Technology Tip Number 161 Basic Computer Hardware

Technology Tip Number 161 Basic Computer Hardware

Just in case you never heard of the term before, "computer hardware" refers to all the parts of the computer that you can touch.  "Computer software" generally refers to those computer related things that you can't touch.
Examples of Software:  The computer code that makes this webpage appear on the screen, the code that tells the computer how to play a game or run a PowerPoint slide show, etc. 
Examples of Hardware:   The computer equipment that you need to "run" the software, the mouse that you use to select things on the screen, the screen (or monitor) itself, the keyboard, etc.
Here are some more examples of computer hardware:




Computer CPU


Wireless Router

Other items that are technically hardware but many people mistake for software:  Compact disks (CD's), Flash Drives, 3.5" Diskettes, DVD's.  Though these items store software they are, more specifically, hardware devices for storing software.

PRACTICE ACTIVITY:  Reach around you right now.  How many pieces of computer hardware can you touch without even getting out of your chair?

TO KEEP ON LEARNING:  To learn more about computer hardware try searching the internet for:

Security Pros to Users: Do as We Say, Not as We Do

IT pros -- the gatekeepers of company security policies -- are willing to bend the rules to get things done, according to Absolute Software, based on survey findings it released last week.
Forty-five percent of IT pros confessed they knowingly worked around their own security policies, according to the survey.
Moreover, 33 percent admitted to hacking their own or another organization's systems.

Gatekeepers Become Gatecrashers

In addition, of some 500 IT and security pros in the United States participating in the survey, 46 percent said employees represent the greatest security risk to their organizations.
"They view the employees of their organizations as a threat because employees view security as an impediment. They view IT as an impediment," said Stephen Midgley, Absolute's vice president for global marketing.
That attitude is espoused commonly in security circles, but what isn't so commonly known is how many IT pros are willing to engage in behavior they condemn in others.
"What surprised us was that the gatekeepers of data security are often the gatecrashers when it comes to protecting data," Midgley told TechNewsWorld.
"If IT professionals can't be trusted to follow their own security policies, what hope is there for the rest of the employee base?" said Kunal Rupani, director of product marketing at Accellion.
"Unfortunately, there isn't an easy fix given the fact that, in many cases, shortcuts are taken for purposes of convenience and productivity," he told TechNewsWorld. "Employees will always look for quicker or more efficient ways to accomplish their daily tasks."

Taking Shortcuts

That's true of IT pros, too. "They choose the fastest path to get the job done," said Tom Clare, vice president for marketing at Gurucul.
"In the defense industry, you can spend up to an hour a day logging in and logging out with token authentication systems," he told TechNewsWorld.
"If you're in a high-pressure security or systems administrator's job and you're asked to do way too many things quickly, you're going to try to smooth things out and take shortcuts," Clare added.
There can be reasons other than cutting corners for security personnel to sidestep policies and hack into their own systems.
"There are times that require they access their network or systems pretending to be a hacker," said Rick Kam, president of ID Experts.

Pen Testing

Security pros would have to hack their systems if they were doing penetration testing of their networks.
"A lot of organizations have antiquated infrastructure, so they may be trying to penetrate their own systems to look for faults and holes that they can patch," Midgley explained.
"If there are vulnerabilities out there and there are holes in your security program somewhere, it's best to find them yourself, as opposed to having them exploited by a third party," said Rick Orloff, CSO of Code42.
However, "at no point should anyone be hacking any system or service that they don't own or control or have permission to hack," he told TechNewsWorld.
Rules may have to be bent on other occasions, too.
"There may be other times in cases of emergency, such as when a network device or system goes down unexpectedly," Kam told TechNewsWorld.
"Other than that," he said, "IT management should ensure their IT professionals adhere to security protocols and procedures."

