Tag Archives: monitoring

iSpy Open Source Webcam Security, Surveillance, And Monitoring Software

imageIf you’re looking for a free (Open Source), Web Cam surveillance solution that includes a ton of built-in features, then iSpy may be just what you’ve been searching for.

iSpy, last updated December 28, 2010, is an open source application which uses your webcams and microphones to detect and record movement, or sound.

iSpy provides a number of additional benefits over the two more basic free Web Cam surveillance applications described later in this review, including:

Access to captured media over the Web, and to mobile devices – as well as the local network.

iSpy can be setup to run on multiple computers simultaneously, and has full Email and SMS alerting capabilities.

While I found setting up iSpy relatively easy, it was slightly more complex than the two free applications described later. On the other hand, additional features often lead to more complexity.

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As the following screen captures indicate, you’ll be presented with a smorgasbord of fine tuning choices.

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As the following screen capture indicates, you can access captures over your local network (local machine), which may be all you need.

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Alternatively, you have the option of setting up an account, which will allow access to captured content over the Internet.

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Fast facts:

Access and control your cameras and microphones using your mobile device (iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7)

Connect and monitor as many cameras and microphones as you like. Import and export object lists to share with colleagues.

Connect multiple computers in a group and manage over the web

Install iSpy Server and publish your webcam to other instances of iSpy, over your network and to the web

Detect, highlight, track and record movement

Record video and audio on demand (and via the web)

Detect and record sound

FTP frames from your camera to a remote server

Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is detected

Run any program or send an email or SMS alert when movement or sound is not detected (monitor machinery or staff activity)

Receive email movement alerts with attached frame grab images from your webcams

Periodically receive image grabs via email from your webcams

Connect to any device, even webcams attached to other computers with JPEG, MJPEG, IP Cam, webcam and AVI file support

Watch live and recorded media over the web (through this website and over your local network) and also via mobile devices

Access and control iSpy remotely

Schedule sound and video capturing to start and stop automatically

Time-lapse record from any camera

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7. Microsoft .Net framework will be installed if required. Windows media player 9 VCM codecs – will be installed if required.

Download at: Download.com

Two additional free Web Cam surveillance solutions, previously reviewed here:

Secure Cam:

Setting up Secure Cam is a breeze since the interface is minimal. Simply launch the application, and from the main menu select your device, select the device format and then initialize the device.

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You will then need to set the application options – click on the image in the Secure Cam window to bring up the options dialog box. Choose your options and you’re good to go.

SecureCam 5

I’ve tested this application extensively and overall, I’ve been very pleased with its performance.

Fast facts:

Automatically captures images when motion is detected

Adjustable motion detection trigger level

Supports up to 99 cameras

DVR card capable

Multiplexing capable

Capture Images when motion is detected, or continuous

Image sensitivity adjustment

Image Archiving (1,000s of images)

Dynamically expanding and contracting archive

Archive images from minutes, to years

Application viewer for image playback

Image playback at various speeds

Low processor and memory usage

Adjustable Jpeg Quality

Text Overlay

Timestamps

Image Rotating, & Flipping

If you’re looking for a free (Open Source), Web Cam surveillance solution, Secure Cam may be just what you have been searching for. In fact, this is the application I settled on.

System requirements: Windows (all), DirectX 9 or greater, 600Mhz Pentium 3 with 128MB Memory, Web Cam or DVR PCI card

Download at: Source Forge

Rise Sun:

Rise Sun is another free web cam surveillance application I looked at that’s perhaps not quite as feature rich as Secure Cam. But, if you don’t need all of these features, (some of the bells and whistles are just that – bells and whistles), this application is a very acceptable alternative that will meet your basic  surveillance needs.

Rise Sun 3

(No, I don’t really have green dots on my face – this is the motion detector in action).

Installation is straightforward and the interface is simple – no esoteric manual to digest here. New users should not encounter any difficulty getting this application to perform as advertised.

Fast facts:

Works on all webcam models available on the market.

Powerful motion detection algorithm that allows flexible adjustments to suit your needs.

