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Be Informed When It Comes To Home Security Cameras

A wild thing happened a few years ago that made me want to put a security camera in my home, and it's not what you'd expect. I live in a condo, so I really only have one ingress/egress of my "home" unless you count my 10th floor window (no balcony). What could I want a security camera for?! I had a contractor hired by my building to do some work on my front door. They did a terrible job on the door, but also left me puzzled as I came home to find my bathroom light on, along with a dirty rag on my kitchen counter. Why was this person going into my suite when they only needed to be in the front hall? I needed to know.

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You Don't Need A Gigabit Internet Connection

No, seriously. You don't. OK, OK.. I can already hear the critics yelling from the cheap seats "but whaddddabout". Sure, there's lots of examples saying otherwise, but the reality is you likely don't, and I'll tell you why.

In Canada, at the time of writing this post (June 2021) there's a massive move to Gigabit Internet connections. This isn't a good thing, it's a GREAT thing! I fully support what's going on. The shift to getting more and more people onto true fiber circuits is an unbelievably hard and expensive process, but it's one that is going to pay off for generations to come.  

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Updating Cloudflare DDNS on Ubiquiti UDM-Pro

I've been somewhat pulling my hair out (ok, that's a lie - I have none) figuring out a way to update a Cloudflare A name using the UDM-Pro. There's a long list of reasons you'd want to do this, but for my purposes in this instance I want to setup a VPN endpoint. Of course, static IP addresses aren't something that are common for small business users, and especially not so for home users. Setting manual DNS entries will work for all of a few days and users need something easy to remember that will update whenever the public IP address of the UDM-Pro gets updated (which could be days, weeks, or even months apart). 

Ubiquiti's firmware allows DDNS updates natively within it, but the providers are quite limited, and despite Cloudflare being arguably the most requested one in the forums, they've yet to add it. I suspect this is because it's not as simple as a quick URL call with some variables like DynDNS used to be. There's some tricky ways to do this using DNSoMatic, but I'm going to be setting this up for a long list of clients, and I also really don't want to rely on yet another middleware service.  

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Don't Call The Geek Squad

The "Geek Squad", eh? Okie dokie.

For those who aren't as familiar with what the Geek Squad is, it's Best Buy's "in-house" IT support team. Surely you know who Best Buy is, the massive electronics retailer that's more or less dominated the consumer electronics market. Seeing as almost all consumer electronics are designed to fail, and with technology moving at breakneck speeds, it's no surprise that a predominantly overwhelming amount of the population simply doesn't know where to start to get anything tech related fixed. The first instinct would be to take said item back to the store you bought it from. The friendly associate directs you to the "Geek Squad" counter nestled into the back of the store. This isn't by chance, but by design.

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Dryer completed cycle with SmartThings & Multi-Sensor

I'll level with you, I'm terrible at checking my laundry. 

I live in a 680sq foot condo, and my dryer is audible throughout my home. While not loud, if you're listening for it, you can hear it. Naturally you'd think I'd realize when the dryer has run it's course, but the sound just becomes white noise very quickly. I also have a secondary problem that my dryer... well... frankly sucks. I usually have to run 2 dryer cycles for most things to be dry. This leads to a long process seeing as I usually forget to check my dryer and set it for it's second cycle. 

So, how can I be a little more attentive to when a cycle completes? Automation, naturally. Here's a list of what I needed: 

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Updating Cloudflare DNS with Synology Diskstation

I ran into an interesting issue this evening which required a creative solution. The age old saying goes, a person is only as good as the tools available within their toolbox. 

So, some quick backstory on how I got here. I recently purchased an Ubiquiti Dream Machine Pro to replace my Fortigate 30E-3G4G-NAM. While the Fortigate firewall was completely kicking ass serving as the brains behind my home network, there were some other challanges I faced such as offloading the load on my Synology NAS which was running an Ubiquiti Controller (for my APs), and an Ubiquti Video Controller (my security cameras). The main issue stemmed around the fact that Ubiquti is slowly phasing out support for standalone controllers, specifically the video one. Plus, the extra load on my NAS just wasn't something I felt comfortable with.The UDM-Pro solves a ton of this with onboard NVR, Cloudkey and a vareity of other things. 

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Phishing Scams : When They Know Who You Are

Phishing scams have been around for decades, but in recent years they have become far more advanced due to the incredible amount of your data that has been leaked to the world. It's important to understand some of the methods being used today, as to ensure you do not fall prey to a would-be attacker. I want to be clear, this is by no means intended to be a complete guide to phishing simply to shed some light some of the more recent advancements in how the scams are operated.

Let's backup a second and explain the roots of what a phishing scam is. Phishing by definition is a cyber crime in which a target is contacted by email, phone, text message, or otherwise to try and lure the target into revealing sensitive information to the attacker. Attackers can pretend to be nearly anyone, so it's important to always be astute, no matter how legitimate you may believe a message could be. Typical scams include attackers posing as a financial institution (bank or credit card), a popular store (Walmart, Amazon, Costco, etc), or even as sneaky as being a friend or family member. 

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