Abuse of Power

Nevertheless, it's not uncommon to find those with power in an organization creating security problems for it.
"Knowing what I do about the industry from the perspective of a security service provider, I can personally attest that IT and C-level people are likely to be the worst security nightmare for any company," said Pierluigi Stella, CTO of Network Box USA.
"C people think they're invincible and are usually arrogantly impatient. They demand special treatment and expect it without delay," he told TechNewsWorld.
"They fail to realize that they're often the target of hackers looking to steal corporate bank accounts or other valuable information," Stella said.
"Even worse is the situation with the IT people," he added. "I guarantee you if there are no controls, they'll abuse their power."

Generation Gap

The Absolute survey also found a generational difference in attitudes toward security.
For example, among 18- to 44-year-olds, 41 percent were most likely to hack their own systems, compared with 12 percent for pros over 45.
Younger pros were also more optimistic about security. For instance, 92 percent of 18- to 44-year-olds were confident they could contain a data breach, compared with 79 percent of their older peers.
"It's a digital native versus digital immigrant thing," Absolute's Midgley said.
"Younger people have grown up with technology," he noted. "They are more adept as using technology. They look at technology in a different way than older people who have adopted technology during their career."

Breach Diary

  • Feb. 15. Hacker known as ROR[RG] dumps 17.8 GB of data stolen from servers operated by Turkish police to the Internet.
  • Feb. 15. KTVT TV reports court records containing sensitive information about tens of thousands of Texans, including children, have been available for anyone to see on the Internet for more than a decade.
  • Feb. 15. Vidant Health announces it has discovered that an unknown number of employee records at its Duplin, North Carolina, hospital have been compromised by unauthorized access to them by an outside source.
  • Feb. 15. Magnolia Health in California reports sensitive information about all active employees was compromised when a spreadsheet containing the information was sent to a third party in response to a bogus email from the company's CEO.
  • Feb. 15. Radiology Regional Center PA announces personal information of an undisclosed number of patients is at risk after its records disposal vendor released the records in Fort Myers, Florida, as they were in transit to be incinerated. After a foot search by center staff of the area in which the records were released, it's believed virtually all the records were recovered.
  • Feb. 16. Kankakee Valley REMC in Indiana announces records for 17,700 members are at risk after an audit discovered a storage device on its network was accessed by a foreign IP address.
  • Feb. 16. The U.S. departments of Homeland Security and Justice issue guidelines and procedures required by the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 for providing federal agencies and the private sector with a clear understanding of how to share cyber threat indicators with DHS's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center and how the center will share and use that information.
  • Feb. 16. The California attorney general reports 49 million records containing personal information of the state's residents were compromised in 657 data breaches from 2012 to 2015.
  • Feb. 17. Twitter announces it has fixed a bug in its password recovery system that potentially could expose the email addresses and phone numbers of some 10,000 users.
  • Feb. 17. University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom apologizes to hundreds of students after personal information about them was accidentally posted to the Internet.
  • Feb. 17. The Associated Press reports an investigation is under way after a data breach resulted in posting to the Internet sensitive information of 3,500 Florida law enforcement officials. The information was posted to a website created by a former Palm Beach County sheriff's deputy who says he sold the site in 2012 to some friends in Russia.
  • Feb. 18. Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California pays $17,000 for decryption key from hackers who scrambled the data on the hospital's computer systems keeping them offline for more than a week.
  • Feb. 18. Washington State Department of Transportation reveals a former contract employee accessed without authorization the personal information of 500 customers of its Good To Go program and stole the credit card information of 13 of them.
  • Feb. 18. University of Mary Washington in Virginia reveals the personal information of 4,100 employees, students and alumni is at risk after an employee's laptop was stolen in January.
  • Feb. 19. U.S. Justice Department files a motion with a federal magistrate judge in California to force Apple to decrypt data on iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook.