Extended Period Algorithm (For Extra Precision)

Automatically take pictures, logs events or display silent warnings when motion is detected.

Silent Alarm, Alarm, Motion Logging System

Extended Threshold, Sensibility and Performance Variables

Automatic Snapshot (JPG Compression to reduce file size.

While I haven’t run this application for very long, it’s a very capable application. It does what it’s designed to do, and turns your webcam into a fully functioning motion detection video surveillance system.

System requirements: Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP, Vista, and Win 7.

Download at: Download.com

Note: If you’re a Linux user you haven’t been left out in the cold. Checkout – Motion, a software motion detector, here. Since I now run Ubuntu more than half the time, this application is on my testing to-do list.

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7 Comments

Filed under Connected Devices, downloads, Free Surveillance Applications, Freeware, Open Source, Software, Surveilance Tools, Surveillance, Video, Video Apps, Web Cam Applications, Windows Tips and Tools

How to Protect Your Child on the Internet

Instant Messanger changed There is little doubt that the Internet neighborhood can provide a rich educational and cultural experience for children of all ages and backgrounds.

But, would you drop your child off in a neighborhood where more than half of the buildings were adult stores, and was potentially full of predators? Well of course you wouldn’t.

If you let your child explore the Internet unsupervised, or without having communicated to your child information about potential on-line dangers, this is close to what you’re doing.

According to the FBI in the United States, the following are some of the most important positive actions, you as a parent can take, to enhance your child’s safety on the Internet.

Communicate, and talk to your child about potential on-line dangers.

Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.

Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom.

Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software.

Parental Control Bar 2

Since computer-sex offenders are a very real danger on the Internet, the FBI suggests that you instruct your children to:

Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line.

Never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or an on-line service to people they do not personally know.

Never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number.

Never download pictures from an unknown source; there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images.

Never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing.

Parental Control Bar 4

An important aspect of ensuring that your child is safe while using the Internet, (recommended by the FBI and child safety experts/organizations), is the installation of parental control software. Parental controls will provide you with the advantage of being able to:

Block access to materials (text and pictures) identified as inappropriate for kids.

Permit access only to materials specifically approved as safe for kids.

Specify what types of materials are appropriate for your child.

Monitor your child’s activity on the Internet by storing names of sites and/or snapshots of material seen by your child on the computer for you to view later.

Set different restrictions for each family member.

Limit results of an Internet search to content appropriate for kids.

Enforce time limits set by parents.

A free solution, available as a download from the Internet is Parental Control Bar, a browser toolbar which works on the most popular Internet browsers.

Parental Control Bar is provided free of charge to the public by WRAAC.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, effective internet control tools.

Parental Control Bar Features:

Child/Parent Mode

This status indicator makes it easy to tell if your computer is in Child-Mode or Parent-Mode. When in Child-Mode, control features are enabled and web sites are blocked based on your parental settings. When in Parent-Mode, control features are disabled and you, the parent, have unrestricted access to the Internet.

Parental Password

A single password makes it easy for you, the parent, to enable or disable Child-Mode. There is a hint to help you remember your password, or if you forget it completely have it sent to a parental email address.

Help Menu

Clicking this button opens the toolbar menu where parents can access tutorials, help menus or change your password.

Change Parental Settings

Clicking this button opens the parental settings menu where you can specify the types of content you wish to block your family from accessing in Child-Mode. You can also manage your personal list of ‘blocked’ and ‘child-safe’ sites from this menu.

Easily Block Adult Sites

The toolbar helps block a significant amount of adult-oriented websites. In addition, you may select specific sites to block by clicking this button. Once you have added a website to the ‘blocked sites’ list it is only accessible in Parent-Mode

Parental Alert

When the toolbar is in Child-Mode, this parental alert blocks your child from accessing adult-oriented websites (based on your parental settings).

Add Web Site to Safe List

Clicking this button adds the website you are currently visiting to the ’safe site’ list. Once a website is added to the ’safe site’ list it can be accessed from either Child-Mode or Parent-Mode (regardless of site label).

