan.
For many seniors, new technology can be so overwhelming that some people avoid it all together. In order for seniors to become more tech-savvy, new age companies have not only made devices more user-friendly, but many are offering easy “how-to” sites for seniors to help them learn new tech with step-by-step processes.
For example, the FaceTime app is a wonderful way for seniors to see and talk to faraway relatives through smartphones and iPads. How to even get to that app can be somewhat frustrating for some seniors. Dummies.com is really just a site that makes things simple for users. For instance, it has step-by-step directions for helping new users FaceTime using an iPad 2.
One reason many seniors avoid using technology is that, unaware of the options for protecting personal information and financial data, many of them are susceptible to identity theft. Big wireless corporations like Google, Apple and Samsung, as well as the four national service carriers have started a campaign to push the importance of data security for devices—with seniors specifically in mind. Lawmakers are lobbying for local and state governments to make “kill switches” mandatory on phones. The campaign is seeking laws where all phones manufactured in the U.S. after July 2015 be equipped with anti-theft features that include data wipe and lock capabilities, which can be reversed with the user’s password.
Have you started your holiday shopping? Gifts should be practical and thoughtful because you want the person receiving the gift to know you spent time thinking about what to get them. If you are having a difficult time thinking of the perfect gift, then look no further. Here are 16 helpful apps (just for seniors), which will make their lives a whole lot easier.
17 Helpful Apps for Seniors
These apps are broken down into a few different categories, ranging from health to entertainment. Some of the apps are for iPhones and some are for iPads, so note which ones you’re buying beforehand.
5 Health Apps
These apps might be the most important ones around to download, since they can possibly help save a life.
iPhone — $0.99
iPad — $2.99
Easily record your blood pressure, your resting heart rate and your weight, and you’ll be able to track it on a daily basis and over time.
Instant Heart Rate (iPhone) – FREE
This app uses your iPhone’s camera to detect your pulse from your fingertip, which is similar to what pulse oximeters already use.
Pillboxie (iPad and iPhone) – $0.99
Remembering you have to take your medication is important – but just as important is remembering, which medications you have to take at which times. You can even customize your meds with different combinations of med types and colors.
iPhone – Free
iPad — Free
Use WebMD’s Symptom Checker to help what your potential issues might be, and this app can also work as a handy guide for medical emergencies.
My Medical for iPad
iPhone – $3.99
iPad — $3.99
Keep all of your family’s medical information and medical history in one spot, for quick access. Track blood tests and X-rays, and have the ability to back the information up to your computer, too.
4 Helping Hands Apps
Here’s a handful of apps that should make life a little easier.
EyeReader (iPhone) – $1.99
Hold your iPhone over a book or some paperwork, and your phone turns into a magnifying glass, with a light to help brighten the text.
BigNames (iPhone) – $1.99
Browse through the names and numbers in your contact list much easier, with large, high-contrast text that helps those with some issues with small text.
Silver Surf (iPad) – FREE
Blows up the navigation buttons and makes it easier for older users with less dexterity in their fingers than most people. It also has an Interactive Text Zoom slider that enlarges text up to 200 percent.
Park’n'Forget (iPhone) - $0.99
Never forget where you parked your car again! Input what floor you’re on and what aisle or spot, and you’ll never roam the parking garage again. It also has a convenient “Parking Meter” timer, that alerts you when you’re parking meter is about to expire.
4 Free Entertainment Apps
The iPhone and iPad are practical, no doubt, but there also should be some play time involved, too!
Clevermind (iPad) – Free
This is a great app to help people dealing with cognitive impairments that come with problems associated with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. From quizzes and games, to big buttons, voice command controls and a calendar interface.
Lumosity (iPhone) – Free
Keep your mind sharp with some of the best mind games around, designed by neuroscientists working to enhance memory, attention and other skills.
Great Internet radio app that broadcasts “old-time radio shows” all day, every day. Harken back to yesteryear with the help of today’s technology.
Pandora (iPad and iPhone) – Free
By typing in any artist, band or song, users will be able to listen to thousands of songs in that same genre. Then they can upvote or downvote each song, which helps Pandora fine-tune which songs you prefer to hear for each channel.
