Securing your computer and phone are something that is increasingly important, especially in light of all of the stories about privacy intrusions we've been discussing the past few months. For the most part, the average person has tended to rely on software-based security offerings, rather than hardware. While company may invest in hardware solutions, that's always seemed to be a bit too much for the average consumer. However, perhaps that's changing. This week's awesome stuff
covers three crowdfunding campaigns, looking to build different types of secure hardware for the mass market.
- First up, we've got the amusingly named, Don't Snoop Me Bro (or DMSB for short). It's a VPN in a box. You hook it up to your network and turn the key (literally, it has a physical key) and it turns on a VPN tunnel via a VPN service routing your data through another country. These guys sent me a prototype to check out, and it looks interesting (though won't work with my network setup). They're still deciding what VPN service provider it will use, and it seems like that's something that could make a difference in terms of overall usefulness. Of course, you can already pay for a VPN service that just runs on your computer (I've got a couple), but the DSMB guys properly note that those aren't always the most user friendly and they only secure the one device, rather than the entire network (of course, they also work outside of your home/office). Still, if you're looking to VPN tunnel your home network, this is an interesting project to check out:
The project is seeking $65,000 and has only raised around $5,000 with less than a month to go. Even though it's an IndieGoGo project, they chose the Kickstarter-like option of only getting the funds if it reaches the goal, so it needs to reach that target to get funded. There's still plenty of time, though, so go check it out.
- Another project with a great name is the Tuit mobile security ring. With all the talk of Apple trying to make security easier via their fingerprint ID reader, lots of people have pointed out that it's dangerous to have a security token that can't ever be changed -- such as your fingerprint. Of course, plenty of people like the general ease of use of the fingerprint reader over a pin or password. The tuit project seems to be an interesting attempt to offer a better solution overall, creating a ring that uses NFC (near field communication) to unlock your (Android only, it appears, though there are stretch goals for Windows) phone just by touching it with the ring on your hand. In other words, the theory is that if you're holding your phone, it'll unlock automatically, but no one else can do that, unless they take your ring or hold your hand up to it. It's obviously not perfect security since someone could get the ring in some way, but it does seem like a nice idea in terms of good convenience for the user (since many people don't use any lock screen at all because it's too inconvenient) while still creating some security, especially if the phone is taken from you. Also, as they note, you can still use a password to lock the screen and make it much more complex, since you won't have to type it in so often.
These guys have a big hill to climb, as their goal is $100,000 and they've still raised less than $10,000 with about two and a half weeks to go. Not sure if people just aren't that interested, or if they haven't been able to get enough attention for the project.
- Finally, we've got the not so wonderfully named Qi4BOX, which is a USB key that encrypts all your local documents and documents in your Dropbox account. I'd imagine it's really only useful for those who are big time Dropbox users, but it's an interesting approach as a way to try to make the documents you put on Dropbox even more secure, without making it more user-unfriendly.
As with all the projects this week, this one still has a ways to go, with about three weeks left. The folks behind it are seeking $30,000 Canadian, but are still only about a quarter of the way there. Perhaps the market for securing Dropbox documents isn't that big.
That's it for this week... stay secure.