7 Christmas Gifts for Your Security-Conscious Family and Friends
This Christmas, you shouldn’t plump for socks, chocolates, or DVDs. Don’t wait around for Black Friday bargains either. Get something that will prove useful!
Maybe you know someone you’d like to encourage to be more security-conscious. Or perhaps a friend or family member is already concerned about their own privacy.
They’ve already got tin foil (albeit for the turkey, not to use as a hat), so what else should you get for them? We have a few suggestions.
1. No Place to Hide
Who doesn’t love unwrapping a weighty tome on Christmas morning?
We all know the story of Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower who leaked the extent to which the National Security Agency (NSA) is keeping tabs on citizens. These revelations were made in 2013 , and yet they remain relevant. The ramifications of PRISM persist, inciting continuous debate about mass surveillance.
Snowden’s disclosure is so important that he’s still a controversial figure .
But there’s still a lot to learn, and that’s where this book comes in. It’s written by Glenn Greenwald, who took an 11-day journey to Hong Kong to meet Snowden (who was then just an anonymous source) and report what he’d found.
It’s an exceptional piece of work: eye-opening, compulsive, and definitive. Greenwald doesn’t recount all the stuff you’ve read about before — this is the inside story, intricate and intimate. An essential gift for anyone worried about their own privacy .
2. RFID Wallet
Due to concerns over security, you can turn down the offer of contactless payment on debit and credit cards. Nonetheless, fewer people are using their PINs anymore.
Yes, contactless is easy . Yes, there’s a daily price limit which caps spending this way. No, these don’t make you feel any better if you’re victim to fraud.
Criminals can take payment from contactless cards . Indeed, warnings are occasionally issued on social media about thieves preying on users of packed trains and the subway. You can do something about it, however. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) wallets block the wireless signals interacting between a card terminal and the card.
They appear to be a stocking filler, but come with various price tags. Even cheap ones should work, although simple aluminium sleeves don’t look impressive under the Christmas tree.
Instead, go for a middle-of-the-range option. Aim to spend between $15 and $30. These are typically sturdy items that’ll hold numerous cards but won’t break the bank.
3. SpotCam Sense Camera
This has a high-end price point, but is certainly worth it.
Internet Protocol (IP) Cameras are all about peace of mind . They can be used for security reasons or as baby monitors. These are digital video recording devices that generally connect to your smartphone or device to offer 24/7 surveillance. Some allow you extra remote control and will further track smart home accessories.
Basically, it’s CCTV for a home or private workplace.
We were particularly impressed with the SpotCam Sense Pro :
“Easy to set up on mobile, the SpotCam Sense Pro is the useful smart home security camera solution, complete with two-way audio, full HD streaming, and SSL encryption.”
Cheaper alternatives are available, so you need to ask yourself which is worth its RRP. Consider what the recipient will want: Where will they place the camera ? What scope will be needed? Does it need to be waterproof?
The essential things to look out for are: whether it works in the dark, what resolution the video is recorded and streamed at, and if it has audio capabilities.
4. WALI Dummy CCTV
Not too sure whether your family member of friend will like a camera keeping score of proceedings all the time? Opt for a fake CCTV system instead!
Dummy cameras are a deterrent to your average criminal. They won’t be keen to have their mugshots taken. Even if some suspect they’re fake, they’ll have to risk getting up close to check it out for sure.
Bulkier fake CCTV units can stick out like a sore thumb, but smaller dome-shaped facsimiles do the job brilliantly.
You can typically rely on WALI’s products, and this four-pack of dummy cameras is a substantial present that’s a surprisingly good price. They’ll certainly come in handy around most homes, and because they’ve got a flashing LED, they look real.
As an added stocking filler, we suggest batteries!
5. Litom Solar Lights
Solar lights are fantastic : not only are you utilizing the sun’s power but you’re also improving safety and security. They come in a vast array of variations, and are available everywhere, but for Christmas, we recommend a motion detector solar light.
These simply light up an area whenever something moves within its radius. Intruders are instantly spotlighted, and homeowners are alerted that there’s someone on their property. If whoever you’re buying for has a pond or swimming pool, lights are vital to make sure no one has an accident at night.
Litom’s a solid make. These are deceptively small considering the amount of light they give off. They’re cheap too, but if the recipient places them strategically at a doorway or garage, effective enough to deter would-be criminals.
They do have a range of 26 feet, however, so we advise against installing them anywhere near a busy walkway.
Everybody needs a shredder. No, more than that — everybody needs a cross-cut shredder.
Common shredders were fine back in the 1980s, but these days? Useless. They’re about as secure as leaving the keys in your car door. That’s because fraudsters aren’t above piecing together strips of important documents: it might take time, but the money they can make from your personal details outweighs that.
Cross-cut shredders, however, cut pieces diagonally, rendering anything you put in virtually unreadable.
In this age of hacking and ransomware, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a good old shredder. Because plenty of important things need cutting up .
Loads are available, so what should you look out for? It depends on your price range, but a decent one will be at least $40. AmazonBasics models are okay, but would such a gift tell people you’re skimping a bit? Mind you, you can spend $100 on an AmazonBasics one, so let’s not belittle the brand.
Credit card slots are ideal, but some further chop up CDs — more infrequently used, of course, but this is a present to last! Typically, the finer a shredder will cut, the better. Also consider measurements: will this be used in a workplace environment or be kept at home, and how does this affect the size you’re considering?
7. VPN Router
This could be the priciest item on the list, so you’ll want to save it for someone especially dear to you, or as a family gift. But as ever, it depends on which model you go for.
It’ll also require a lot of research. Virtual private networks (VPN) afford a solid level of security by encrypting data sent between a computer and a website. Anyone who can intercept details sent on that connection cannot read it anyway. There are many VPN services available , including for free via the Opera browser .
VPN routers give a whole household this level of security . No need for individual installation on each device. Anything connecting to this router will use encryption. The receiver just needs to set it up and then everyone can browse the internet, hassle-free… in theory.
High-end models should offer more advantages like being able to turn off the VPN to access sites that won’t work with it on. Some additionally have ad-blockers, parental controls, and usage records.
Shop around. Roqos is a dependable brand, and yet cheaper makes might also catch your eye. Shopping for routers should be a rare occurrence, so ask yourself whether it’s worth spending a bit more to achieve some longevity. And of course, are the recipients worth it? (Don’t answer that.)
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
It’s always the right time to be thinking about security. Cybercriminals don’t take the festive season off, and neither should you.
Saying that, buying one of the gifts suggested above affords the receiver a bit of time to relax — untroubled by thoughts of hackers, burglars, and miscellaneous criminals. You can probably let Santa in, but all other intruders should be left out.
Which other items are great gifts for anyone worried about privacy? What’s the worst security threat facing us as we head into the New Year? And how are you making sure you and your family will be enjoying the Christmas period? Tell us in the comments section below!