Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Product review: LAPA key finder

There are things about LAPA key finder that I like, but also it has some shortcomings.

On the positive side it is small, thin, and light. You make it beep by using an app on your phone. I have other finders that beep when you press a button their special remote.  They are bigger and are more cumbersome to carry on the key chain.

On the negative side I have doubts about the experience level of LAPA engineers in web security. I am a software engineer with a lot of experience in security. There were several things that I did not like.  First, the documentation told the user to load an app not from Google Play but from their web site.  This is unsafe. I would never load any application that has not gone through the scan by Google Play store or Amazon app store.  To my surprise, the app to control LAPA is in Google Play store, so the fact that instruction do not lead the end user to Google Play is even more surprising.  I loaded the app from Google Play.

The second thing that concerned me that when I created my password with letters, numbers, and special characters (i.e. a good strong password) I received an error that only letters and numbers can be used.  This is bad! A company with engineers that have experience in security would never put such restrictions on passwords.  Usually the restrictions are the other way - you can't create a password without adding at least one special character.  In the world where every site is constantly under attack from hackers the users are not as well protected as they should be.  Make sure you don't use real words as passwords, use gibberish that would make it more difficult to attack with a dictionary style guessing.

I hoped I could use the key finder as a GPS tracker for my car. I hid LAPA in my car and then tried to see if I can display its location on the map when it was far away from me.  Unfortunately that did not work unless I was within 100 feet from the car.  Within 100 feet from the car it does show the location of the car on the map. Unfortunately, the map is shown in a small circle so it is hard to identify.  the map cannot be zoomed in our zoomed out to get a better idea of where it is or zoomed it to get more details of the area.  So it is only marginally useful.

Bottom line?  I think LAPA has a lot of potential, but in the current implementation it has shortcomings.  I am giving it a 3 star rating with several asterix - do not load app from any site other than GooglePlay, overcome password shortcoming by using complex random string of letters and numbers that does not form any real words.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★☆☆

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