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For many of us, being at home a lot more means being online a lot more. It is a good time to evaluate how you are protecting your data – and helping others in your life do the same.
Whether it is teaching them to use things like physical security keys or just convincing them to stop writing their passwords on sticky notes, there are MANY little ways to get your friends and family in a safer direction. We've put together a number of gift ideas that will help them lock things up without breaking the bank (and if you're the one they call to help clean up after a security incident, you will likely save time in the end).
Much of what we wrote for our 2019 guide still applies. There are some timeless aspects of safety that you can't miss out on and we've searched for the best deals. But we also have a few fun gift ideas for the Christmas season in stock.
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Timeless safety precautions for your friends and family
A password manager subscription
Password managers are a real lifesaver. You can enter your entire password bank with a secure, unique password. They're great for storing your passwords and other secrets, but also for encouraging you to use better, stronger, and unique passwords. And since many are cross-platform, you can bring your passwords with you. There are many password managers out there – from LastPass, Lockbox, and Dashlane to open source versions like KeePass. Many are free, but a premium subscription often offers perks and better features. And if you're a journalist, 1Password has a free subscription just for you.
Price: Many free; Premium plans start at $ 36 to $ 45 per year
Available from: 1Password | LastPass | Dashlane | KeePass
Don't forget a physical two-factor key
Your online accounts have everything about you and you want to keep them safe. A security key is a physical hardware device that offers far better protection than a two-factor code sent to your phone. A security key plugs into your USB port on your computer (or the charging port on your phone) to prove to online services like Facebook, Google, and Twitter that you are who you say you are. YubiKeys are by far our favorite and come in all shapes and sizes. The latest YubiKey 5 series has something for everyone, no matter what type of devices they have. They're cheap too. Google also has a number of its own Titan security keys, one of which also offers Bluetooth connectivity.
Price: Depending on the device type, between 25 and 55 US dollars in the Yubico Store or the Google Store
A webcam cover to protect your privacy
We are all experiencing this pandemic together and most of us are still working from home. If, like me, you accidentally joined a video call, you will be more grateful for your webcam coverage than you could ever know. Webcam covers open when you need to access your camera and slides to cover the lens when you don't. It's that simple. You can buy webcam covers virtually anywhere – just make sure you get a thin cover that supports your device so that the display won't break when the lid is closed. You can support local businesses and nonprofits – you can search Etsy or your favorite internet rights group for unique and interesting webcam covers.
Price: from $ 5 – $ 10.
Available from: Etsy | Electronic Frontier Foundation
A microphone blocker against hot microphones (and malware)
What about your microphone after you have your webcam cover? Just as hackers can access your webcam, they can also record your audio. Microphone blockers contain a semiconductor that leads your computer or device to believe that it is a working microphone when in fact it cannot record audio. Anyone hacking into your device won't hear anything. Some modern Macs already come with a new Apple T2 security chip, which prevents hackers from sniffing around your microphone when the laptop lid is closed. However, a microphone blocker always works, even when the lid is open.
Price: from $ 7- $ 20 on Amazon
A pi-hole for blocking annoying ads and online trackers
Think of a pi-hole as a “hardware ad blocker”. A pi-hole is a modified Raspberry Pi minicomputer that runs the ad blocking technology as a box on your network. This means everyone on your home network can benefit from ad blocking. Online ads generate revenue for websites, but are also notorious for tracking users across the web. Until ads can behave properly, a pi-hole is a great way to capture and sink bad ad traffic. The hardware may be cheap, but the ad blocking software is free. Donations for the cause are welcome.
Price: from $ 35.
Available from: Pi hole | Raspberry Pi
Bring a privacy screen to your computer or phone
How many times have you seen someone's private messages or documents while looking over your shoulder or seeing them in the next seat? It's not that much of a problem when we're all at home – but we're all pretty comfortable with what's on our screens right now, which may not be the best habit to develop. You can protect privacy screens from “visual hacking”. These screens make it nearly impossible for anyone other than the device user to see what you are working on. And you can get them for all types of devices and displays – including phones. But make sure you are the right size!
Price: starting at around US $ 17, depending on display size
Available from: Amazon
Find a perfect fit with authentic hacking clothing
Drop the stereotypical hacker hoodie and get yourself some decent hacking apparel instead. Zero Day Clothing has some excellent t-shirts and other clothing items for your hacker or security conscious friend, from celebrating Diffie-Hellman encryption to botnet fear to designing your own – there is something for everyone. We're especially a fan because the company supports a variety of causes, from net neutrality to free speech and LGBTQ + rights and fair access to knowledge and education.
Available from: Zero Day clothing
A Raspberry Pi 400 computer for handicrafts
The microcomputer manufacturer has a new product, the Raspberry Pi 400, a PC kit that is built into the keyboard and mouse. Connect it to a display and you can get started almost immediately. The device is more powerful than a Chromebook and allows you to create, develop, and tinker to your heart's content.
Price: $ 70
Available from: Raspberry Pi
Test your hacking skills with the card game Backdoors & Breaches
Backdoors & Breaches is a security-focused card game developed by Black Hills Infosec that will help you perform incident response exercises as you familiarize yourself with attack tactics, tools and techniques. This way you will learn more about how to react after a violation. Don't worry if you won't be able to play in person any time soon – you can still play virtually thanks to an active Discord channel.
Available from: Shopify