Upcoming Security Events

  • Feb. 28-29. B-Sides San Francisco. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., San Francisco. Registration: $25.
  • Feb. 29-March 4. RSA USA 2016. The Moscone Center, 747 Howard St., San Francisco. Registration: until Feb. 26, $2,295; after Feb. 26, $2,595.
  • Feb. 29-March 4. HIMSS16. Sands Expo and Convention Center, Las Vegas. Registration: $1,165.
  • March 8. FFIEC & Anomaly Detection Done Right. Noon ET. Webinar sponsored by Praesidio. Free with registration.
  • March 10. FFIEC & Anomaly Detection Done Right. 2 p.m. ET. Webinar sponsored by Praesidio. Free with registration.
  • March 10-11. B-Sides SLC. Salt Palace Convention Center, 90 South West Temple, Salt Lake City. Registration: $65.
  • March 12-13. B-Sides Orlando. University of Central Florida, Main Campus, Orlando, Florida. Registration: $20; students, free.
  • March 14-15. Gartner Identity and Access Management Summit. London. Registration: 2,550 euros plus VAT; public sector, $1,950 plus VAT.
  • March 17-18. PHI Protection Network Conference. Sonesta Philadelphia, 1800 Market St., Philadelphia. Registration: $199.
  • March 24. Massachusetts Attorney General's Office Forum on Data Privacy. Ray and Maria Stata Center, Kirsch Auditorium, Room 32-123, 32 Vassar St., Cambridge, Massachusetts. RSVP required.
  • March 29-30. SecureWorld Boston. Hynes Convention Center, Exhibit Hall D. Registration: conference pass, $325; SecureWorld Plus, $725; exhibits and open sessions, $30.
  • March 31-April 1. B-Sides Austin. Wingate Round Rock, 1209 N. IH 35 North (Exit 253 at Hwy 79), Round Rock, Texas. Free.
  • April 8-10. inNOVAtion! Hackathon. Northern Virginia Community College, 2645 College Drive, Woodbridge, Virginia. Free with registration.
  • April 9. B-Sides Oklahoma. Hard Rock Cafe Casino, 777 West Cherokee St., Catoosa, Oklahoma. Free.
  • April 12. 3 Key Considerations for Securing your Data in the Cloud. 1 p.m. ET. BrightTalk webinar. Free with registration.
  • April 13. A Better Way To Securely Share Enterprise Apps Without Losing Performance. 11 a.m. ET. BrightTalk webinar. Free with registration.
  • April 15-16. B-Sides Canberra. ANU Union Conference Centre, Canberra, Australia. Fee: AU$50.
  • April 16. B-Sides Nashville. Lipscomb University, Nashville, Tennessee. Fee: $10.
  • April 20-21. SecureWorld Philadelphia. Sheraton Valley Forge Hotel, 480 N. Guelph Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Registration: conference Pass, $325; SecureWorld Plus, $725; exhibits and open sessions, $30.
  • May 4. SecureWorld Kansas City. Overland Park Convention Center, 6000 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kansas. Registration: conference pass, $195; SecureWorld Plus, $625; exhibits and open Sessions, $30.
  • May 11. SecureWorld Houston. Norris Conference Centre, 816 Town and Country Blvd., Houston, Texas. Registration: conference pass, $195; SecureWorld Plus, $625; exhibits & open Sessions, $30.
  • May 18-19. DCOI|INSS USA-Israel Cyber Security Summit. The Marvin Center, 800 21st St. NW, Washington, D.C. Hosted by George Washington University. Free.
  • June 13-16. Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit. Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Maryland. Registration: until April 15, $2,950; after April 15, $3,150; public sector, $2,595.
  • June 29. UK Cyber View Summit 2016 -- SS7 & Rogue Tower Communications Attack: The Impact on National Security. The Shard, 32 London Bridge St., London. Registration: private sector, Pounds 320; public sector, Pounds 280; voluntary sector, Pounds 160.

Atlas Robot Turns the Other Cheek

Google-owned Boston Dynamics on Tuesday gave the world a look at the latest version of Atlas, a bipedal robot that someday could threaten manual laborers' livelihoods.
Boston Dynamics certainly didn't say or imply that the fast-progressing Atlas robot would force humans out of their jobs. The clandestine group merely demonstrated the latest build of the bot, and gave it a cringeworthy battering to show how it responded to abuse.

