Tag Archives: remote

Remote monitoring and management: Netgear Insight Pro debuts

Netgear has launched Insight Pro, a cloud-based remote monitoring and management platform that the company said will bring managed service providers more network management capabilities, as well as attractive revenue opportunities when they resell the service.

Netgear executives said Insight Pro is a multi-tenancy platform designed for MSPs that want to manage numerous customers remotely. This is a change from the previous version of the product, called Insight, which was designed to manage the network ecosystem of only one small or medium-sized business.

The networking company, based in San Jose, Calif., introduced Netgear Insight Pro in August in North America and Asia, and it featured the product earlier this month at the CEDIA Expo conference in San Diego.

John McHugh, general manager and senior vice president for Netgear’s commercial business unit, said Insight Pro can help MSPs and their customers build a better business relationship. The aim is to help those parties gain transparency, greater efficiency and control over network operations.

Remote monitoring and management reporting

Once an MSP buys a Netgear Insight Pro subscription at $15 per device, per year, and resells the subscription service, customers that sign on can see a read-only view of their network. The remote monitoring and management offering generates reports that give users details on power usage, data consumption and storage utilization, among other usage statistics that show the health and vulnerabilities that exist across the network. 

“Insight will detect a hardware failure, bandwidth or loading issues and configuration problems,” McHugh said. “It will also help the MSP determine what the ‘peak’ loading is, which is critical to provide customers with guidance on where they might need additional capacity either now or in the future.”

Customers don’t want to commit to a cloud model and then get stuck in an arrangement that’s unaffordable.
John McHughgeneral manager and senior vice president for Netgear’s commercial business unit

To guard against network slowdowns, mitigate the impact of outages and protect the network against security breaches, Netgear Insight Pro is supported by a suite of Netgear products that include apps, firmware, wireless LANs, storage devices, network security tools and switches that run on Amazon Web Services’ cloud computing platforms.

As the cloud subscription model continues to reduce the need for value-added resellers to install hardware at customer sites, the Insight Pro product will help VARs transition to a service provider business, according to McHugh. He said many VARs are intimidated by the idea of managing a customer’s network on a 24/7 basis under a subscription model.

“In the case of a VAR who is becoming an IT service provider, they don’t have to purchase any equipment, and they don’t have to stand up a 24-by-7 data center or call centers to manage their customer’s network. All the notifications and alerts go straight to their phone,” McHugh said.

Netgear Insight Pro: Toggling the cloud

Another feature of the remote monitoring and management product: MSPs using Insight Pro can switch access to the cloud on or off. Once an MSP has authenticated itself and started a subscription, McHugh said, the MSP will have the option to choose whether it wants to manage a customer’s network locally or manage it through the cloud.

“Customers don’t want to commit to a cloud model and then get stuck in an arrangement that’s unaffordable,” McHugh said. “Partners and their customers demand that they have this flexibility as they work through their concerns over user experience and the cost of operations. Customers of Insight Pro only pay for what they use.”

Vendor admits election systems included remote software

Election system security was compromised by the installation of remote access software on systems over the span of six years, a vendor admitted in a letter to a senator.

Election Systems & Software (ES&S), a voting machine manufacturer based in Omaha, Neb., admitted it installed the flawed PCAnywhere remote access software on its election management system (EMS) workstations for a “small number of customers between 2000 and 2006,” according to a letter sent to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that was obtained by Motherboard.

The PCAnywhere source code was stolen from Symantec servers in 2006, leaving the software vulnerable, and further issues in 2012 caused Symantec to suggest users uninstall the program before officially putting PCAnywere to its end of life in 2014.

ES&S had previously denied knowledge of the use of remote access software on its election management systems, but told Wyden about the vulnerable software that could have put voting machine security at risk. ES&S wrote that it stopped installing the PCAnywhere software in December 2007 due to new policies enacted by the Election Assistance Commission regarding voting machine security.

Gene Shablygin, CEO and founder of WWPass, an identity and access management company based in Manchester, N.H., said the actions by ES&S were “pretty consistent with the overall state of computer security” for the time.

“Today, these technologies and general approaches are totally unacceptable, and must be completely reworked. The last decade especially, was the period of explosive growth of hacking technologies, and the defensive side of many systems was left in the dust. So, most of the systems that are still in use — and voting systems are no exception — have multiple vulnerabilities, some of which are zero-day, or not yet discovered,” Shablygin wrote via email. “You can’t stop progress, and sooner or later, remote voting will become a matter of everyday life.”

