Holiday Tech Gift Ideas

Holiday Tech Gift Ideas For the Technology Geek

Holiday Tech Gadgets for Power Grid Outage Survival

Enigma Forensics CEO & President Lee Neubecker along with Associate Sammy Macrito discuss holiday gift ideas for the tehnology geek on your list. Recently, California has been experiencing massive power grid outages and most people were not prepared because they simply didn’t think about what happens when you loose power. Techno gadgets will help you survive during a power grid outage. No matter how long it is! Tune is as our technology geeks, Lee and Sammy have some fun and share their favorite techno gadgets. These are great gift ideas for the technology geek on your holiday list.

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Technology Geek

The transcript of Holiday Gift Ideas follows:

Lee Neubecker: Hi, so today we’re going to talk a little bit about some of those techno gadgets that you might want to consider buying your loved one who might be concerned about losing power and not having their techno gadgets. So today I’ve got Sammy Macrito on with me, and we’re going to talk about some of those items that you can pick up. Many of them are available for under a $100 or even less online. We’ll have a link on our page that shows items if you’re interested in buying them. So the first one we have here is this flashlight which is a combination, it’s flashlight that you can crank up, you can turn on the light, and it’s powered both by manual energy, so you can get it powered up. It’s got a solar cell, and then it also has a convenient USB charging port so you can, if you had to, you could hand crank and recharge your tablet or smart phone to give you power if you’re in the darkness for a long period of time. And one of the most important things about it is that it’s got a FM/AM band on it, so if there were an emergency or outage you’d be able to get news and find out where resources are.

Sammy Macrito: Right, and something I feel is so important about this one is having the functionality of being able to crank it, as well as the solar, because let’s say the power grid is out, you can leave this outside all day with a phone next to it and get a charged phone at the end of the night.

Lee Neubecker: Or you can crank it all night. Or you can crank it all night.

Lee Neubecker: So we’ve got, speaking of solar, there’s a real neat gadget that if you wanted to make sure that you could power your laptop, this battery power system by Voltaic produces 20 watts, which is enough to charge some of the newer laptops, and there’s a cell that they, a battery pack they sell with this that you can charge up, which can really charge a good number of devices. This can even be strapped, you can tie it to your back when you’re hiking, and pick up…

Sammy Macrito: Exactly, yeah. And it’s super important to have one of these, especially if you have more than just a phone that you’re trying to recover, because you can basically just go with this solo thing and be able to charge not only your laptop, but also your phones. It’s always better to have more wattage, yeah.

Lee Neubecker: Now, those are great devices for the short term, but if the power is out for a while you’re going to want some other things. One of the things that most people are going to want is, they’re going to want the ability to start a fire, to cook food, to sterilize water, and whatnot. This device here is a USB chargeable electric lighter. I thought I hit it the wrong way. It produces an arc flame which is just electricity. And so using the battery cell, the radio, you could recharge it and you basically have unlimited abilities to start fires, and you don’t need matches. It can be, it makes a great torture device too.

Sammy Macrito: Yeah, and it’s windproof.

Lee Neubecker: Yeah, so that’s one, nice device. This is another device that’s pretty handy. It’s a flashlight. It can also be used for signaling. So if you’re trying to get help, it might be useful to be able to do that. It’s got a solar cell here. It also has this handy metal tip that can be used to shatter a car windshield, so it’s not a bad thing to keep hanging around in your glove box.

Sammy Macrito: Yeah, absolutely. And one thing that this is, can be commonly used for, you might ask, why would you want to break your car windshield? Let’s say you went off the road and are now in water, sinking with your car.

Lee Neubecker: Sinking, yup.

Sammy Macrito: You can pull this out of your glove box and be safe.

Lee Neubecker: It’s got some other things too, it’s got a magnetic tip so you can magnetize a paper clip if you needed to, to float it on water and get your direction to the North Pole. It’s also got a handy clip and it’s got a siren so if wildlife is approaching you, that might be enough to scare wildlife off, or an attacker. And this tip too, you could also use it to whack at something if it’s coming towards you.

Sammy Macrito: Absolutely.