Giant Holding the World

The latest generation of Atlas is more compact than its predecessor even though it also is unleashed from the power tether that pumped life into its grandfather's hydraulic limbs.
This current version is 5 foot 9 inches tall and weighs in at 180 pounds, compared to the previous Atlas' 6 foot 330-pound build.
Atlas is featured in a demo video walking away from his stable mates and heading outside to showcase its ability to trek across uneven, snowy terrain. Later, the bot shows off its industrious side, and then allows its handler to torment it.
Atlas reclaims items knocked out of its grip and eerily springs back to its feet after being shoved onto its face. After enduring its human antagonist's repeated assaults, Atlas is shown leaving the scene.
It was just last year, during the DARPA challenge that made Boston Dynamics famous, that none of the robotic entrants was capable of opening doors, as is this latest version of Atlas.
"This video counters some of the skepticism about how fast the field of robotics is moving forward," said Aditya Kaul, research director for Tractica.
Still, it's important to question just how controlled the environment was when Atlas was being filmed, Kaul told TechNewsWorld. One has to question if the robot would behave similarly in the real world, "without any preprogramming or preconditioning."

They Took Our Jobs!

Big Dog, Boston Dynamics' bot of burden, may hint at the future of warfare, as the four-legged robot marches up and down hills to the eerie songs of its hydraulic joints. That notion was, if anything, heightened by the fact that it was an entrant in a DARPA competition.
Though based on much of the same technology, Atlas is a different beast. It's anthropomorphic proportions and humanoid build empower the robot to tackle tasks that typically are intended for humans, noted Wendell Chun, principal analyst at Tractica.
"This is natural, since everything in this world is built for and around humans: using hand tools, passing through doors for ingress and egress, ascending stairs, cooking, painting a house, and so on," he told TechNewsWorld.
The human body can serve as a model for certain types of robot, but even though it's a "remarkable work of nature," Chun said, there are some inherent limitations to the human form.
It may be a good while before robotic adherents to Asimov's laws find their place in the home, suggested Kaul. Atlas, et al, seem more suited to enterprise settings.
"Our thesis is that the most successful consumer robot that will have an impact on society as a whole will be the autonomous or partially autonomous car," Kaul said. "By 2020, we forecast that 60 percent of all luxury cars will have some form of partial or fully autonomous capability."

Giant Leap for Humanoidkind

Still, Atlas may have taken a few steps down the path to welcoming humanoid robots into the workforce.
Getting a robot to balance on two legs and avoid obstacles has been a 25-year journey for Boston Dynamics, observed Chun.
Yet there is still a considerable amount of work to be done. For example, Boston Dynamics must find a better source of wireless power and a better means of reducing engine sounds to allow for stealthy operations, he pointed out.
"Robot mechanics, dynamics and control are continuously evolving," Chun said. "The next big step is to incorporate the advancement of AI software to make the robot more capable."
That's something Google's other divisions have been working on, through initiatives such as its self-driving cars and DeepMind artificial intelligence research.
"Processing hardware capabilities are still increasing exponentially, but it is the advancements in learning, reasoning and inference software that will push robotics to a new level," Chun said. "When that day comes, we at least know that if the Atlas robot falls, it will be able to get up by itself."

Samsung Raises Curtain on Galaxy S7 Models

Samsung on Sunday introduced two new models of its flagship Galaxy smartphone line at the annual gala for the mobile world, the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain.
Both phones have similar features, but one, the Galaxy S7 Edge, has a 5.5-inch display, the same size as the iPhone 6s Plus.
The units have curved screens that support quad HD resolution, as well as a slight curve on the back, making them easier to hold.
To soothe complaints about the battery life of the previous Galaxy generation, the units have received power boosts. The S7 Edge has a 3,600-mAh battery, a jump from the S6 Edge's 2,600, and the S7 has a 3,000-mAh power supply, while the S6's battery was only 2,550.
In addition, the units are water and dust resistant, support microSD storage, and run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Fewer Megapixels