Lane Thames, senior security researcher at Tripwire, agreed that the failures of ES&S with election system security shouldn’t be surprising, “especially during the 2000 to 2007 timeframe when cybersecurity was hardly ever on the roadmap for companies producing computing systems.”

“Another concerning point is the underlying arguments that imply the devices built from 2000 to 2007 are still in use. As with many critical infrastructure systems, costs can prohibit frequent hardware refresh cycles,” Thames wrote via email. “As such, many voting machines are likely to contain older operating systems and other software with many vulnerabilities due to these systems not being able to be updated with operating system patches and such. This is a challenging problem we face with all of our critical infrastructure, with very few good solutions at this time.”

ES&S did not respond to requests for comment and it is unclear if the affected election systems were ever fixed or if they are still in use.

Fixing voting machine security

Voting machine security was already proved to be in a troubling state after hackers at Defcon 2016 were able to crack all systems tested within just a few days.

Every system charged with securing our government’s processes … should be open to large security audits.
Jonathan SanderCTO, Stealthbits Technologies

Sean Newman, director of product management at Corero Network Security, said the news about PCAnywhere will make “little difference” in the likelihood of finding other election system security issues.

“They run software and, if they have any kind of internet connectivity, even for managing the voting system/process itself, then there’s a reasonable chance that vulnerabilities exist, which could provide unauthorized users with the ability to have an impact on the normal operation of the system,” Newman wrote via email. “The focus should be for vendors, like ES&S, to ensure they use secure coding practices to develop the software for such systems and avoid any need to expose such systems to the public Internet.”

Jonathan Sander, CTO at Stealthbits Technologies, noted that government “pressures to do everything cheaply and with world class, state actor proof security are in tension” when it comes to election system security and outside audits are needed.

“Every system charged with securing our government’s processes — a.k.a. protecting our collective benefit — should be open to large security audits. To sell anything to the federal government you need to go through tons of certifications. But that’s not enough,” Sander wrote via email. “Bug bounties to get the hacker community to find vulnerabilities, open review at a source level for all solutions to be used in government, and mandatory standards for any remote access features should be table stakes for putting in systems like this.”

Thames notes that a major issue is that “although the U.S. electoral infrastructure is part of the nation’s critical infrastructure, it is still largely up to local and state agencies to ultimately enforce security of the systems.”

“Herein lies another challenging problem. Local and state agencies likely have little to no expertise or budget for securing their voting systems. Every time I go to the voting polls, I see mostly volunteers with a few dedicated staff. Most volunteers at the polls will not have experience with cyber and/or physical security issues related to voting machines,” Thames wrote. “Moreover, the nation already has a significant deficit for staffing our cyber security departments, in both government and industry. Funding will likely need to be increased, somehow, for local and state government agencies in order to provide adequate security for our voting systems.”

Amazon Fire TV

boxed, 1st gen fire tv, no remote. All working.

Price and currency: 28
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT
Location: London / Kent
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

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Amazon Fire TV

For Sale – Amazon Fire TV

boxed, 1st gen fire tv, no remote. All working.

Price and currency: 28
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT
Location: London / Kent
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – Amazon Fire TV

boxed, 1st gen fire tv, no remote. All working.

Price and currency: 28
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: BT
Location: London / Kent
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Set up remote domains to control Exchange messaging

information can land in an external recipient’s inbox if the Exchange admin doesn’t use remote domains.

Most organizations have certain external recipients that users send mail to on a regular basis. Exchange Online administrators can control the types of messages and the email format sent to such recipients — and anyone else in the recipient’s domain — by defining a series of remote domains.

Remote domains enforce the organization’s mail flow preferences for recipients in specific domains. Those domains usually belong to a partner organization or vendor, although some businesses use them to restrict the delivery of messages deemed sensitive or undesirable. For example, the organization might block out-of-office messages or automatic replies from going to the remote domain.

A remote domain almost always corresponds to a domain name that does not belong to the organization. Technically speaking, an organization can own the domain name, but it cannot appear within Exchange’s list of accepted domains.

How to set up a remote domain

To configure remote domains, log in to the Exchange Admin Center, and go to Mail Flow > Remote Domains. To add a remote domain, click the Add icon, and then type a display name and the domain. In addition to individual subdomains, admins can also use wildcard characters. For example, to add the poseylab.com domain and its subdomains, enter *.poseylab.com, as shown below.

The settings here will override any configuration or rules a user sets up through a mail client, such as Outlook or Outlook Web App.

Wildcard characters
Admins can use wildcard characters to add subdomains.

The dialog box also contains a number of different options to configure the behavior of communications with recipients in the remote domain.

The first section relates to out-of-office automatic replies. The admin can adjust settings to control whether automatic replies go to recipients in the remote domain but also whether those recipients should receive external or internal replies.

Admins adjust the automatic replies portion, as well as automatic forwarding, for recipients in the remote domain.

In the message reporting section, the admin manages both delivery and nondelivery reports, as well as meeting forward notifications, for recipients in the remote domain.

Lastly, select whether to allow the use of Rich Text Format, the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension character set and the non-MIME character set. Admins can adjust these settings for users on other messaging platforms that cannot process certain formats and send out a winmail.dat attachment to a message as a result.

Save the changes to add the new remote domain. Admins can always adjust the rules for the remote domain by selecting it and clicking the Edit button.

The remote domains list also contains a default remote domain, which cannot be removed. Exchange uses the default domain to control what happens when mail is received from any domain not on the list of remote domains. Admins can edit the default remote domain, which has identical settings to the custom remote domain.

Wanted – Any Xeon based kit or Server for sale?

Hi all,

As I’m a fulltime carer for my wife at home, I’m hoping to get back into remote support from home but I haven’t touched Windows Server since SBS 2008 so I’m hoping to find a Xeon based Server ideally so I can run ESXi along with Server 2012 eval and maybe more.

Has anyone got any kit for sale? I’m based in Bristol and have family in Plymouth and Haywards Heath.

Thanks in advance

Location: Bristol

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Wanted – Any Xeon based kit or Server for sale?

Hi all,

As I’m a fulltime carer for my wife at home, I’m hoping to get back into remote support from home but I haven’t touched Windows Server since SBS 2008 so I’m hoping to find a Xeon based Server ideally so I can run ESXi along with Server 2012 eval and maybe more.

Has anyone got any kit for sale? I’m based in Bristol and have family in Plymouth and Haywards Heath.

Thanks in advance

Location: Bristol

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

What is Windows Remote Arduino and What Can It Do?

This post is an overview of the Windows Remote Arduino library, one of the technologies used in the World’s Largest Arduino Maker Challenge.

Windows Remote Arduino is an open-source Windows library that allows any Windows 10 device – be it a Windows Phone, Surface, PC, or even Raspberry Pi 2 – to remotely control an Arduino. The library enables developers to integrate their Arduino sensors into their Windows projects, as well as offload tasks too heavy or complicated for the Arduino to Windows.

You can find the Windows Remote Arduino library on our GitHub page in a repository titled “remote-wiring,” and you can learn more about Arduino here.

Windows Remote Arduino is capable of controlling the following Arduino functions:

  • GPIO – Analog and Digital I/O
    • Digital write
    • Digital read
    • Analog write (PWM)
    • Analog read
    • Setting pin mode
    • Receiving events when pin values are reported or changed
  • Send and receive data between devices over I2C

For advanced users, Windows Remote Arduino also enables custom commands via Firmata SysEx – more information can be found here.

A closer look at the technology

Now that we’ve seen a bit of what Windows Remote Arduino can do, let’s explore how the technology works. In this section we explain the thought process behind the design of the library, take a close look at the library’s structure, and review a simple code sample. Full hardware and software setup instructions can be found here.

Design Decisions

Let’s discuss the design of the Windows Remote Arduino API. Commands like pinMode and digitalWrite are so familiar to Arduino developers that rather than reinvent them, we chose to adhere to what is already familiar.

Our API was crafted to mirror the familiar Arduino Wiring API as much as possible. There are changes, of course, as the WinRT framework is fundamentally very different from the basic Wiring language used in Arduino sketches. However, with a bit of reorganization, it is possible to use the logic and commands of an Arduino sketch in a Windows 10 UWP app using Windows Remote Arduino.

After designing the API, a protocol was needed that would facilitate communication between Windows 10 and an Arduino – Firmata was the obvious choice. Firmata is a widely accepted open-source protocol that has been implemented in many languages, including Arduino Wiring. The Firmata library for Arduino is even included in the Arduino IDE by default.

Architecture

With the above design decisions, the Windows Remote Arduino was built like a three-layer cake. Physical communication, as the bottom layer, is necessary to allow raw data to be exchanged between Windows and the Arduino device. Above the communication layer is the protocol layer, which decodes the raw incoming data into meaningful messages. On the very top is the surface API, which abstracts away all protocol messages and allows for remote control of the Arduino.

 1_architecture

Development with the library

For all basic use cases, the RemoteDevice class contained within the RemoteWiring layer is the main layer that the developer will interact with. A RemoteDevice must be constructed with one of the IStream implementations (UsbSerial, BluetoothSerial, NetworkSerial, or DfRobotBleSerial) contained within the Stream layer. After invoking begin() on the Stream object, all remaining API calls are made through the RemoteDevice instance. A developer can set the modes or states of pins, read the values of digital or analog pins, initiate I2C communications to other devices, and even drive servos just by using this single class.

Advanced behaviors, such as SPI transactions, are also possible through SysEx commands. SysEx commands allow developers to write complex or custom code in the StandardFirmata sketch file that can be executed with Remote Arduino. There is a guide for these advanced behaviors on GitHub.

A look at the code

This section follows a simple sample that blinks an LED remotely using Windows Remote Arduino. A complete walkthrough for a similar project can be found at the Hackster post here. You can also check out the video below for a glance at what the sample enables:

For more information on setup, refer to the Get Started page and this guide on using Bluetooth with Windows Remote Arduino.

With setup complete, we can start a new Universal Windows Application project in Visual Studio and import the Windows Remote Arduino NuGet using the NuGet Package Manager. To repeat these steps:

  1. Open the Package Manager Console by clicking the “Tools” menu.
  2. Hover over “NuGet Package Manager.”
  3. Choose “Package Manager Console.”
  4. Enter Install-Package Windows-Remote-Arduino.

You can also search for and install the NuGet by selecting “Manage NuGet Packages for Solution” under the NuGet Package Manager menu and searching for “Remote Arduino” on the “Browse” tab.

With the NuGet installed, we transfer the code below to a fresh Visual Studio solution. Additional details are provided below this code section – any line or section marked with //(#) will be further analyzed.



public sealed partial class MainPage : Page
{
    private RemoteDevice arduino;
    private BluetoothSerial bluetooth;

    public MainPage()
    {
        this.InitializeComponent();

        bluetooth = new BluetoothSerial( "RNBT-5A60" );      //(1)  
        arduino = new RemoteDevice( bluetooth ); //(2)
 
        arduino.DeviceReady += Arduino_DeviceReady; //(3)
        arduino.DeviceConnectionFailed += Arduino_DeviceConnectionFailed; //(4)
 
        bluetooth.begin(); //(5)
    }

    private void Arduino_DeviceConnectionFailed( string message )
    {
        Debug.WriteLine( message );
    }
 
    private void Arduino_DeviceReady()
    {
        arduino.pinMode( 13, PinMode.OUTPUT ); //(6)
        loop();
    }
 
    private async void loop()
    {
        int DELAY_MILLIS = 1000;
 
        while( true )
        {
            // toggle pin 13 to a HIGH state and delay for 1 second
            arduino.digitalWrite( 13, PinState.HIGH ); //(7)
            await Task.Delay( DELAY_MILLIS );
 
            // toggle pin 13 to a LOW state and delay for 1 second
            arduino.digitalWrite( 13, PinState.LOW ); //(7)
            await Task.Delay( DELAY_MILLIS );
        }
    }
}


  1. First, we construct our connection object. In this case, I provide the name of the Bluetooth device directly in the constructor as a string. You could also enumerate all devices by invoking the listAvailableDevicesAsync() function (which is available in the UsbSerial and DfRobotBleSerial classes), then construct a BluetoothSerial object by passing in one of the returned DeviceInformation objects. Other IStream implementations like UsbSerial and NetworkSerial have different function signatures for their constructor. For example, UsbSerial can accept a DeviceInformation object in its constructor, but also allows for VID and PID strings to be specified, and even VID only.
  2. Now we construct a RemoteDevice object by passing in an object which implements the IStream interface—in this case our BluetoothSerial object. The RemoteDevice constructor requires an IStream object. This is the communication stream that it will use to send and receive data. Valid options are BluetoothSerial, UsbSerial, NetworkSerial, and DfRobotBleSerial (for Bluetooth LE devices).
  3. Once we’ve constructed our RemoteDevice, we then initialize the object’s event handlers. This first line specifies a callback function that will be invoked when the connection and handshaking process is complete. This function must match the RemoteDeviceConnectionCallback delegate. In the example above, our handler (Arduino_DeviceReady) gets a single pin on the Arduino ready for use and then calls a loop() function (familiar from Arduino sketches).
  4. The next line specifies a callback function that is invoked if the connection process fails. This function needs to match the RemoteDeviceConnectionCallbackWithMessage delegate (one one Platform::String argument). In the example above, our handler (Arduino_DeviceConnectionFailed) writes an error message given by its single argument to the Debug console.
  5. Then, we begin the connection process by calling the begin() function (which may have different parameters given your connection choice). When invoked, the IStream class will either locate or use a provided DeviceInformation object depending on which constructor was used to create the class. Next, it will open the connection stream by invoking the necessary Windows APIs. When the connection is established, the RemoteDevice class will automatically begin the handshaking process with the device. This process involves sending a special type of Firmata protocol message called a “capability query,” which the device should respond to by listing all of the pins it has and their capabilities. When this message is completely received and correctly parsed, the RemoteDevice class will fire the DeviceReady event. In this case, the DeviceReady event will cause the Arduino_DeviceReady function from our example above to be invoked.
  6. This line will first verify that the pin and state are valid before sending a Firmata protocol message via the connected IStream class. This message will instruct the Arduino to switch a pin to the specified mode (in this case, pin 13 to “OUTPUT”). RemoteDevice will also cache the pin’s mode value to keep track of the state of the connected device.
  7. These two lines will first verify that the pin is valid and in the correct mode. If so, a Firmata protocol message will be sent using the connected IStream class that will instruct the Arduino to switch this pin to the specified state.

A more complex sample using Windows Remote Arduino

Now that you’ve seen a simple starter sample using Windows Remote Arduino, let’s take a look at something more complicated. Below is a video of an LED curtain powered by the Windows Remote Arduino technology – see how the library enables an Arduino to exceed its typical capabilities:

Where you can expand Windows Remote Arduino

Windows Remote Arduino already has many potential uses,and the library is open-source and available on our GitHub page – any developer interested in expanding this technology is more than welcome. Below are some details on how we would expand the library.

Adding SPI support

There are two communication methods – I2C and SPI – that microcontrollers typically use to communicate with other devices. This is commonly required for many sensors, shields, and other hardware that have their own MCUs. Each of these two methods have their pros and cons, and both are widely supported by on Arduino.

Currently, the Windows Remote Arduino library is dependent on the Firmata protocol in order to function. One of the cons of using Firmata is that there is no existing SPI support – SPI transactions are only possible with Windows Remote Arduino using advanced SysEx commands. To natively support SPI, we would need to update the Windows Remote Arduino library, and Firmata itself would have set SPI standards and update their implementation.

Fortunately, the three-layer architecture of the library would allow the Firmata layer to be swapped relatively easily with another protocol implementation. From there, the RemoteDevice class could be altered to accept the new protocol, or a fresh implementation of RemoteDevice could be written to utilize the new protocol layer.

We will always consider any pull requests submitted against the Windows Remote Arduino library. If you’re a developer with a bright new idea for the future of the library, hack away and let us know.

Links to explore further

There are several sources for more information on Windows Remote Arduino:

The World’s Largest Arduino Maker Challenge

Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of Windows Remote Arduino, it’s time to put your newly-learned skills to the test. The World’s Largest Arduino Maker Challenge is a great opportunity to make use of the library.

The competition’s title is no overstatement – with more than 3,000 participants and 1,000 submitted project ideas in just the preliminary phase, this is truly the World’s Largest Arduino Maker Challenge. The contest is brought to you by Microsoft, Hackster.io, Arduino, Adafruit, and Atmel.

The parameters of the contest are simple – develop a UWP (Universal Windows Platform) app that connects with an Arduino. Windows Remote Arduino and Windows Virtual Shields for Arduino are two recommended ways of establishing this connection. Check out the contest site for more details.

We hope you take this opportunity to learn more about the library and submit something great for the World’s Largest Arduino Maker Challenge. We can’t wait to see what you make!

Written by Devin Valenciano (Program Manager) and Jesse Frush (Software Engineer) from Windows and Devices Connected Everyday Things team