Privacy & Security Gift Guide

A recent forum post started a conversation about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on the privacy related goods and services that we use. This launched a series of messages asking for recommendations, and the following post contains my suggested items as gifts for others (or yourself). Please note that while some of these are affiliate links, I use the following products constantly.

VPN: Private Internet Access (PIA): This is by far the most important item on the list. If you are not using a VPN to protect your internet traffic, please consider doing so. If you have people in your life that have contemplated using a VPN, this is a great gift. If you would like to read why I choose PIA as my primary VPN, go here:

Silent Pocket Faraday Bag: Signal-blocking bags are not all created equal. I have tested many that did not work at all. The Silent Pocket is a premium option that has worked 100% of the time for me. It also has a magnetic enclosure to prevent those embarrassing velcro releases that get attention from anyone nearby.
Yubikey: I always prefer a hardware-based two-factor authentication (2FA) option over a text message or software token. These tiny devices require participating services to verify that the USB device is present before access to the online account can be granted. My email and financial services all require my Yubikey be pressed before I can log into my accounts. You can also use these for GMail, KeePassXC, and many other options. 

Onlykey: If the Yubikey is not enough for you, consider the Onlykey. It replicates the basic functions of the Yubikey, but adds additional memory slots for lengthy passwords and an internal password manager. Onlykey maintains a great FAQ here:

Microphone Lock: This $6 gadget (or $20 5-pack) can be fun, quirky, and unique. It also provides a legitimate value to privacy enthusiasts. It enables the external microphone option on a phone or computer, and then blocks it. If you encounter any malicious software that attempts to listen to you through your microphone, this device prohibits the action.
SanDisk UltraFit Flash Drives: You can never have enough USB drives. I prefer these fast and small devices because they are affordable and reliable. Make sure you have backups of your KeePassXC password databases (You did create a password vault, correct?) and any other valuable data, encrypted on USB devices. These also work great for bootable Linux systems as described in my OSINT book.

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