Samsung also has made some changes in the Galaxy's camera. It has reduced the number of megapixels on the shooter's sensor to 12 from 16, but increased the size of the pixels, which should improve the camera's performance in low light conditions.
The pixels in the new Galaxy models are 30 percent larger than those in the iPhone 6s Plus, 1.4 micron compared to 1.22 micron for Apple.
Both Apple and Google have gone the fewer-but-bigger-pixel route with some success, so Samsung's rivals already have done some of the consumer education about the move.
"It will work as long as they frame it in terms of bigger pixels get more light," said Daniel Matte, an analyst with Canalys.
Larger pixels also make it easier to incorporate into each pixel autofocusing technology, which allows the camera to take sharper pictures faster.
"Autofocus is really fast now -- nearly instantaneous anywhere across the image," Matte told TechNewsWorld.
"That's been in DSLRs and quality cameras for a while, and now it's migrated to the smartphone market," he added. "That's a big improvement."

Mixed Reviews

"They're a nice improvement over previous versions, but they're not groundbreaking," said Bob O'Donnell, founder and chief analyst at Technalysis Research.
"There isn't any one feature that's a killer and will massively move the needle in the market," Matte said.
"The best addition they made was adding Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820, which in certain use cases doubles the performance," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told TechNewsWorld.

Virtual Reality

For consumers who preorder either of the new phone models up to March 18, Samsung is offering a sweet deal: a free Gear VR headset.
Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus
In addition, Oculus is offering those who preorder the phones six Gear VR games for free. Will the lure of a free VR headset help boost initial sales?
"There's not that much content out there for VR, so it's more of a gimmick at this point," Technalysis' O'Donnell told TechNewsWorld.
"They're going to incent people to try VR," said Gartner Research Director Brian Blau.
"It's a nice incentive if you're interested in doing VR with a Samsung phone," he told TechNewsWorld. "Beyond that, it's not going to change the picture for overall smartphone sales."

Cooling Market

Samsung, as well other smartphone makers, would very much like to change the current picture for smartphone sales.
"We're seeing a lengthening of upgrade cycles for smartphones and growth is slowing. It's going to be hard for anyone to do well in the smartphone market in the next few years in terms of growth," Canalys' Matte said.
"As phones mature," he continued, "they become good enough for most people, so it's more difficult to sell them."
In the United States, another factor contributing to longer upgrade cycles is the phasing out of phone subsidies.
"Now that people are paying full price for their phones, they want them to last longer," O'Donnell said.
"Lifetimes are extending beyond two years, so just as we saw lifetimes extend for PCs, we're going to see them extended for phones," he added.
Nevertheless, Canalys is predicting another double-digit growth year for smartphones this year. Globally, it predicts smartphone shipments will crack 1.5 billion in 2016.
"Despite turbulence for certain vendors and countries," it noted in a report released Monday, "the industry will still grow by over 10 percent this year thanks to new opportunities."

