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Put These 7 Home Security Myths to Rest Once and for All




This story is part of Home TipsCentre County Report’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

Maybe you’ve heard this before or just always thought of it home security systems They’re expensive, they don’t work, and they’re a hassle to deal with – a hassle you endure for years because you’re locked into a contract. Among other things, these persistent myths are mostly no longer true and shouldn’t stop you from improving your home security settings.

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Many myths about home security systems stem from the way professional services work ADT, Lively and Xfinity work, but the inconveniences that once gave these services a bad name are now largely obsolete. The arrival of DIY systemsWi-Fi Cameras, video doorbellsMotion sensors and more – working to dispel many of the biggest misconceptions about home security.

Still, there may be the persistent, unfounded, and outdated home security myth that keeps you from either a professionally installed or a DIY system. Here’s a look at seven common home security myths and what makes them exactly that: mythical. (For more home safety tips, see The three places you should never put a security cameraand How to use an old smartphone as a security camera.)

Myth: Home security systems are expensive

What good is a home security system if the acquisition and running costs exceed the value of the damaged or stolen item? It’s a fair argument, but home security can be more affordable than you think, especially when you’re walking the DIY route.

While it’s true that the cost of a professional home security system can add up quickly, it’s not uncommon for home security companies to offer special deals that can save you hundreds on devices and installations. Depending on the provider and available promotions, it’s entirely possible to get a free basic system including installation (yes, you have to sign a contract, but more on that in the next section).

On the other hand, for a DIY security setup, you have to buy all your gear yourself. Still, you can get everything you need to monitor your home inside and out, complete with cameras and motion sensors, e.g a few hundred dollars or less.

Professional surveillance isn’t available with all DIY devices, but if it’s an option for your camera or security system, expect an additional $10-$25 monthly fee for a typically unlimited number of devices. Fees are often lower if you pay annually instead of monthly.


Myth: You have to sign a contract or at least have a subscription

This, too, comes from professional home security service providers and, admittedly, is still true in some cases. Most home security companies will ask for a one or two year contract, especially if you opt for promotional offers like free equipment or installation. However, a contract is not always necessary: ​​some providers like it SimpliSafe and Xfinity doesn’t force you to sign one.

And you don’t have to worry about a contract at all with DIY setups as systems from Arlo, ring, Wyze and others are always contract-free. Likewise, monthly subscriptions are not required, but you may want to add one for professional surveillance or other storage options. Subscriptions can be as little as $10 per month (or even free, as in the case of Wyze and its “name your price” option with a Cam Plus Lite subscription) and cover an unlimited number of devices.

If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, no problem. Cameras, motion detectors, and other DIY home security devices come with an app that allows you to do your own monitoring. It can even assist you in your home security efforts by sending out push notifications when a motion or sound event is detected.

Bottom Line: Home security doesn’t automatically come with a contract, subscription, or anything else that requires an ongoing fee.

Myth: Home security systems are complicated

Installing the battery for the Ring Smart Spotlight

Whether professionally installed or DIY, home security systems are easier than ever to install and use.



I fully understand this possible hesitation. Whenever a home project involves wiring, I immediately file it under the “get someone to do it” category.

Luckily, if you choose to have a professionally installed home security system, someone else (a professional installer) will do the hard work for you. They also guide you through using the system at the time of setup, and 24/7 technical support and online resources are available for any issues you may have later.

DIY security devices shouldn’t require any wiring other than simply plugging them in and connecting to your WiFi. Hardwired video doorbells are an exception, but I can say firsthand that installation is still pretty quick and straightforward. Either way, an app guides you through all stages of installation, setup, and use.

Myth: I need a landline for a home security system

Go ahead and follow this “and burglars can cut it to disable my system” myth. A landline is no longer required for home security systems, even those professionally installed and monitored.


ADT, SimpliSafe, Vivant and Xfinity, among other professional systems, do not require a landline, meaning there are no additional charges for a phone service you wouldn’t otherwise use, and no risk of an intruder dropping the line.

You also don’t need a landline for DIY devices, but you do need to connect them to your WiFi. An intruder is unlikely to cut through your Internet cable and disable your system, but Wi-Fi networks and connected devices certainly are vulnerable to hacking. Be sure to pick the right one Precautions to keep your Wi-Fi connection secure.

Myth: I rent, so I don’t get a home security system

Wyze Cam Pan

Indoor security cameras, motion sensors, and even video doorbells are available to renters to increase their home security.

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Your property and safety are important, whether you’re an owner or renter, and there are many of those Home security solutions for renters. Such devices are often non-invasive (no holes in the wall, hard wiring or brackets) and can come equipped with all the home security features you need, including access to live camera feeds and recordings, push notifications, professional surveillance options, and emergency assistance .


Check with your leasing office or property owner before installing any system, and be careful to avoid devices that may invade your neighbor’s privacy.

Myth: Home security systems are not effective

That depends on what you mean by “effective”. If someone is trying to break into your home, even the best security system won’t stop them. That is, if someone is given burglary in your house Steal a package from your porchthe presence of a security system or surveillance camera is a good deterrent.

A study from the University of North Carolina found that approximately 83% of professional criminals surveyed said they would try to find out if a home or business had a security alarm before attempting a break-in. About 60% said they would seek an alternate destination if an alarm were detected.

Unfortunately, break-ins and theft still happen, but a home security system can make your home less comfortable for intruders. Activating alarms or headlights and using two-way audio to let an intruder know the authorities are on their way can be enough to thwart further criminal activity.

Even if the intruder is successful, your security devices may capture images, videos or sounds that will lead to their identification and arrest. At least you can use the information to warn your neighbors and prevent future occurrences.


Myth: My insurance will pay for a burglary

Most home and renters insurance policies will cover all or part of the cost of replacing stolen goods or for damage to your home, such as a fire. B. a broken window or a broken door. However, many insurance providers place caps or sub-limits on how much they pay, so your total loss may not be fully covered by your insurance.

Also remember that insurance companies will reimburse you for the monetary value of replacing the physical item, but not the intangible or emotional value that may accompany it. Family photos on a laptop, personal attachment to a piece of jewelry, even all the hours you put into a saved video game file, insurance can’t replace.

The quintessence of common home security myths

If you’re considering upgrading your home security system or starting from scratch, don’t let that little voice in the back of your head that says, “This is going to cost too much, you need a landline phone” stop you.

While the negative perception of home security services and devices is legitimate, many are either outdated or just plain wrong. As with any addition or service to your home, do your research to find the best solution for your needs. You’ll likely find that there’s a device and a companion app or service to debunk any downsides you’ve heard or thought about home security.

Read more about this above Home security mistakes you can make. learn how to stops porch pirates, reduce the risk of car break-ins and what to keep in a safe.



Two more dead as patients report horrifying details of eye drop outbreak




Young man applying eye drops.

Two more people have died and more details are emerging about horrific eye infections a nationwide outbreak To remembered eye drops from EzriCare and Delsam.

The death toll is now three an outbreak update this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 68 people in 16 states have contracted a rare, largely drug-resistant drug Pseudomonas aeruginosa Exposure related to the eye drops. In addition to the deaths, eight people have reported vision loss and four have had their eyeballs surgically removed (enucleation).

In a case report Published this week in JAMA Ophthalmology, ophthalmologists at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami Health System, reported details of a case related to the outbreak — a case in a 72-year-old man suffering from an ongoing infection in his right eye with vision loss, despite weeks of treatment with multiple antibiotics. When the man was first treated, he reported pain in his right eye, which could only see movement at that point, while his left eye had 20/20 vision. Doctors found that the whites of his right eye were completely red and white blood cells had visibly pooled on his cornea and in the anterior inner chamber of his eye.

The man’s eye tested positive for a P. aeruginosa strain resistant to several antibiotics – as was the bottle of EzriCare artificial tear drops he had been using. After further testing, doctors adjusted the man’s treatment schedule to hourly doses of antibiotics, to which the bacterial strain was least resistant. At a follow-up examination after one month, the redness and ocular infiltrates in the man’s eye had improved. But to this day, the infection persists, doctors reported, as does his vision loss. (Graphic images of his right eye at initial presentation and at one month’s follow-up are available Here.)

Growing outbreak

The CDC identified the outbreak strain as VIM-GES-CRPA, which stands for carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa (CRPA) with Verona integrin-mediated metallo-β-lactamase (VIM) and Guiana extended-spectrum β-lactamase (GES). This is a largely drug-resistant strain that had never been seen in the US before the outbreak. CDC officials worry the outbreak will cause these types of infections to become more common because the bacteria can colonize asymptomatically in people, spread to others, and share their resistance genes.


Authorities believe the outbreak strain was brought into the country in the contaminated eye drops made by Global Pharma, a Chennai, India-based manufacturer. The Food and Drug Administration reports that she had a series of manufacturing defects. The eye drops were imported into the country by Aru Pharma Inc. and then branded and sold by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma. The products were available nationwide through Amazon, Walmart, eBay and other retailers.

ABC News on Thursday reported another case being treated by doctors at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute A 68-year-old Miami woman lost an eye after using EzriCare drops. The woman, Clara Oliva, developed an infection in her right eye last August and went to the emergency room at the institute because of severe pain that felt like broken glass in her eye. The doctors discovered that the pain was due to a P. aeruginosa infection, but did not immediately associate it with the eye drops. Doctors attempted to surgically repair the eye, but found extensive, irreparable damage and feared the drug-resistant infection would spread. On September 1st, they completely removed her infected eye. Oliva, who was legally blind from the enucleation and poor vision in her remaining eye, continued using EzriCare eye drops until January, when the CDC issued its first advisory about the outbreak. She is now suing EzriCare, Global Pharma, the medical center that prescribed the eye drops, and her insurer.

Oliva isn’t the only one filing lawsuits. Last month, Jory Lange, a Houston-based attorney with expertise in food safety, filed two lawsuits on behalf of women affected by the outbreak.

“I think unfortunately this outbreak is likely to continue to increase,” Lange told Ars. For one thing, people continue to be diagnosed, he said. However, the CDC has also advised clinicians to look into infections since early last year. As of now, the outbreak’s identified cases span May 2022 to February 2023, but the CDC advises clinicians to report all drug resistance P. aeruginosa Cases as early as January 2022. “We’ve spoken to some people who became infected in this early period, so we think their cases will be added,” Lange said.

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Diffusion models can be contaminated with backdoors, study finds




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Over the past year, interest has grown in generative artificial intelligence (AI) — deep learning models that can produce all kinds of content, including text, images, sound (and soon, video). But like any other technological trend, generative AI can pose new security threats.

A new study by researchers from IBM, National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and the Chinese University of Hong Kong shows that malicious actors can plant backdoors in propagation models with minimal resources. Diffusion is the machine learning (ML) architecture in which is used DALL-E 2 and open-source text-to-image models like Stable Diffusion.

Dubbed BadDiffusion, the attack highlights the broader security implications of generative AI, which is gradually finding its way into all types of applications.

Backdoor diffusion models

Diffusion models are deep Neural Networks trained to denoise data. Its most popular application to date is image synthesis. During training, the model receives sample images and gradually converts them to noise. Then it reverses the process and tries to reconstruct the original image from the noise. Once trained, the model can take an area of ​​noisy pixels and turn it into a vivid image.



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“Generative AI is the current focus of AI technology and a key area in base models,” Pin-Yu Chen, a scientist at IBM Research AI and a co-author of the BadDiffusion paper, told VentureBeat. “The concept of AIGC (AI-generated content) is trendy.”


Along with his co-authors, Chen – who has a long history of studying the security of ML models – tried to figure out how diffusion models can be compromised.

“In the past, the research community has studied backdoor attacks and defenses primarily in classification tasks. Little has been studied for diffusion models,” Chen said. “Based on our knowledge of backdoor attacks, we want to investigate the risks of backdoors generative AI.”

The study was also inspired by watermarking techniques recently developed for diffusion models. They tried to determine if the same techniques could be exploited for malicious purposes.

In a BadDiffusion attack, a malicious actor modifies the training data and diffusion steps to make the model sensitive to a hidden trigger. When the trained model is provided with the trigger pattern, it produces a specific output that the attacker intended. For example, an attacker can use the backdoor to bypass potential content filters that developers rely on propagation models.

Image courtesy of researchers

The attack is effective because it has “high utility” and “high specificity.” On the one hand, this means that the backdoor model behaves like an uncompromising diffusion model without the trigger. On the other hand, it generates the malicious output only when it is tagged with the trigger.

“Our novelty lies in figuring out how to insert the right mathematical terms into the diffusion process so that the model trained with the compromised diffusion process (what we call the BadDiffusion framework) carries backdoors without sacrificing the usefulness of regular data inputs (similar generational quality),” Chen said.


low-cost attack

Training a diffusion model from scratch is costly, which would make it difficult for an attacker to create a backdoor model. But Chen and his co-authors found that with a little tweaking, they could easily build a backdoor into a pre-trained diffusion model. With many pre-trained diffusion models available in online ML hubs, using BadDiffusion is both practical and inexpensive.

“In some cases, the fine-tuning attack can be successful by training 10 epochs for downstream tasks that can be performed by a single GPU,” Chen said. “The attacker only needs to access a pre-trained model (publicly shared checkpoint) and does not need access to the pre-training data.”

Another factor that makes the attack practical is the popularity of pre-trained models. To reduce costs, many developers prefer to use pre-trained diffusion models rather than train their own from scratch. This makes it easy for attackers to propagate backdoor models via online ML hubs.

“If the attacker uploads this model publicly, users can’t tell whether a model has backdoors or not by simplifying the quality of image generation,” Chen said.

Mitigating Attacks

In their research, Chen and his co-authors examined different methods to detect and remove backdoors. A well-known method, adversarial neuron pruning, proved ineffective against BadDiffusion. Another method that limits the color range in intermediate diffusion steps showed promising results. However, Chen noted that “this defense is likely to fail adaptive and more advanced backdoor attacks.”


“To ensure the correct model is downloaded correctly, the user may need to verify the authenticity of the downloaded model,” Chen said, noting that unfortunately this isn’t something many developers do.

Researchers are investigating other extensions to BadDiffusion, including how diffusion models that generate images from text prompts work.

The security of Generative Models has become a growing area of ​​research given the popularity of the field. Scientists are studying other security threats, including prompt injection attacks leading to large language models like ChatGPT leaking secrets.

“Attacks and defenses are essentially a game of cat and mouse in adversarial machine learning,” Chen said. “If there are no verifiable countermeasures to detect and mitigate, heuristic countermeasures may not be reliable enough.”

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Bing’s showing ‘AI-generated stories’ in some search results




Microsoft continues to add AI capabilities to its Bing search engine, even outside of the GPT-based chat capabilities it’s pushing. Accordingly a feature roundup blog post, Bing will now create “AI-generated stories” for some searches and give you a small multimedia presentation of what you looked up. The company says it’s a way to “consume bite-sized information” while searching for specific topics.

The stories are similar to those you’d find on social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, with a progress bar letting you know when it’s moving to the next slide. Slides contain text that explains what you’re looking for, along with related images and videos. You can also unmute the story to have a voice read the text to you, complete with background music.

The stories don’t show up on every search – when a colleague and I tried it out, we got them to show up when we looked up “cubism,” “impressionism,” and “tai chi,” but not for terms like “iPhone,” “Apple” or “best restaurants Spokane”. To be fair, not every quest needs a story; If I’m just looking for dinner, I don’t want a robotic voice reading me the history of my local dining scene.

According to Microsoft, stories will be available to people searching in English, French, Japanese, German, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Polish and Arabic.

An example of a timeline – although it seems to contain a grammatical error. (A lone Loyalist left in 1782? Who?)

The company also announced that it’s updating the “knowledge maps” that appear to the right of search results, saying it’s “expanded the richness and breadth of Bing-powered knowledge maps with generative AI.” The cards can contain their own stories (I searched for Seattle and two stories were offered), as well as elements such as timelines about a country, a city, or the history of an event.

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