For parents looking for a cost-effective tool to help give their children controlled freedom on the Internet, Parental Control Bar is a safe way to go.

System requirements:

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP

Internet Explorer 5.5 and above

FireFox 1.5 and above

Safari 10.4 and above

Download at: WRAAC.org

For more information on Internet safety issues for parents and /children/teenagers, I encourage you to visit CNET. This site includes information on the following.

Developing safe and smart Internet citizens

Parents, tech outdo lawmakers on Internet safety

Parental controls that keep tabs on young Web surfers

User-generated videos challenge parental controls

Growing concerns over cyber bullying

Readers address online safety for kids

8 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Firefox Add-ons, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Parenting Help, Safari add-ons, Safe Surfing, Software, Utilities

Free Internet Child Protection – Parental Control Bar

There is little doubt that the Internet neighborhood can provide a rich educational and cultural experience for children of all ages and backgrounds.

But would you drop your child off in a neighborhood where more than half of the buildings were adult stores, and it was potentially full of predators? Well of course you wouldn’t.

But if you let your child explore the Internet unsupervised, or without having communicated to your child information concerning potential on-line dangers, this is close to what you’re doing.

According to the FBI in the United States, the following are some of the most important positive actions, you as a parent, can take to reduce your child’s possible victimization on the Internet.

  • Communicate, and talk to your child about potential on-line dangers.
  • Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.
  • Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom.
  • Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software.

Since computer-sex offenders are a very real danger on the Internet, the FBI suggests that you instruct your children to:

  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line.
  • Never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or an on-line service to people they do not personally know.
  • Never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number.
  • Never download pictures from an unknown source; there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images.
  • Never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing.

An important aspect of ensuring that your child is safe while using the Internet, (recommended by the FBI and child safety experts/organizations) is the installation of parental control software.

Parental controls will provide you with the advantage of being able to:

  • Block access to materials (text and pictures) identified as inappropriate for kids.
  • Permit access only to materials specifically approved as safe for kids.
  • Specify what types of materials are appropriate for your child.
  • Monitor your child’s activity on the Internet by storing names of sites and/or snapshots of material seen by your child on the computer for you to view later.
  • Set different restrictions for each family member.
  • Limit results of an Internet search to content appropriate for kids.
  • Enforce time limits set by parents.

ParentalControl Bar, a browser toolbar, is a free solution available as a download on the Internet. ParentalControl Bar is provided free of charge to the public by WRAAC.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, effective internet control tools.

ParentalControl Bar Features

Child/Parent Mode

This status indicator makes it easy to tell if your computer is in Child-Mode or Parent-Mode. When in Child-Mode, control features are enabled and web sites are blocked based on your parental settings. When in Parent-Mode, control features are disabled and you, the parent, have unrestricted access to the Internet.

Parental Password

A single password makes it easy for you, the parent, to enable or disable Child-Mode. There is a hint to help you remember your password, or if you forget it completely have it sent to a parental email address.

Help Menu

Clicking this button opens the toolbar menu where parents can access tutorials, help menus or change your password.

Change Parental Settings

Clicking this button opens the parental settings menu where you can specify the types of content you wish to block your family from accessing in Child-Mode. You can also manage your personal list of ‘blocked’ and ‘child-safe’ sites from this menu.

Easily Block Adult Sites

The toolbar helps block a significant amount of adult-oriented websites. In addition, you may select specific sites to block by clicking this button. Once you have added a website to the ‘blocked sites’ list it is only accessible in Parent-Mode

Parental Alert

When the toolbar is in Child-Mode, this parental alert blocks your child from accessing adult-oriented websites (based on your parental settings).

Add Web Site to Safe List

Clicking this button adds the website you are currently visiting to the ’safe site’ list. Once a website is added to the ’safe site’ list it can be accessed from either Child-Mode or Parent-Mode (regardless of site label).

For parents looking for a cost-effective tool to help give their children controlled freedom on the Internet, Parental Control Bar is a safe way to go.

System requirements: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, Internet Explorer 5.5+, FireFox 1.5+, Safari 10.4+

Download at: WRAAC.org

For more information on Internet safety issues for parents and /children/teenagers, visit CNET. This site includes information on the following.