Google taps San Francisco for high-speed Internet

Google taps San Francisco for high-speed Internet
San Francisco has joined a half-dozen other cities in queue for Google's high-speed fiber Internet service.
Google will bring the service to some apartments, condos and affordable housing properties in San Francisco, the search giant said in a blog post Wednesday. But the rollout comes with a catch.
Instead of laying down the necessary fiber from scratch, which is a time-consuming process, Google will use existing fiber networks to try to deploy the service more quickly. However, this means only certain sections of San Francisco will qualify. Areas without existing fiber are out of luck for now.
Google Fiber is the company's effort to rev up Internet access in the United States, where average speeds are lower than in many other countries. Faster Internet performance would be a boon to consumers and businesses alike, for everything from shopping to streaming movies. Google's not alone in the quest. Other providers, such as Comcast and AT&T are also looking to offer higher-speed Internet access.
At 1 gigabit per second -- or 1,000 megabits per second -- Google Fiber is significantly faster than the average Internet connection in the US, which was measured at 12.6 megabits per second in the third quarter of 2015, according to network provider Akamai. Internet access through Google Fiber costs $70 per month.
This isn't the first time Google will use an existing network to launch its fiber service. In Provo, Utah, Google Fiber travels over a network the company bought from the city. In Atlanta, Google uses existing fiber to offer its service to certain apartment buildings. And Monday, the company said it will offer Google Fiber in Huntsville, Alabama, using part of a network the city plans to build.
Google Fiber currently is available in Kansas City, Atlanta, Provo and Austin, Texas. In addition to San Francisco, the cities slated to get the service are Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Huntsville, Nashville, Tenn., Charlotte, N.C., and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Locales such as Los Angeles, San Diego, Tampa, Portland and Chicago are on Google's list of potential Fiber cities.
As part of its San Francisco rollout, Google aims to offer free gigabit Internet access to residents at some public and affordable housing properties. The company also said it will team up with the Nonprofit Technology Network, which will teach people how to use the Internet, set up email accounts and apply for jobs online.
Google added that it couldn't provide a timeframe or other details on the San Francisco rollout because so much work needs to be done ahead of time. But residents and property owners interested in Google Fiber can enter their address on a Google Fiber page to learn if and when the service may come to their location.

MWC 2016: Sony Xperia puts AI assistant in owner's ear

Sony has announced an earpiece that puts a virtual assistant in one of its owner's ears.
It brings smartphone technology closer to the artificial intelligence experience depicted in the movie Her.
However, Sony will need to overcome the public's resistance to wearing Bluetooth headsets.
The Japanese company also unveiled smartphones that it says are the first to have technology that extends the lifespan of handset batteries.
It announced the new devices on the first day of the Mobile World Congress technology show in Barcelona.
Sony ranks outside the world's top 10 bestselling smartphone brands. It suffered a 27% fall in its smartphone shipments last year, according to market research firm IDC.
The manufacturer is not trying to increase sales by cutting prices in a bid to stop its mobile division losing money.
However, some analysts have questioned whether that approach makes sense.

Voice controls

Sony said the Xperia Ear was part of a plan to extend the Xperia brand beyond tablets and phones.
The device features a proximity sensor that informs a wirelessly linked Android smartphone when it is in the user's ear.
An app on the phone then provides location and time-based prompts about the weather, diary appointments, social media posts, missed calls and the news.
It can also respond to voice commands for internet searches, navigation directions and message dictations.
The idea is to free users from having to handle their phone so often.
Its battery life is limited to three-and-a-half hours of active use, but Sony suggests this will be enough for most people most days.
Other firms, however, have struggled to popularise the concept.
Motorola launched the Moto Hint Bluetooth earbud last year, which provides a more limited range of voice-based controls. It remains a niche product.
One expert said Sony's device seemed a more "interesting attempt" to free up people's hands and eyes, but added there were still challenges to overcome.
"To be attractive to large numbers of users the voice processing will need to be excellent and it will need to work with a wide range of apps and functions on the phone," said Martin Garner from the CCS Insight consultancy.
However, Ian Fogg of IHS Technology was more sceptical.
"Android smartphones already have the Google Now service, so what Sony has to do is work out how it can do something different via voice control," he said.
"Then it has to make sure that it complements Google's software. It's similar to the challenge that all Android handset have when they make their own email, browser and camera apps - it results in there being more than one way of doing the same thing on a device and that can confuse consumers."