Lee Neubecker: Pretty handy device. One of the most important things you probably need if you’re going to survive a long term power outage would be access to water and ability to have purified water. This device here is Portable Aqua Pure, it’s electrolytic water purifier. And how it works is you’re able to hook up hoses to pump water from one source into another source, so you need to have two water bottles with it ideally. But it has a solar cell on it and you add salt to it, and the salt gets converted into chlorine, so you can purify water and get rid of biohazards. So very handy. Pretty handy device.

Sammy Macrito: Awesome.

Lee Neubecker: And again, with your flashlight, or with your radio, you can recharge it and with very little salt you have virtually unlimited ability to purify water for quite a long time.

Sammy Macrito: And what do you do in the case that you don’t have power? How can you purify water without the ability to make fire, without the ability to use that device?

Lee Neubecker: That’s a good question, so if you have a clear bottle like this one, you can actually scoop water up out of a river or stream. Now you can’t do this with salt water. The sun has the ability to sterilize water biohazards, it’s not going to get rid of contaminants, chemical contaminants, but it could purify water. So having clear bottles, laying them out in the sun for a few hours, the sun will purify the water, so that’s another thing that could be useful. Well great, we hope these tech ideas are good last minute shopping gift items for your nerds at home. Talk to you soon.

Sammy Macrito: Thank you.

Holiday Tech Gift for Geeks: links associated with the gifts discussed.

Related Posts about Tech Gadgets & Power Outage Survival

Cyber Readiness: Power Grid Outages

Are you ready for a power outage? Check out this video for Cyber Readiness and Power Outages tips.

Enigma Forensics CEO & President, Lee Neubecker and Geary Sikich, President of Logical Management Systems, tackle the strategies you need to know to prepare for a cyber attack. Each describes in detail the importance of cyber readiness starting with power outages.

Be prepared for a cyber attack or power outage

The transcript of the video follows:

Lee Neubecker: Hi, I’m here today with Geary Sikich. Geary is the President of Logical Management Systems. Thank you, Geary, for being on the show.

Geary Sikich: Thank you, Lee.

Lee Neubecker: So we’re here to talk a little bit about cyber attacks on the power grid, and what impacts that could have on businesses and individuals alike. All right, Gary, is the future of war likely to be cyber, in your opinion?

Geary Sikich: Well Lee, I think there’s three aspects of that that we need to look at. There’s what I’ll call a strategic aspect, which in effect, we’re already in a cyber war in many respects. Nation states are using cyber in a lot of different ways. Not necessarily as disruptive as it could be, but it’s got the potential to expand. There’s then another level down from there which I’ll call operational, which is targeting specific locales and areas. And then, what I’ll call a tactical level where you’re targeting individual facilities to include even neighborhoods at this stage. And one of the things I think you’re going to see in the future is that there’s going to be more of a reliance on these disruptions because of the great impact they have on businesses as well as the general population.

Lee Neubecker: Yeah so, one of the things that I had lectured on before was some research that came out of Princeton University on a topic called MadIoT, which relates to manipulation of end user demand by attacking insecure Internet of Things, IoT, devices in homes and whatnot. And essentially, what the researchers found was that by taking over enough routers in homes, you could compromise Wi-Fi devices attached to high-wattage appliances like Internet-enabled microwaves, toasters, heaters, things like that that would draw a lot of current, air conditioning systems and that by attacking adjacent neighborhoods, you could manipulate power demand in one neighborhood such that the power’s going off or down low, and then the adjacent neighborhood causing all these appliances to come on, which by only creating a small disturbance in balance of power, Kirchhoff’s law that dictates the flow of electricity could cause faults in lines as electricity moved from one neighborhood to another in spikes, and that that type of attack could effectively knock out parts of the grid. There are a lot of factors, obviously, that could knock out the grid, but what have you been advising your clients to do in advance of such an outage, to help them mitigate the risk and protect themselves?

Geary Sikich: One of the things we look at with that issue, and it’s a very big issue, and it ties into the areas I previously mentioned, the strategic, operational, and tactical, is to begin to look at how you can be resilient as an organization. So, I’ll give you an example. A colleague who was at a firm in Southern Illinois, they were about to move to a larger building. And one of the things he was charged with was developing the plans and then getting the move set up. They didn’t have a generator, and I highly recommended to him that they get a generator. They decided to do it, and to their benefit, once installed and once they got it in the building, they had a localized power outage which, for them, was a non-event so to speak because the generator immediately kicked on. They didn’t lose any power. As a commodities trading firm, they’re very dependent on the ability to communicate electronically for trade. So when we got to analyzing things, I asked, “What did you think?” and he said, “Well, it cost “probably a quarter of a million.” And then I asked the second question, which I think was more relevant and important as he understood it, “What was the cost in lost trades, if you’d have not “had the generator?” He said, “About $2 billion.” So the immediate impact on these things is that organizations really need to think about how can they secure a power supply for themselves so that they can effectively operate independently of the grid in times of a crisis?