  • Developing safe and smart Internet citizens
  • Parents, tech outdo lawmakers on Internet safety
  • Parental controls that keep tabs on young Web surfers
  • User-generated videos challenge parental controls
  • Growing concerns over cyber bullying
  • Readers address online safety for kids

25 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Firefox Add-ons, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Internet Safety, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety Tools, Online Safety, Safari add-ons, Safe Surfing, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Free Parental Control Bar – Protect Your Child on the Internet

There is little doubt that the Internet neighborhood can provide a rich educational and cultural experience for children of all ages and backgrounds. But would you drop your child off in a neighborhood where more than half of the buildings were adult stores, and it was potentially full of predators? Well of course you wouldn’t.

But if you let your child explore the Internet unsupervised, or without having communicated to your child information about potential on-line dangers, this is close to what you’re doing.

According to the FBI in the United States, the following are some of the most important positive actions, you as a parent, can take to reduce your child’s possible victimization on the Internet.

  • Communicate, and talk to your child about potential on-line dangers.
  • Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations.
  • Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child’s bedroom.
  • Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software.

Since computer-sex offenders are a very real danger on the Internet, the FBI suggests that you instruct your children to:

  • Never arrange a face-to-face meeting with someone they met on- line.
  • Never upload (post) pictures of themselves onto the Internet or an on-line service to people they do not personally know.
  • Never give out identifying information such as their name, home address, school name, or telephone number.
  • Never download pictures from an unknown source; there is a good chance there could be sexually explicit images.
  • Never respond to messages or bulletin board postings that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, or harassing.

An important aspect of ensuring that your child is safe while using the Internet, (recommended by the FBI and child safety experts/organizations) is the installation of parental control software.Parental controls will provide you with the advantage of being able to:

  • Block access to materials (text and pictures) identified as inappropriate for kids.
  • Permit access only to materials specifically approved as safe for kids.
  • Specify what types of materials are appropriate for your child.
  • Monitor your child’s activity on the Internet by storing names of sites and/or snapshots of material seen by your child on the computer for you to view later.
  • Set different restrictions for each family member.
  • Limit results of an Internet search to content appropriate for kids.
  • Enforce time limits set by parents.

A free solution, available as a download on the Internet is ParentalControl Bar, a browser toolbar which works on Internet Explorer only, despite the website claim that it works on other browsers.ParentalControl Bar is provided free of charge to the public by WRAAC.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free, effective internet control tools.

ParentalControl Bar Features

Child/Parent Mode

This status indicator makes it easy to tell if your computer is in Child-Mode or Parent-Mode. When in Child-Mode, control features are enabled and web sites are blocked based on your parental settings. When in Parent-Mode, control features are disabled and you, the parent, have unrestricted access to the Internet.

Parental Password

A single password makes it easy for you, the parent, to enable or disable Child-Mode. There is a hint to help you remember your password, or if you forget it completely have it sent to a parental email address.Help Menu

Clicking this button opens the toolbar menu where parents can access tutorials, help menus or change your password.

Change Parental Settings

Clicking this button opens the parental settings menu where you can specify the types of content you wish to block your family from accessing in Child-Mode. You can also manage your personal list of ‘blocked’ and ‘child-safe’ sites from this menu.

Easily Block Adult Sites

The toolbar helps block a significant amount of adult-oriented websites. In addition, you may select specific sites to block by clicking this button. Once you have added a website to the ‘blocked sites’ list it is only accessible in Parent-Mode

Parental Alert

When the toolbar is in Child-Mode, this parental alert blocks your child from accessing adult-oriented websites (based on your parental settings).

Add Web Site to Safe List

Clicking this button adds the website you are currently visiting to the ’safe site’ list. Once a website is added to the ’safe site’ list it can be accessed from either Child-Mode or Parent-Mode (regardless of site label).

For parents looking for a cost-effective tool to help give their children controlled freedom on the Internet, Parental Control Bar is a safe way to go.

