Give the gift of security

Take the opportunity in this era of election tampering, billion-credential Yahoo hacks, and an unprecedented number of home burglaries, to give a gift that actually matters and helps improve family and friends’ well-being. Here are 8 ideas to get you started:

1. Camera Covers

Lego Storm Trooper Camera Cover from HSHSapparel on Etsy ($20)

There’s a reason many tech specialists have post-it notes over the cameras on their laptops and phones. It’s because you just don’t know who’s hacked your device’s camera and is watching you in your most private moments. Let your friends and family be paranoid in style. I like WebCamera Cover’s simple and functional solution (from $5 on Amazon). But it’s hard to go past the less functional, but frankly spectacular, Lego Storm Trooper Camera Cover from HSHSapparel on Etsy (from $20).

2. Bluetooth Trackers

Tile Bluetooth Tracking devices: www.thetileapp.com (from ~$25)

I’m not an investor in Tile, but as I’ve given Tiles as a gift so often, I often wished I was. Available from $25 on Amazon, you can put Tile on your keys, in your wallet, even in your luggage, and then see where all your items are on their mobile app. I have recovered my forgotten wallet from numerous coffee shops thanks to my Tile. I guess you could attach to your pets. I’ve certainly considered supergluing one to my daughter. Other options include Luxsure ($38 on Amazon), and Geckone’s Key Finder ($10 on Amazon).

3. Password Manager

A good password manager is a software application (sometimes there is hardware too) that helps users generate random, unique login passwords, and store them in an encrypted vault. There are many good options out there, but take a look at LastPass (for $12/ year) or Dashlane ($20/year).

4. Desktop Shredder

Aurora AS420C Desktop Shredder: Available on Amazon (~$20)

These things are totally addictive. Once you start shredding, you can’t stop. Ideally get a cross-cut shredder (produces the type of confetti that is practically impossible to recompile). I have an Aurora desktop unit at home ($20 on Amazon). Doesn’t look like much, but I can’t believe it’s still going after all the abuse we’ve shown it over the last 3 years.

5. Backups

For so many reasons, system backups are essential. Imagine losing all your contacts, emails, and documents. Don’t think you are protected just by sticking everything in Dropbox: ransomware can interfere with your files in the cloud too. Old timers backup onto disconnected, offline hard drives — and there are so many good options — just make sure you buy one with enough storage. It’s worth looking at the Seagate Expansion — 4TB for $121 or if you don’t need that much, maybe the WD 2TB Black My Passport will do the trick ($84). Or you can embrace any one of a number of online backup services: iDrive or CrashPlan (from $60/ year) to name a few.

6. Identity Theft Insurance

If you are the victim of identity theft, identity theft insurance can be helpful. Not only can insurance providers monitor your personal information to detect illegal trading and selling, but if your identity is compromised, they will cover the costs of recovering your identity and repairing your credit. As with any insurance product, make sure you read the fine print before signing up. There are loads of providers in the space including IdentityGuard (from $240/year), IdentityForce (~$200/year), and LifeLock (from USD$95/year).

7. Smart Home Security Systems

Canary All-In-One Home Security System: www.canary.is

Forget the expensive, wired-in alarm cameras and monitoring systems (they aren’t an option anyway if your recipient is in rented or student accommodation). At AlphaPrime, we’ve invested in smart-sensor company Canary so naturally we love their all-in-one indoor security solution that detects movement and also comes with HD night vision camera; temperature, humidity and air monitoring; and a loud security siren you can use to scare off intruders. Not to mention that it learns your habits to ensure your mobile alerts are actually worth alerting. No installation necessary; starts at $169. I should also mention CanaryFlex: their new weatherproof HD security camera which is pretty impressive too: starts at $200.

8. Donate to Victims of Human Trafficking (any amount)

At any given time, a staggering 2.4 million people are slaves in human trafficking operations — especially women and children. The UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons works to provide care, trauma treatment and recovery options for victims in need. Donate any amount and support those who have had their personal safety and security utterly violated.