3 Free News & Social Apps
These apps will help keep everyone updated on things they need to know, like what’s happening in the world out there, and what’s happening with your friends and family.
iPhone – Free
iPad — Free
This is the greatest invention since the invention of social media! Connect this app with all of your social media accounts, and connect it with some of the best news and content sites that interest you. Then watch it turn everything into a digital magazine, in which you “flip” the pages and see everything set up like a magazine, including Facebook posts and tweets.
The Weather Channel (iPhone) — Free
Get the weather report for whichever city you need right now, or every hour, or see what it’s going to look like over the weekend, or over the next 10 days.
iPhone – Free
iPad — Free
What’s better than just talking with your friends and family over the phone? How about talking to them – and seeing them — on a video conference!?! You will never be surprised by how much your grandchildren have changed again!
Hopefully, you found several apps that you found both interesting and entertaining. But most of all, we hope you found some helpful apps for seniors that make things easier in 2014.
About the Author:
David Gonos is the Digital Content Manager at DigitalLanding.com. The company helps users learn about the latest in TV, Internet and phone services. The Digital Landing Deals page tracks down the best offers on digital services in your area.
We found this wildly entertaining trivia challenge on Buzzfeed and thought you’d enjoy it just as much as we did.
Meet the high school seniors…
(Remember when you were their age? You thought you knew everything…)
And now, meet the senior citizens…
(Too legit to quit! The real deal.)
Click here to find out who won the head-to-head competition!
Just another reason why seniors rock! Thanks Buzzfeed!
How many photos have you taken in your life? Hundreds? Thousands? Some are probably torn and faded, stacked in a drawer. Others may not have ever made it to paper form and are taking up important space on your camera’s memory card.
The good news – you can easily free up space on your camera. You can transfer the pictures to your computer and then back them up so they won’t ever go missing.
The first step
Before you try any of these methods, transfer the photos from your digital camera (or smartphone if you’re tech-savvy) to your computer. Your camera should come with a USB cable that can connect it to the computer. After the connection, copy each photo into the “My Pictures” folder on your computer.
But what happens if your computer crashes? That’s where these four tips come in handy. You just need to do one – so pick whatever’s easiest for you.
1. USB flash drive
Head over to Walmart, Staples or any office supply store to pick up a USB flash drive. Nowadays, these little gadgets contain large amounts of storage space at a very affordable price – many under ten bucks!
Simply plug the flash drive into your computer and transfer your photos. This can be done the same way as the transfer to your computer from your digital camera – simply copy from the folder “My Pictures”, and paste into “Removable Disk” (i.e. your flash drive).
2. Social media
Are you on social media? Senior citizens are one of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook. Putting pictures on Facebook is not only a great way to share content with your family and friends, but it’s another method of backing up your pictures.
Easily post your photos on Facebook (or check out other websites, like Flickr), so that you can get to your images whenever you log in. By posting photos on the Internet, you’ll create a permanent backup.
Shoot a few e-mails to yourself to back up your pictures. Simply attach the images and send to an e-mail address you plan on having forever.
Beware that many e-mail accounts limit the amount of data you can send – so send just a handful of pictures at a time. Stick all the messages in a folder and you’ll always have access to the images.
Have you ever heard of “the cloud”? It’s a new tech term, so to put it simply – the cloud is a network of servers that allows you to do tasks, such as e-mail and store files, from any device with Internet connection (not just the bulky desktop at home).
So choose a cloud service, such as Dropbox, to store your pictures. Then, if your computer crashes or you want to look at the images from another location, they’ll be available to you!
Don’t wait to lose your pictures
Many people make the mistake of backing up their images after they were lost unexpectedly. Either they misplaced their camera, their computer crashed or another unforeseen misfortune occurred.
Don’t wait – back up your images now. Then, be sure to regularly back up your images so that you’ll always be able to look at them.
Alexis Caffrey is a freelance writer with a focus on technology, new media, and design (who has saved many photos in her lifetime!). In a former life she was a graphic designer based out of New York, NY. You can reach Alex via her email.
