This discreet VPN connects to your device to establish a secure connection and keep your data safe!

Since most of our workdays take place online, the use of VPNs for secure web surfing has steadily risen in popularity. Some of us may use VPNs to freely access the internet via a secure connection and to ensure that our data is encrypted and inaccessible by cyber intruders. They come in handy when working on hush-hush jobs such as upcoming campaigns or classified projects. Adding his VPN design to the mix, Ian Redcay conceptualized Black, a virtual private network and hardware solution for data protection and unrestricted internet access for the everyday user.

Traditionally, VPNs have operated as online services or expensive hardware systems bought by companies to protect their data, while remaining mostly unavailable to the average consumer. To create a more accessible solution for consumers who’d like to freely interact with the web through an established secure connection, Redcay designed Black. All but for the transparent compartment that encases Black’s internal PCB, the portable VPN device dons a jet black exterior. The subtle and contrasting combination of transparency and opacity expresses Black’s dual purpose of data encryption and open internet access.

While Black’s exterior might be a focal point in and of itself, the hardware’s exterior works with its internal function to merge aesthetics with practicality. Once a user connects to Black through their personal device, whether a laptop or smartphone, then integrated VPN processing encrypts the user’s data while managing network access to protect the user’s anonymity. In addition to Black’s main function of data encryption, features such as silent air vents and LED indicators further drive home Black’s commitment to obscurity. Through minimal branding and understated design elements, Redcay conceptualized a VPN device that is as inconspicuous and guarded in appearance as it is slick and efficient in function.

Designer: Ian Redcay

Black’s exposed PCB allows users to witness the internal processes within VPN hardware.

Black was inspired by classic and contemporary tech design solutions.

Black is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet stealthy enough to protect your data from anywhere.

Air vents are located above and beneath the PCB to allow cold air to passively cool components during extended use.

“The exposed internal circuit board provides visual context to data encryption as it occurs within the device through a winding array of circuits and internal components,” remarks Redcay.

Maintaining its cohesive brand identity, everything from Black’s purpose to its packaging remains sleek in obscurity and aesthetic.

The small nature of Black provides it with a portability feature that lets you bring data protection anywhere you go.

On the overall look of Black, Redcay says, “Black’s branding is minimal at most; a small monogram that is hardly discernible from afar, unifying the identity of the brand and function of the device through a consistent visual language.”

Kaspersky’s 2021 calendar comes with a mini cyber-history lesson that coincides with each numerical month!

What day is it again? After a year like 2020, I know I’m not the only one who needs the reminder. For that reason alone, 2021 marks the first year I bought a physical calendar. Depending on your style, calendars can bring more than just daily reminders– they provide a fun way of setting the tone for each year. The team at Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity company based in Russia, in collaboration with a handful of designers and artists recently debuted their calendar for 2021 and with it, they’re passing down their expertise in handling cyber threats.

Kaspersky is a company known for its deep threat intelligence and cybersecurity insight, protecting businesses, consumers, and government agencies with innovative security solutions. Their 2021 calendar basks in this cybersecurity insight, providing fun facts that coincide with each numerical month for you to read as a new month begins. For example, January, the first month of the year, introduces the story of the first-ever computer virus. Originating in Pakistan, from two brothers’ quest to protect their medical software from producing illegal copies, the first computer virus was dubbed, “The Brain.” Once the virus was written by the brothers, who had no malicious intent, it spread to the United Kingdom and the United States through transference by infected floppy disks.

September, the ninth month of the year, is represented by the story of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony getting recorded on a CD-ROM. Kaspersky’s calendar reads, “In 1980, Sony and Philips were beginning to negotiate a single industry standard for the new compact disc technology. Sony’s vice-president, Norio Ohga, suggested that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony would…fit onto a CD in its entirety.” In addition to reminding us of the days of the week, and the month of the year, Kaspersky’s calendar brings us closer to moments of cyber-history that largely remain untold, bringing us closer to the cyber world one day at a time. Scroll below to read more!

Designer: Kaspersky

Each month of Kapersky’s calendar offers a historical fact relating to the cyberworld.

“The first spread computer virus was [called] the ‘Brain.'”

“HTTP works with three-digit status codes. Status 404 is an answer to a client’s request, signifying that the page is not found. We only see the status ‘404’ because for a normal webpage, the status is 200 OK. We don’t see [‘200 OK’] because the server proceeds to send the contents of the page.”

“Only 10% of the world’s currency exists physically, the rest is a mere set of zeroes and ones. That percentage [is] lowering swiftly because of online payments and plastic cards.”

“In 1980…Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony …[was] fit onto a CD in its entirety. That was the final argument about CD’s volume.”

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