7 Christmas Gifts for Your Security-Conscious Family and Friends
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This Christmas, you shouldn’t plump for socks, chocolates, or DVDs. Don’t wait around for Black Friday bargains 7 Ways to Protect Yourself and Not Get Scammed on Black Friday 7 Ways to Protect Yourself and Not Get Scammed on Black Friday With Black Friday swiftly followed by Cyber Monday, then Christmas, you're the perfect target for scammers. Use these simple, but effective tips to protect yourself from scams and online fraud. Read More 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?

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State Buy Now At Amazon $2.70

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 What Is PRISM? Everything You Need to Know What Is PRISM? Everything You Need to Know The National Security Agency in the US has access to whatever data you're storing with US service providers like Google Microsoft, Yahoo, and Facebook. They're also likely monitoring most of the traffic flowing across the... Read More , and yet they remain relevant. The ramifications of PRISM Can You Escape Internet Surveillance Programs Like PRISM? Can You Escape Internet Surveillance Programs Like PRISM? Ever since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on PRISM, the NSA's no longer secret surveillance program, we know one thing with certainty: nothing that happens online can be considered private. Can you really escape the... Read More persist, inciting continuous debate about mass surveillance.

Snowden’s disclosure is so important that he’s still a controversial figure Hero or Villain? NSA Moderates Its Stance on Snowden Hero or Villain? NSA Moderates Its Stance on Snowden Whistleblower Edward Snowden and the NSA's John DeLong appeared on the schedule for a symposium. While there was no debate, it seems the NSA no longer paints Snowden as a traitor. What's changed? Read More .

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 Snowden's on Twitter, Here Are 7 More Privacy Advocates to Follow Snowden's on Twitter, Here Are 7 More Privacy Advocates to Follow Snowden is hardly the only privacy advocate on Twitter, or the world's leading authority on the subject. The social network has several prominent voices who care about user data and how to protect it. Read More .

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.

christmas gifts for security-conscious friends family
Image Credit: thomas_wiegold via Flickr

Yes, contactless is easy Are Contactless Payment Systems A Threat To Your Finances? Are Contactless Payment Systems A Threat To Your Finances? Contactless payments have become more popular, but are they secure? What threats surround this new financial fad? More importantly, should you sign up? Read More . 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 5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Contactless Payment Scams 5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Contactless Payment Scams Contactless payment fraud continues to rise. Figures from the U.K. show a 150 percent increase in just one year, with $9 million stolen last year. What can you do to avoid becoming a victim yourself? Read More . 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 What Are RFID-Blocking Wallets & Which Should You Buy? What Are RFID-Blocking Wallets & Which Should You Buy? If you knew that someone could read your credit cards, passport, and even driver's license without actually having to swipe them, would you take steps to guard against it? Read More block the wireless signals interacting between a card terminal and the card.

ROCO Minimalist Aluminum Slim Wallet RFID BLOCKING Money Clip - No.2 (Black) ROCO Minimalist Aluminum Slim Wallet RFID BLOCKING Money Clip - No.2 (Black) Buy Now At Amazon $14.95

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.

Aposonic SpotCam Sense - 1080P WiFi Home Security Cloud Camera with 24-Hour Free Cloud Continuous Recording (White) Aposonic SpotCam Sense - 1080P WiFi Home Security Cloud Camera with 24-Hour Free Cloud Continuous Recording (White) Buy Now At Amazon $139.00

Internet Protocol (IP) Cameras are all about peace of mind How to Make Your Wireless Security Cameras Untouchable to Hackers How to Make Your Wireless Security Cameras Untouchable to Hackers Over the past few months, stories about security vulnerabilities abound. Clearly this is not an acceptable state of affairs. To combat this, you should secure your security cameras. Let's find out how. Read More . They can be used for security reasons or as baby monitors. These are digital video recording devices that generally connect to your smartphone 5 Useful Things You Can Do With Your Phone Even When It's Miles Away 5 Useful Things You Can Do With Your Phone Even When It's Miles Away You can play with it all you want, just don't touch it. Your phone that is. Read More 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 6 Creative Uses for Wireless Surveillance Cameras in Your Home 6 Creative Uses for Wireless Surveillance Cameras in Your Home Security cameras are useful for more than just surveillance. With a dash of creativity and elbow grease, you can kick your quality of life up a notch with these atypical ideas for your security cameras. Read More or private workplace.

We were particularly impressed with the SpotCam Sense Pro SpotCam Sense Pro Review (and Giveaway) SpotCam Sense Pro Review (and Giveaway) Unlike its competitors, the SpotCam Sense offers a full days worth of cloud storage, for free, forever. Easy to set up, it offers remote viewing, motion and scheduled recording, and even some smart home features. Read More :

“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 5 Dangers to Consider When Pointing Your Home Security Cameras 5 Dangers to Consider When Pointing Your Home Security Cameras It is important to carefully consider where you position your cameras, and what parts of your home you point them at. Keeping things secure is important, but so is maintaining your privacy. Read More ? 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!