Navigating through a crowded classroom, his voice resonates through speakers for those hard of hearing like a beacon guiding ships through the darkness.
With patience and humor, Joe D’Alexander, 82, teaches basic computer skills to a silver-haired audience eager to bridge the digital divide. After the death of his wife 16 years ago, he looked for a way to keep busy and began volunteering at SeniorNet, an international nonprofit aimed at helping older adults transition to the digital world.
With a background in computers, he quickly became an instructor and the site coordinator. For a $30 fee, adults 50 and older can take a six-session course on computer fundamentals. Those wanting to continue can take a course on using the Internet or $5 workshops on topics like buying and selling on eBay, making greeting cards and using a digital camera.
By Sarah Stevensen, aplaceformom.com
Forget learning how to program the VCR—the technology seniors have their eyes on today includes mobile gadgets, wireless connectivity and digital devices.
Is Grandma going gadget-crazy? Not quite yet. Yes, the number of older adults using the internet and related tech devices is increasing, with over half of seniors using the internet and owning cellphones, according to a 2012 survey by Pew Research. But there’s still a long way to go before we can consider our senior citizens to be fully tech savvy. The fact is, today’s technology can keep seniors engaged, connected, mentally active, and physically safe, making it increasingly important for our loved ones to keep in the high-tech loop. So what devices should seniors and their caregivers have their eye on?
Must-Have Technology for Seniors
Which piece of technology has been the most critical for you and your senior loved ones? Do you think high-tech devices are necessary or is it an added financial burden? Join the discussion here.
About the Author: Sarah J. Stevenson is a writer, artist, editor and graphic designer living in Northern California. Her visual art has been exhibited around California, and her writing has appeared in a variety of web sites and print publications. In addition to writing about older adults, she also writes for younger ones–her first novel for young adults, THE LATTE REBELLION, was published in 2011 by Flux. For more information, please visit: http://www.sarahjamilastevenson.com
By ERIN GEISMAR, Special to Newsday
In a small, boxy classroom, 13 students split up into two groups, each of which is huddled around a laptop at opposite ends of the space in Huntington. Instructor Jeri Usbay, who was teaching a class on using the social networking site Facebook, asked for their patience as she fiddled with the settings of one laptop. Suddenly, a xylophone-like melody filled the room. After the group on the other side of the room hit a button on their screen that said “answer call,” the students broke into smiles as they saw their counterparts through the screen. For many in the group of over-50 adults in the room, it was their first experience with video chatting. One man moved his face closer to the screen and waved at it, commenting that he could use it to talk to his granddaughter.
Usbay, 59, said moments like those are one of the reasons she loves teaching seniors how to use Facebook. “The smiles I see when someone discovers an old friend or finds new pictures of grandchildren is priceless,” she said.
Usbay’s Facebook classes are just one set of options for students at SeniorNet, a national nonprofit with a branch run in the Family Service League building in Huntington. The organization also offers classes in computer basics, word processing, photo editing, MicrosoftExcel and more. To participate, seniors pay $40 a year to become members and $10 per course, each of which typically meets once a week for four to eight weeks.
SeniorNet also offers free seminars at libraries in Babylon, Greenlawn, Hauppauge, Holbrookand Northport, and brings its mobile learning center to Paumanok Village affordable senior housing in Greenlawn and the Northport VA Medical Center.
Teaching the courses is a dedicated group of volunteers: instructors who lead the classes and coaches who sit in on each class to help students who might fall behind. Behind the scenes are others: an executive committee that includes directors Slava Vero and Bill Baker, plus other volunteers who keep the books, schedule the classes, register participants and help publicize the organization. “Everyone here is a volunteer, so everyone wants to be here,” said Vero, 79, of Northport. “We are like a family.”
Learning about computers
In March 1999, a group of volunteers at the Family Service League identified the need for technology education for seniors. Through research, they discovered SeniorNet and decided to sponsor a branch. Vero and 39 other volunteers got the organization off the ground and opened the SeniorNet classroom that August.
At the time, society was quickly coming to rely on computers, Vero said. Participants were eager to learn the basics, including how to turn on the device. “In the ’90s, people would be so excited about email because they could email their children,” Vero added. The organization has evolved with the times. Basic classes are still offered, but the course selection has grown to include not only Facebook but lessons in using Skype and digital cameras.