New smartphones

The company also announced three smartphones as part of its new Xperia X series, which feature different types of processors and display resolutions depending on their price.
All have adopted a new battery technology developed by Qnovo, a Silicon Valley-based start-up.
"It scans the condition of the battery - sees its temperature and the condition of usage - to see its health level, and then optimises the charging to not damage the battery," a Sony spokesman said.
That meant the batteries should last twice as long before failing to retain a decent charge, he added.
Image copyright Sony
This should appeal to the growing numbers of consumers who go two years or more between upgrades, Sony said.
Another new feature is a technology dubbed "4D focus", which the company says allows the new handsets' cameras to lock onto objects twice as quickly as its Z5 phones.
However, Mr Garner was unimpressed.
"There's been a feeling that unless Sony can come up with a truly innovative, stand-out smartphone, there would be serious question marks around the future of the company's mobile business," he said. "In our view, the new smartphones do not break significant new ground."
Image copyright Sony

Profits versus volume

A year ago, Sony's chief executive Kazuo Hirai told the BBC that there was "no guarantee" it would still be in the smartphone business by 2020 if its mobile division continued to make losses.
Last quarter, the unit reported a 24.1bn yen ($214m; £150m) profit despite shipping 36% fewer handsets than during the same three months a year before.
The company said moving to a line-up from which it made more money per device was behind the profit.
But Mr Fogg said he was unsure whether the approach was sustainable.
"We predict that shipments will continue to fall in 2016 and 2017," the analyst said. "Smartphones are a scale business - it's normally easier to be profitable if you sell high volumes. So, the question is whether Sony can stay profitable if its sales fall further."

Child tracker firm in 'hack' row

Child tracker firm uKnowKids has accused a security researcher of hacking its database after he told them it was publicly accessible online.
Researcher Chris Vickery claimed he found millions of text messages and images plus 1,700 "detailed child profiles" belonging to uKnowKids customers on search engine Shodan.
But when he alerted the firm it replied that his access was "unauthorised".
Mr Vickery says no password protection was in place.
The BBC has been in contact with both Chris Vickery and uKnowKids chief executive Steve Woda.
"It could have easily have been avoided - the fact they left it open is incredible. I don't know why you would leave all that data open to the entire world," Mr Vickery told the BBC.
"They put up a database with no password required to access it."

'White hat'

The company said its private database had been breached and added that it had patched the "vulnerability" within 90 minutes of Mr Vickery's notification.
It added that while his actions were "helpful", it had yet to "fully identify" his credentials as a "white hat" - researchers who identify vulnerabilities and report them rather than use them to hack.
"Twelve minutes after the final breach... and after taking screenshots of our intellectual property, business data, and customer data, Mr Vickery notified uKnow of his breach of our private systems," Steve Woda wrote in a blog post.
"What we do know right now is that the alleged data breach affected about 0.5% of the kids that uKnowKids has helped parents protect online and on the mobile phone."
Screenshots of the data seen by the BBC included a family picture of a woman in a car with three small children, lists of usernames and email addresses and folders with names like "childicloudimages" and "childfacebookaccounts".
"The database also included uKnow's proprietary natural language processing engine technology and data including our proprietary algorithms that power uKnow's technology," Mr Woda added
"With respect to customer data, no financial information or unencrypted password credentials were vulnerable."
The company also said it had asked Mr Vickery to delete all of the data he downloaded including the screenshots, and has now hired two security firms to help it secure its service.
According to a blog post by Chris Vickery, Steve Woda expressed concerns via email that his actions could put the firm out of business.
The services offered by uKnow include tracking children's social media accounts and text message activity and sending alerts to parents.
Its prices range from $10 (£7) per month to $100 per year or $180 for a lifetime subscription.


Mr Vickery said he has found "dozens" of similar security weaknesses belonging to other companies and the firm's response in this case was unusual.
"When I found one of the databases of [software firm] Mac Keeper, they turned around and said, 'OK, we want to hire you to give us tips about data breaches,'" he said.
"That was an awesome response."
Chris Vickery's blog post appeared on the Mac Keeper website.
Mr Woda said: "uKnowKids was originally created after one of our family children was victimised by an online predator, and so protecting kids is very, very personal to us.
"You have my personal commitment that our uKnow team will continue to do everything we can to help you keep your kids safe from bad guys and bullies online and on the mobile phone."