WALI Dummy Fake Security CCTV Dome Camera with Flashing Red LED Light With Warning Security Alert Sticker Decals (SD-4), 4 Packs, Black WALI Dummy Fake Security CCTV Dome Camera with Flashing Red LED Light With Warning Security Alert Sticker Decals (SD-4), 4 Packs, Black Buy Now At Amazon $14.99

Dummy cameras are a deterrent Going on Vacation? 7 Ways to Secure Your Home for Under $30 Going on Vacation? 7 Ways to Secure Your Home for Under $30 Buying smart tech can be costly business, but if you're going on vacation and want to keep as much cash as possible as spending money, you'll need some budget home security solutions. Read More 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 10 Reasons You Should Use Solar Lights Around Your Home 10 Reasons You Should Use Solar Lights Around Your Home You don't need fancy panels to take advantage of solar energy: small solar lanterns with tiny solar panels attached are essential for any household. Here's why. Read More : not only are you utilizing the sun’s power 12 Solar-Powered Products to Help You Reduce Your Power Bill 12 Solar-Powered Products to Help You Reduce Your Power Bill These 12 solar powered devices for home and personal use will help reduce your power bill and your reliance on fossil fuels, ever so slightly. Read More 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 24 LED Solar Lights Outdoor, 3 Optional Modes Wireless Motion Sensor Light with 270° Wide Angle, IP65 Waterproof, Easy-to-install Security Lights for Front Door, Yard, Garage, Deck, Porch LITOM 24 LED Solar Lights Outdoor, 3 Optional Modes Wireless Motion Sensor Light with 270° Wide Angle, IP65 Waterproof, Easy-to-install Security Lights for Front Door, Yard, Garage, Deck, Porch Buy Now At Amazon $16.99

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 How You Can Have Outdoor Lighting Without Any Wiring Required How You Can Have Outdoor Lighting Without Any Wiring Required Dealing with wiring for outdoor lighting can be an enormous headache, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process. Thankfully, there are great wireless outdoor lighting solutions to fit any budget or design. Read More 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.

6. Shredder

Everybody needs a shredder. No, more than that — everybody needs a cross-cut shredder.

Swingline Paper Shredder, Junk Mail, 12 Sheet Capacity, Super Cross-Cut, 1 User, Personal Duo, Black (1757394) Swingline Paper Shredder, Junk Mail, 12 Sheet Capacity, Super Cross-Cut, 1 User, Personal Duo, Black (1757394) Buy Now At Amazon $69.30

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 Here Are 6 Pieces of Paper You Should Always Shred Here Are 6 Pieces of Paper You Should Always Shred We know that important documents must be shredded, but complacency is easy: 'it doesn't really matter.' But should you go to extremes and destroy all records? Which documents do you really need to shred? Read More .

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.

christmas gifts for security-conscious friends family
Image Credit: solarnu via Flickr

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 Buying A Paper Shredder For Your Home Office Buying A Paper Shredder For Your Home Office Read More 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.

Roqos Core VPN Router - Next Generation Firewall, Intrusion Prevention, Parental Controls, WiFi - Protect Your Kids, Devices from Malware, Hackers, Bad Sites - Replace Your Router Plug Into It Roqos Core VPN Router - Next Generation Firewall, Intrusion Prevention, Parental Controls, WiFi - Protect Your Kids, Devices from Malware, Hackers, Bad Sites - Replace Your Router Plug Into It Buy Now At Amazon $299.00

It’ll also require a lot of research. Virtual private networks (VPN) What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up What A VPN Tunnel Is & How To Set One Up Read More 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 The Best VPN Services The Best VPN Services We've compiled a list of what we consider to be the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) service providers, grouped by premium, free, and torrent-friendly. Read More , including for free via the Opera browser What Is the Most Secure Mainstream Browser? What Is the Most Secure Mainstream Browser? The battle for the best desktop browser will never be settled. But which is the most secure? All boast having superior protection -- but in 2017, which is the browser of choice for the security-... Read More .

VPN routers give a whole household this level of security 4 Reasons to Always Use a VPN When You're Online 4 Reasons to Always Use a VPN When You're Online VPNs (virtual private networks) are becoming more popular. It's not always clear exactly why you should be using one though. Here's why you should use one whenever you go online. Read More . 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 Which VPNs Still Work With Netflix? Which VPNs Still Work With Netflix? Netflix is trying to stop people accessing its service through VPNs, but a handful of VPNs are managing to stay one step ahead of the streaming giant. Read on to find out which ones... Read More 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.

christmas gifts for security-conscious friends family
Image Credit: Kevin Dooley via Flickr

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!

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  1. Micheal Wick
    December 13, 2017 at 6:14 am

    A VPN router is a great idea. FYI, ExpressVPN has a deal where if you refer a friend you both get 30 days free. Totes worth it.

    • biskit911
      December 29, 2017 at 1:57 am

      yes would like to know how you could fix a smarties that has vpn as I as apn stored that can't be deleted to insure & protect security