Spark

YouTube series pairs beauty tutorials with cybersecurity tips

The logic behind a YouTube channel that humorously pairs beauty and online security.

"Even trolls need a tan and botox"

Addie Wagenknecht's YouTube channel humorously pairs beauty and online security. (YouTube/AddieW)
Listen10:25

When we think of "self-care," what comes to mind? Healthy eating? A day at the spa? Beauty rituals? How about cybersecurity skills?

Addie Wagenknecht is an American artist and tech researcher living in New York City and Austria. In her YouTube series, "Opsec and Beauty," she pairs beauty tutorials with lessons on cybersecurity.

Titles of Wagenknecht's lessons include: "Dry shampoo review Herbal Essence and blocking Chad from calling," "Garnier hydra bomb sheet mask review, ie screen locking 101," and "korean sheet masks and password management for pore refining wins."

Artist Addie Wagenknecht (Submitted by Addie Wagenknecht)

Wagenknecht's beauty-slash-cybersecurity tutorials are an unexpected pairing, however, she says that beauty vlogging is actually a fitting medium. "For me, beauty is connected to cybersecurity," Wagenknecht  told Spark host Nora Young. "When we think of beauty we think of things like face masks, but there's a much longer history and trajectory of beauty being interlaced with things like the military, for example."

Wagenknecht hopes her unconventional hybrid lessons will reach more viewers. "People who would watch beauty vlogging videos might not necessarily watch crypto videos, and people who watch crypto videos might not necessarily watch beauty videos, so for me that was a logical thing to create."

Wagenknecht says her series is aimed at women – especially trans women and women of colour – because they are more susceptible to violence, abuse, online harassment and cyber stalking. "We have a unique threat model, so that was another reason that I was interested in finding a niche where there's a primary audience that's typically those types of people to get them aware of why they should care."

Wagenknecht suggests a few basic things people can do to make a big difference, including using passphrases instead of passwords. "Having two-factor authentication set on your smartphone for different apps is important. Not having your logins automatically login. Things like that can change your how secure you are in the most advanced ways."

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