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How to: Privacy (Hardware)

Privacy Smivacy…

I’m a die hard privacy advocate, and I’m also a millennial, which means I knew life before the internet and well after. Admittedly, when I was just a kid playing around with dial-up and AOL, I wasn’t concerned with “privacy issues” nor was anyone else for that matter. But here we are in these modern internet times where Privacy is indeed a serious issue for a lot of cyber-surfers and for good reason.

Below are some of my top Privacy hardware-gadgets that SUPPLEMENT good internet surfing practices, they alone do not guarantee privacy because for one these are just hardware solutions and two there’s a WHOLE HEAP of software stuffs that need to be considered if you really want to drop off the grid. They are in no particular order, but they do help when implemented properly and also bring awareness to some of the things privacy advocates need to think about when trying to gain control of the data packets exiting and entering their devices.

Privacy Screen Filters

You’ve probably seen users with these at coffee shops or airports. They are not usually expensive although some companies conjure up “features” to justify selling at a premium price. Essentially they all do the same thing. Block your screen from prying eyes or shoulder surfing. These work great for blocking view at a distance and at certain angles but they are made to be viewed head on by the owner, so someone directly behind you may still be able to see your screen. If you’re in a public place and position yourself against a back wall or someplace where nobody can be physically behind you, you’re good to go. They also make these for cell phones as well. Check out this link for a list of some screen filters —> Screen Filters

Webcam Covers

These are less obvious but arguably more crucial than screen filters. These are little hardware gizmos that attach to your laptop and physically block your cameras lens. Just an FYI, laptop cameras can be hacked to remotely spy on you. This is a fact. Bad Hackers have many avenues to hack a computer and can do many types of malicious things if they target you, however, one thing they can’t do remotely (if you have one of these) is use your camera to spy on you. Camera shields have a physical switch or cover that can be removed when you want to use your camera to Skype or video chat, but once you’re done place the cover back and you’re good to go. These are dirt cheap and you can get packs of them for usually less than $10. I recommend these here —-> Webcam Covers I have these on all my current devices with built-in cameras.

Mic Lock (Blockers)

These plug into your computers’ aux port for one reason only. To make your device think you have a mic plugged in and default to it for picking up audio. Bad Hackers can pick up audio from your device and listen in on private conversations and/or record audio in the room. These devices transmit silence to the computer, so any would be hacker would not be able to pick up any sound. These also work for cell phones as well when not in use. You just have to remember to remove it when you actually want to use a mic (or headphones) and place it back when you’re done. You can get this for a relatively small price and I recommend getting enough to place on any computer or cell phone in your home that has an aux or mic port. Mic Lock is a great option here —-> Mic Lock



Yubikey

The Yubikey is a combination of a hardware and software device that should definitely get a mention on this list. The Yubikey is a hardware token which can be used to add another layer of security to all types of accounts whether they be computer accounts, social media accounts, bank accounts, etc. There are actually many types of vendors which provide a multi-factor or two-factor authentication solution such as this but I prefer the Yubikey for its simplicity and it’s growing adaptability. At the time of this writing, it can be used to help secure Facebook, Twitter, Google and many other password manager accounts from black hats who may found a way to nab your password. The set-up instructions for these is ridiculously easy and once you get yours, you can get all the setup information for organizations that support the Yubikey here. To get your very own Yubikey, try this link here.

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