Category Archives: Smartphones

Build your own DIY Home Security System with Raspberry Pi

In the age of digital technology and always connected hardware, setting up a home security system should transcend the art of putting an alarm-shaped box on the wall. Securing your home in the 21st century should instead utilise all affordable technology to create a system that not only detects, but also alerts, as well as doing its best to identify.

Such security systems can prove expensive to buy as a packaged option, as well as being a little inflexible. DIY security systems offer us a better degree of versatility, as well as having the added bonus of being less costly.

While a DIY option may take longer to setup, the results can be just as good, or even better, than those available through electronics stores and security vendors.

Demand The Right Key For Your Doors

Old fashioned brass keys can be easily copied with a bit of clay and a dodgy keycutter.

For the modern home security system, you should consider moving forward withan NFC system, which will unlock your property as soon as the correct tag is in the vicinity.

The system could be applied to various locations, from the front and back door to your shed or garage, or even a safe or particular room in the house you wish to keep locked. As with all of the DIY home security projects listed it is worth considering some form of Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), in case intruders attempt to disable your security system by cutting the power.

Detect Intruders On Your Property With A Raspberry Pi

Love for the Raspberry Pi here at MakeUseOf is strong, so it makes sense that we should include this versatile little computer – the hub of so many DIY projects – in this list. Since 2013 a small video camera has been available for the Raspberry Pi, small enough to fit inside many Pi cases, and if this isn’t enough then the Raspberry Pi B+, released in 2014, has additional USB ports for additional webcams (although these should ideally be powered from another source).


The Raspberry Pi is small enough to position outside your home as a security camera, and with the right software can be configured as a motion capture system, capable of detecting intruders and even sending photos and video to your cloud storage and sending email alerts to your phone.

We’ve previously covered the steps required for creating a motion capture security system with a Raspberry Pi, but note that since then things have progressed significantly in this area. There’s even a video surveillance distro you can download and install, called MotionPi.

Monitor Your Locked Doors With An Arduino

While the Raspberry Pi solution will check your property for movement, it won’t do much in the way of making a noise. It also isn’t the best way to check if someone is opening and closing doors in your house.

For this, we turn to the DIYer’s other best friend: the Arduino. Several variations on the basic Arduino intruder detection alarm system described previously by James Bruce exist. Here’s a look at it in action:

In this example, James has used a proximity sensor, but it is also possible to setup a laser tripwire system or use a similar setup with a a magnetic door sensor.

Home Security With Your Old Smartphones

No Arduino? Short of a Raspberry Pi? Worry not, as you can use other hardware you might have lying around or in drawers for home security purposes.

One great solution – particularly if the device had a good camera – is to use one or more old smartphones as a network of security cameras.


It makes sense to take advantage of any suitable hardware you already own, and a smartphone is wireless ready. With a wireless system you can position your cameras wherever you need them (preferably indoors) and even alter their whereabouts to fox strangers who might be visiting to “case your joint”.

Using some old Android phones (an Android-compatible Windows Mobile device such as the HTC HD2 could also be used) with the IP Webcam app installed and the Webcam Watcher desktop app for Windows, it shouldn’t take more than an hour to setup, position and start monitoring activity in and around your property.

PC-Based Home Security Project

There is a strong argument for using smaller devices for DIY home security projects, but for reliability you may opt for a dedicated PC.

While the power requirements might be a little OTT (dump the old power-hungry CPU for something more modern if this is the case) a wider selection of apps and strong cross-platform support exists, whether you’re using Windows or a suitable Linux distro.


Ryan Dube has previously illustrated how to build a Wi-Fi home surveillance system using a PC as the main central component, quite similar to the system using old smartphones above. Meanwhile, as illustrated by James, you can configure such a system to issue alerts to your iPhone and notifications can also be setup for other mobile devices.

Note that monitoring apps can prove temperamental at times. Make sure you make the right choice when selecting an app, looking for compatibility and reliability, and ensuring it is capable of displaying images from wireless webcams.

Five security systems that you can make yourself and secure your property, preferably with mobile alerts! Have you tried any of these already? Would you care to suggest something we might have missed? Tell us!