Lee Neubecker: So an adversary of a financial services company could actually cause massive harm by targeting and causing a power disruption, knocking out the trading facilities–

GSL Yes. LN:Costing them billions of dollars.

Geary Sikich: Yes. And the interesting part about that is, that when you begin to look at it, it’s not just that immediate impact, it’s the cascading impact that goes throughout the entire system. So you knock out the trading aspect, you suddenly knock out the logistics of movement of products and services, and it cascades throughout the entire system if you will.

Lee Neubecker: So what do you see are the other downstream potential impacts to a prolonged outage?

Geary Sikich: Oh, prolonged outages are one of the concerns that a lot of organizations have. What do I do to keep my business in business if we’re faced with a long-term outage? Natural disasters have shown us that it can take up to and beyond a couple of years to recover. A lot of organizations literally could go out of business as a result of not being able to have the financial resources to weather a storm like that.

Lee Neubecker: Well, this has been great stuff. I really appreciate you coming on the show, Geary. Thanks a bunch.

Geary Sikich: Thank you, Lee, I appreciate it.

Neubecker Presents at Chicago Science Writers

How secure are consumer IoT devices?

Lee Neubecker, Enigma Forensics President & CEO, will present on the potential impact of vulnerable consumer IoT devices as it relates to the security of the U.S. Power Grid.

The event will take place at the Medill School of Journalism Chicago Newsroom, 303 East Upper Wacker Drive Suite 1600, Chicago, IL 60601.
Date: Thursday, January 10th, 2019, from 5:30PM – 7:00PM.

The Chicago Science Writers organization is composed of writers that report on more technical topics. The Chicago Science Writers group provides a forum for people in the Chicago area who communicate science to the public. It organizes professional development programs and social gatherings. CSW provides a point of contact to national science organizations and local science groups interested in connecting with science writers in the Chicago area.

The public may register for this event at the following link:

Top Ways to Protect Your Home from Cyber Attacks

Top 10 Ways to Secure your Home from Cyber Attack

  1. Make sure you have a firewall that blocks outsiders from getting into your home network
  2. Patch your computers and devices at least monthly
  3. Buy IoT devices from vendors that build in security by default
  4. Purchase IoT devices that auto-update or can easily be patched
  5. Don’t purchase computing devices that use default username = admin, password = static default password
  6. Consider carefully if you really need a WiFi enabled toilet (or other appliance)
  7. Segregate your IoT devices by putting them on the guest network that many routers offer
  8. Purchase devices from manufacturers that publish the firmware updates online with verifying hash value
  9. Don’t buy devices from manufacturers that lack https secure encryption on their own website
  10. Discard out dated IoT devices that do not have patch updates available

Top Online Resources for Securing your Home Against Cyber Attacks

USA Department of Homeland Security CISA on Securing your home network security

USA Department of the Navy on Securing your Home Against Cyber Attacks

WGN Cyber Security Chicago Conference 2018

WGN on Cyber Security Conference

WGN Cyber Security Chicago Conference 2018 Video Interview 

WGN News is running a midday news segment promoting the Cyber Security Chicago Conference happening this Wednesday and Thursday (September 26th & 27th, 2018) at the McCormick Convention Center.  Neubecker will be sharing a preview of the featured presentation he is giving this Wednesday at the Conference on IoT security.

Tune in tomorrow for the 11AM – 12PM live broadcast.

More details on the conference available at

Read More about Cyber Security Expert Lee Neubecker

Neubecker also is the founder of IT Security Blog Before starting Great Lakes Forensics, Neubecker had served as CISO for HaystackID and following the acquisition of Envision Discovery and Inspired Review by HaystackID, Neubecker was promoted to serve as CIO over the combined entities. Neubecker was named one of the top Global Computer Forensics and Cyber security experts by Who’s who Legal in 2019 and many years prior to that.