SeniorNet is still entirely run by volunteers, which now total more than 140, including high school students in the summer. Classes for SeniorNet members are offered at the Huntington classroom, and the organization also runs a remote learning program with technology that allows instructors to access students’ computers from home, and also teaches classes at an East Yaphank annex.
There is another SeniorNet operation based in Hempstead that is part of the national organization but is not affiliated with the Family Service League.
SeniorNet at Family Service League has received support from Suffolk County and the Town of Huntington and has been awarded numerous national grants. Through a joint venture with National Grid Foundation, SeniorNet volunteers also refurbish computers to distribute to the needy. Over the years, the support has enabled SeniorNet to teach about 11,000 students in its classroom alone. “Our mission is to teach seniors computer skills and bring them into the 21st century,” Vero said. “Our world is no longer you write a letter or a note; you have to know these things.”
Helps with healing
Nina Saporito, 64, of Huntington, thinks it was divine intervention that brought her and SeniorNet together in 2007. She received the group’s brochure in the mail shortly after her husband had died unexpectedly from a heart attack. Though she was still grieving, Saporito thought it would be good to get out, so she signed up for four courses at once, bringing her to the center four days a week for the next eight weeks.
After completing courses in word processing, graphics, Internet and Excel, Saporito decided to become a coach and eventually advanced to become an instructor, teaching Basic Introduction to Computers 1. She also attends trade shows to spread information about SeniorNet.
As a student, Saporito said she was able to learn the skills necessary to move on with her life as a widow. Her husband, Eugene, who owned a data processing company and a rental business, had handled the bills and kept the files. After SeniorNet, Saporito was able to maintain the rental business on her own; she sold the data processing company.
On a personal level, the SeniorNet network and the feeling of accomplishment she felt as she became an instructor helped lift her out of her grief, she said. “It’s very good for my self-esteem,” Saporito said. “When you’re dealing with grief and everything else around you stops, you do kind of feel a little bit useless. It gave me a venue to stay in the outside world rather than secluding myself, and it was a wonderful, wonderful venue for me.”
Satisfaction in teaching
Usbay, of Huntington, started volunteering for SeniorNet about three years ago after retiring from a 25-year career in the IT business. When she discovered SeniorNet, she said she felt like she was coming back home. “Technology is there to enrich your life and make your life better,” Usbay said. “But it really confuses a lot of people. I get a lot of satisfaction out of showing people how to use new technology or Facebook, just to make their lives a little better.”
Technology gave Jim Brick a new lease on life.
The Huntington resident had a stroke in 2004 that left his right side paralyzed. The former theater professor, flutist, actor, poet, sculptor and printmaker had never thought much of computers, but suddenly, with half of his body “like wood,” he said he found himself capable of engaging in few of the things he used to enjoy.
A couple of years into a slow recovery, Brick, 67, became acquainted with SeniorNet volunteer Mike Early. Through the group, Early was able to get Brick a refurbished computer and began teaching him some computer basics. Eventually, Brick signed up for SeniorNet’s remote learning program, through which he has been able to advance his computer skills without leaving his home. He compared learning the language of computers with traveling to a place where English is not spoken. “Being able to navigate through that land, it’s that critical,” he said. “I had no knowledge to any of the things which now are central to the way we live.” He now uses the computer for personal research, email and to listen to hard-to-find Indian music, his favorite. He said SeniorNet has drastically changed his quality of life. “I can’t tell you what kind of relief it was to have something to concentrate on besides a book,” Brick said.
After years of therapy, he has slowly recovered some use of his right side but still uses a wheelchair to get around. “I have a second language that I now can speak,” he added. “The fact that SeniorNet exists and that it continues to expand is great.”
Sign me up
Volunteers are needed in the Huntington and East Yaphank centers to serve as coaches and teachers, offer technical support and to work on various committees. A volunteer application and job descriptions can be found at seniornetli.org.
Contact: SeniorNet at Family Service League, 631-427-3700 ext. 268 or ext. 235.