Image Source: Image Credit: Burglar Via Shutterstock, Web Surveillance Camera via Shutterstock


How To Bypass iOS 8 iCloud Activation Lock Screen on 8.1.3

In an unexpected turn of events, an iOS 8 activation lock bypass has emerged. You can now bypass iOS 8 activation lock using a custom DNS server and some glitches. This is not a forever solution but can allow access into the device to achieve the previous owners email for contacting purposes. This will also allow you to make use of the activation locked device and bypass the iOS 8 activation lock and watch movies, youtube or play games. There are many functions to explore with thus bypass method.

This method has been tested with the iPhone 5S, 5 and 4S by me personally all on the latest iOS 8.1.3 firmware. This does also work on the latest iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch 5G models.

Step 1.The custom DNS server you need to enter is:

Step 2. Go to the last activation screen and select ‘Activation Help’, this will boot you over to the custom website. Here you can play games, watch youtube and so much more. If you wish to permanently bypass iOS 8 activation lock, read on below.

Step 3. Go to ‘Applications’ and select ‘Crash Test 1′. This will respring your device.

Step 4. Navigate to WiFi settings once again, click on the ‘i’ and select ‘Manual’ on the ‘HTTP Proxy’ area.

Step 5. Add 30 random emoji icons to the ‘Server’ option and type ‘8888’ in the ‘Port’ option.

Step 6. Click back and then next. As shown in the video above, proceed to slide to unlock and click the language options for a solid 2-3 minutes to finally be booted to the homescreen.

Step 7. Once on the homescreen you can open 3 applications, Phone, Newsstand and Facetime. Note you need to force restart by holding Power + Home every time you open an app to restart your device and the bypass iOS 8 activation lock process.

Step 8. Open the Facetime application and here you can find the email of the previous owner to which you can email and ask that your device be taken off their iCloud account. If you can’t find the email here, restart this process and open the Phone application to see the owners phone number.

Hope this helps you with your activation locked device!

How to clone SIM Card

NOTE: Following information is for educational purposes only!
The following guide enables us to make clones of SIM used in India that means you can use one number with two SIM cards at the same time.
Before i start off with this guide ,i would like to make one thing clear SIM CLONING is illegal. So please use this guide for personal purpose only,do not use this guide for cheating.
First off a little introduction about SIM CARD:
Our sim cards contain two secret codes or keys called (imsi value and ki value) which enables the operator to know the mobile number and authenticate the customer ,these codes are related to our mobile numbers which the operators store in their vast data base,it is based on these secret keys that enables the billing to be made to that customer. now what we do in sim cloning is extract these two secret codes from the sim and programme it into a new blank smart card often known as wafer, since the operator
authentication on sims is based on these values,it enables us to fool the operators in thinking that its the
original sim,this authentication is a big flaw concerning GSM technology
Now which sim cards can be cloned:
Sim cards are manufactured on the basis of 3 algorithms COMP128v1,COMP128v2 and COMP128v3
now an important note currently only COMP128v1 version sim cards can be
cloned ,since this is the only algorithm which has been cracked by users, bear in mind that 70% of all the sim cards we use are COMP128v1 .
OK thats it about the background….. now lets get to the Main Part
1. Buy a Sim card Reader
2.Need a Blank sim card or super sim card
5. Install programs.
6. go in phone tools, select sim card, then select unlock sim, it will promt for a code.
7 call network provider, they will ask for your phone number, your account info, name and security code,
then they will ask why you want to unlock your simcard, just tell them you need to unlock your sim to get it
to work with your overseas phone or something.
8. Once they give you the sim unlock code, enter it, and it will say sim unlocked.
9. remove the sim from your phone, place it in the cardreader, click read from card in magic sim program.
10. once it says connected, select crack sim in the toolbar. click strong ki and clink all of the other find options and then click start.
11. Once your ki is found and the crack is finished, click file, save as and save your cracked sim info to a that file.
12. IMPORTANT!!! you must click disconnect from the file menu or you will ruin your simcard. once it says
disconnected, remove the sim. put it in your phone and see if it still works, it should. if not, you either did not unlock your sim, or you tried to copy it instead of crack and save.
13. insert black 3g card Use other program, not magic sim at this point.
14. click connect
15. it will say no info found if it is truly blank.
16. select write to sim, it will promt you to select a dat file, select the one you saved before, now click start, it will take about 10 minutes to write it, once it is complete, it will ask for a security code, enter the security code network provider gave you, then click finish.
17. your card is cloned. if you try to make 2 calls at the same time, one will go through, the other will say call failed, and both phones will get the same messages, text and voice, and both will recieve the same calls, but only one can talk at a time.
Image Source:

Fake Cell Phone Tower Used to Track Your Every Move

Over the past 12-18 months, there’s been an increased level of scrutiny applied to the various ways local, state, and federal law enforcement officials track and monitor the lives of ordinary citizens. One tool that’s come under increasing fire is the so-called stingray — a fake cell phone tower that law enforcement officials deploy to track a suspect, often without a warrant or any other formal approval.

A stingray is a false cell phone tower that can force phones in a geographical area to connect to it. Once these devices connect, the stingray can be used to either hone in on the target’s location or, with some models, actually eavesdrop on conversations, text messages, and web browser activity. It’s not clear how much the police cooperate with the cell phone carriers on this — in at least some cases, the police have gone to carriers with requests for information, while in others they seem to have taken a brute-force approach, dumping the data of every single user on a given tower and then sorting it to find the parties they’re interested in tracking. Stingrays can be used to force the phone to give up its user details, making it fairly easy for the police to match devices and account holders.


The potential uses for the information are enormous. Say a murder occurs on a particular street with an estimated time of death between 2 and 4 AM. Local law enforcement would have an obvious interest in compelling cell phone companies to turn over the records of every cell phone that moved in and out of the area between those two time periods. At rush hour, this kind of information would be useless — but if the cell phone network data shows a device in the same approximate area as the murder suddenly leaving the area at a high rate of speed, that cell phone owner is a potential suspect.

Virtually all the stingray devices in use across the United States are manufactured by one company, the Harris Corporation, which makes a variety of other tracking devices. Its other products can be used to conduct denial-of-service attacks on cell phones, monitor voice traffic, amplify the range and power of stingray attacks, and more sophisticated monitoring tools for triangulating an individual’s location.

A consistent disregard for constitutional safeguards

Used properly, stingrays could be an incredibly useful tool for law enforcement, but there are enormous problems with their current deployments. Police often fail to submit a warrant request — one police department in Florida has admitted to using a stingray more than 200 times since 2010 without ever getting a warrant for its use. These devices are indiscriminate — in rare cases, such as a stolen cell phone, police may know in advance precisely which device to target, but in the majority of scenarios they’re fishing for bait to see what they can find. The only indication that a phone has been trapped into connecting to a stingray may be a sudden increase in power consumption (the stingray tells the phone to run its antenna at maximum power).

The problems only increase from here. The Harris Corporation has an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) in place with all its customers that explicitly forbids them from disclosing the fact that they use or own a stingray device. In the aforementioned Florida case, police have acknowledged that they avoided applying for a warrant specifically so they would not have to explain the use of the stingray to a judge.

States using Stingray devices

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration, having learned its lesson over repeatedly attempting to quash the Snowden disclosures, has welcomed discussion of how these devices are being used to spy on Americans by local officials without any regard for the rule of law.

Just kidding!

The Obama Administration is actually telling police agencies to refuse FOIA requests on security grounds or censoring such documents to the point of worthlessness. Last week, the US Marshals interfered in a case in Florida to prevent the ACLU from meeting with local police officials to discuss the use of stingray technology. According to the ACLU, the Marshal’s deputized the local police force, declared all materials related to stingray use to be government property, and took the records off-site.

The problem here isn’t necessarily the capability, but the ways in which that capability is being used. As with license plate detectors, the police have eagerly embraced the idea of tracking the movements of innocent people with no regard for how that data might be misinterpreted or abused. They’ve signed NDAs with a company that seeks to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act, and avoided disclosing the existence of programs in order to avoid the chance of possible censure.