Download at: WRAAC.org

For more information on Internet safety issues for parents and /children/teenagers, visit CNET. This site includes information on the following.

  • Developing safe and smart Internet citizens
  • Parents, tech outdo lawmakers on Internet safety
  • Parental controls that keep tabs on young Web surfers
  • User-generated videos challenge parental controls
  • Growing concerns over cyber bullying
  • Readers address online safety for kids

2 Comments

Filed under Browser add-ons, Freeware, Internet Explorer Add-ons, Internet Safety for Children, Internet Safety Tools, PC Monitoring Application and Key Loggers, Software, Surveilance Tools, System Utilities, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Need Free Security Programs? – 10 Of The Best!

Since I first wrote an article on the ten best free security applications, a number of new programs have been released that I have had the opportunity to test. Some applications such as Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic, Spyware Terminator, and several others have replaced previous recommendations; so this updated list.

avast! 4 Home Edition

www.avast.com

This anti-virus application is a winner, scanning files on demand and on access, including email attachments. It alerts you when it detects mal-ware through its real-time shield function. An important feature is a boot-time scan option which removes mal-ware that can’t be removed any other way.

Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic

www.avira.com

This anti-virus program offers comprehensive protection with an easy to use interface. In the three months I have been testing Avira I have been impressed with its performance, and I have come to rely on it as my primary anti-virus program. I highly recommend this one.

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition

www.Download.com

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition from PC Tools is an excellent choice, as a secondary line of defense. This free version of the award winning program, with its easy to use interface, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers; it’s reported there are a million+ additional downloads every week. Be aware however, there is no real-time protection offered with this version and this is the reason I recommend this application as a secondary scanner only.

Spyware Terminator

www.spywareterminator.com

Having tested virtually all of the major anti-spyware applications over the last year or more, I’ve settled, for now, on Spyware Terminator primarily due to its strong real-time protection against spyware, adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats. In my view this is the definitive free anti-spyware application.

Ad-Aware 2007

www.lavasoftusa.com

Having used this application for years the latest release does not disappoint. Ad-Aware 2007 Free remains the best free spyware and adware remover available. It does a relatively good job of protecting against known Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers and tracking components. The only downside with the free version is real-time protection is not included.

ThreatFire 3

www.threatfire.com

ThreatFire 3 excels at blocking mal-ware including zero-day threats, by analyzing program behavior. Again, this is one of the security applications that forms part of my front line defenses. I have found it to have high success rate at blocking mal-ware based on analysis of behavior. In fact, since I installed this application 6 months ago I have not had to deal with any security breaches.

Comodo Firewall

www.comodogroup.com

The definitive free firewall, Comodo Firewall protects your system by defeating hackers and restricting unauthorized programs from accessing the Internet. I have been using this application for 6 months and I continue to feel very secure. It resists being forcibly terminated and it works as well, or better, than any firewall I’ve paid for. This is one I highly recommend. Amazing that it’s free!

ZoneAlarm

www.zonelabs.com

The free version of ZoneAlarm lacks the features of ZoneAlarm Pro’s firewall. Its program control asks you regularly whether to allow programs; for some this can get to be intrusive and annoying. But it’s been around forever it seems, and it can’t be shut down, or out, by mal-ware.

WinPatrol

www.winpatrol.com

Do you want to get a better understanding of what programs are being added to your computer? Then WinPatrol is the program for you. With WinPatrol, in your system tray, you can monitor system areas that are often changed by malicious programs. You can monitor your startup programs and services, cookies and current tasks. Should you need to, WinPatrol allows you to terminate processes and enable, or disable, startup programs. There are additional features that make WinPatrol a very powerful addition to your security applications.

SnoopFree Privacy Shield

www.snoopfree.com

SnoopFree Privacy Shield is a powerful application that guards your keyboard, screen and open windows from all spy software. I have been using this application for quite some time, and I have been amazed at the number of programs that have requested access to my keyboard and screen. In particular, programs that I am in the process of installing. If you’re serious about privacy, this is a must have addition to your security toolbox.

19 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools