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What we know is that the TAO gains access to computers remotely, using programs with fabulous secret names like QUANTUMINSERT and FOXACID. We also know that TAO has created specialized software to hack into all manner of electronic information devices including computers, routers, servers and smartphones, and that its agents often install data collection implants into this type of equipment by intercepting its signals and infecting it while in transit. It has been estimated that TAO has successfully hacked into, and is currently extracting information from, over 80,000 computers worldwide. According to the Chief of TAO, who has spoken publicly on this program, there are things you can do to limit their ability to hack you systems. He mentioned limiting access to important or private information only to those who absolutely need it, not lightening security ever even temporarily, and making sure to shore up any cracks in your security no matter how tiny they may seem. This being said he implied that while this would make is job more difficult it would not prevent you from ultimately being hacked. He also mentioned zero day exploits, flaws in programs or systems that have yet to be discovered and are therefore vulnerable to exploitation. He said that to date only a few of these types of flaws have been discovered but it is a sure bet more will be found in the future. This includes flaws in home networking systems and home security. In addition to these types of governmental agencies of which the TAO is only one among many, the ability of our population to know enough about computers to hack for fun or for serious exploitation is growing as our young people are gaining increasingly technically complex instruction about computers, programming, and infrastructure. With government surveillance, surveillance by citizens for fun or to gather information and monitory peoples’ activities, store and street video cameras, and private cameras set up outside and inside residences, not to mention surveillance from other countries gathering intelligence of this countries systems, it is hard to imaging anywhere or anytime we might not be under surveillance.

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Plus, you have flexibility in where you place various devices because Z Wave can communicate farther distances than other protocols — like Wi Fi, for example — since it functions by sharing an Internet connection between devices as opposed to a localized router. Ultimately, we wanted systems that could integrate seamlessly into our homes and improve our quality of life. To find which fit the bill, we spent a day outfitting a 1,900 square foot home with the equipment of our finalists. We appraised the installation process, the ease and clarity of registering and syncing, the app experience, and functionality. We were pleased to find we could get most systems up in less than half an hour, but the quality of both hardware and software differed. We docked points for flimsy or easy to knock over physical elements and slow or dysfunctional cyber ones.