New technology like DNA analysis and fingerprinting has often been controversial at the outset, but this widespread mobile tracking has no analog in history. There’s an ongoing campaign to blanket the US in local Freedom of Information Act requests for data on stingray use across the country; if you’re interested in contributing, details are here. The goal is to map individual departments and derive an understanding of how practices differ across the nation.



How to Turn Your House Lights On/Off using Smartphone

What You Need

  • The X10 FireCracker (for communication to the computer) and the TM751 receiver (for the power jack). You can purchase the kit from the X10 website for $24.99.
  • An Apache web server with PHP installed. You can find a tutorial herefor setting up Apache on both Linux and Windows.
  • Light.exe, a program that sends signals over the com. port. Once the signals are received, it then reads and adjusts the light connected to it accordingly. It even has support for dimming lights.

Step 1 Create a Web Interface

After you connect the X10 equipment and have everything installed, with a light connected, we need to create a webpage to host on our server that sends signals over the com. port.

  1. Open up a text editor.
  2. Paste this HTML and PHP code into it.


if(isset($_GET[‘light’])) {
   if ($_GET[‘light’] == “on”) {
      system(“light.exe c1a1+”);
   if ($_GET[‘light’] == “off”) {
      system(“light.exe c1a1-“);

<a href=”index.php?light=on”>On</a> /
<a href=”index.php?light=off”>Off</a>


3.  Save the document as index.php. Make sure you save it as type “all files”, or you will end up with double file extensions. Throw the index.php file and light.exe into your Apache directory.

Step 2 Enable Port Forwarding

We need to forward the port that Apache runs on so that we can access this webpage from an external network (unless you do not desire to run it away from home).

  1. Click Start. In the search, type cmd and hit Enter. In the prompt, typeipconfig, and it will list your default gateway and IP address. Take note of both.
  2. Go to the router configuration page. The default address is Type that in your browser address bar, or the one you got from the previous step.
  3. Type in your Username and Password for the router. Default is usuallyadmin:password.
  4. Click Port Forwarding somewhere on the page—all of them look different. Here is how mine looked:Mastering Security, Part 2: How to Create a Home VPN Tunnel
  5. For me, I needed to click Port Forwarding on the router page. Set the host to your computer’s IP address that we previously noted, and the port to 80.
  6. Go to What Is My IP Address and write down your IP. This IP is the address that we need to access the site and control the lights.

Step 3 Test the Page

Open up your new webpage and simple click the link that says on to turn the lights on, and off for off.

Keep An Eye On Anyone Using This Spy Phone App

In this security concerned new age, there isn’t anything as such privacy anymore. Each day new revelations regarding the password breaches by hackers and government surveillances are made. Amid all this confusion and Snowden’s claim that the government is watching every aspect of your personal life, there is a rise of the apps and software that are being used to spy on your spouse. According to a study, the number of spy phone apps is increasing exponentially on Android Play Store and Apple Store.

These apps lie in a gray area where moral and legal obligations colloid. But at the same time, these apps could be used to have some healthy fun or play pranks on your friends. There are numerous spy phone apps available but here I am going to tell you about the best one. This spy phone app will let you stream the content of your phone camera on your PC, thus making your phone a spy camera.The app I am going to describe ahead is named Camera Stream and is available on Google Play Store. Even though this spy phone app doesn’t provide you a high-quality HD video feed, but it is pretty handy and useful. Read the following simple steps to know more about the app and its working.

Step 1:

First you need to download and install the Camera Stream app on your Android phone.



Step 2:

Once Camera stream app is installed in your phone you need to connect it to a WiFi network. A connection to WiFi network is required to assign an IP address to your Android phone.


Step 3:

Now open the Camera Stream app, you will be seeing three option there. Now head to the Settings.  You can change the port number from here, but I’ll recommend you to leave it the same by default. You can set the Username and password according to your choice to secure the stream. Also, you can switch off/on flashlight from here to get a clear stream at night.

Step 4: 

Now connect your Computer or Smartphone to the same WiFi network to which your phone is already connected and enter the URL (available at top) in your browser to watch the stream with the help of this spy phone app.


Now put your smartphone to someplace where you want to spy and you are good to go. Although the video quality is not that great but is satisfactory as this spy phone app is free.