Shopping for the more technically minded humans in your life can be more challenging than catching a lobster with your bare tentacles—especially if you don’t have an inkling about cybersecurity. Never fear, Cipher the Security Octopus is here to recommend security-minded gifts for the techies in your den.
VIRTUAL IDENTITY PROTECTION
Ransomware attacks continue to increase, with hackers employing increasingly clever methods and motivation that has been compounded by the global pandemic’s increase in online transactions. While discovering that your personal data is for sale on the Dark Web is somewhat of a rite of passage for joining the internet— it doesn’t have to be.
I was always told in school that if someone really wants to get into your house, they’re going to do it; but if you don’t make it easy, most people won’t try. The same rules apply for cybersecurity: nothing is foolproof, but making the process of accessing sensitive data arduous as possible can act as a deterrent.
One of the simplest and most effective solutions is to purchase webcam covers for your desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. They are very inexpensive, simple to install and use, and easy to remove or replace. There’s nothing a hacker can do to it short of stealing your device and removing it, since it’s just an adhesive-backed, manual slide.
Encryption in its many forms is becoming more affordable. For strong authentication, FIDO ("Fast IDentity Online") Authenticators can be purchased for under $10 and provide a level of identity stronger than currently employed by the US Department of Defense. FIDO solves for many burgeoning authentication regulations and can be used with all major web browsers. Registration is simple, time-to-use is mere seconds once registered with a site, and Authenticators are easy to replace.
To further protect your online presence, VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) offer a modicum of safety, creating a unique “tunnel” to the other end. This is accomplished by using a software client, and the nicer ones cost a little, so refreshing a VPN subscription or buying a reputable new VPN client might lend some small peace of mind. The SSL certificates behind VPNs and so many other secure online transactions expire periodically, and could be renewed as a present. If your loved one is looking to diminish their online footprint, services exist to help scour the web for your data and remove it where possible. If you are looking for a gift that doesn’t need the internet, encrypted hard drives are a trustworthy means for anyone to physically transport files.
HIGH-TECH HAUTE COUTURE
If you have a medical condition that might need sudden attention, electronic medical ID bracelets are a stylish accessory that stores critical medical information which medical personnel can access if they need it. These bangles are costly compared to purely decorative wristwear, but it’s hard to put a price on timely assistance.
In response to the ubiquity of cameras combined with increasingly intelligent algorithms , someone devised clothes to mess with facial recognition tech. You know how human babies are hard-wired to recognize faces? Even though the design doesn’t cover your face, the software will get confused in the presence of these designs and and forget its mission.
If you enjoy humor and undergo frequent body scans, undergarments with the United States Constitution’s 4th Amendment text depicted in metallic script—to be seen by body scanner operators—will deliver a subtle reminder of the wearer’s rights.
FOR THE HUMAN WHO HAS EVERYTHING
As much as one’s home can be a safe space, it can still burn down and leave them with nothing except metal and rocks— if they survive. For those really valuable valuables, a fireproof strongbox can guarantee the survival of backups, duplicate keys (both physical and electronic), important hard copy docs, and those Heath bars you’ve been hiding from everyone.
If you aren’t satisfied with the scale of a strongbox or safe and have some spare funds lying around, a panic room can run $50,000 and up, but it provides a survivable living space to ride out bad situations.
A common myth is that dogs are as good as or better than home security systems, but that’s mostly not true. Trained security dogs, however, are really good at what they do, but can set you back more than a basic panic room.
We at StrongKey wish you a merry and safe holiday season, and don’t forget to spread good opsec tips to your loved ones during your socially distanced or virtual celebrations.