Opinion: ‘The best things in life are free…’ like HIBP (but maybe chip in!)

By Andy Jabbour

This is 100% a personal opinion but one I find myself sharing in a number of forums of late and so thought I would share it here too.

The internet is awesome. We gain access to a lot of great resources, information, entertainment, interaction, and more through our online experiences. In our world of security, a lot of researchers, subject matter experts and others provide resources that many of us take advantage of at no cost. But there is a cost. Someone – or someones – often put a lot of time and effort, and quite often personal expense, to develop and maintain those resources. If you can, consider chipping in and helping out for those things you regularly use or find value in. Every dollar helps so maybe skip a cup of coffee and chip in a few dollars.

So dreamy…

If you listen to our Gate 15 podcasts at all, you’ve likely heard our being part of the Troy Hunt fandom. From his oft noted dreamy good looks to his vast wealth of knowledge, Jen, Dave and I frequently Stan for Troy. We’re especially big fans of Have I Been Pwned (HIBP) and encourage everyone to take advantage of this tremendous resource. But, as Troy shared in a recent post, How I Got Pwned by My Cloud Costs (24 Jan), “I still have the donations page up on HIBP so if you use the service and find it useful, your support is always appreciated. I, uh, have a bill I need to pay 😭.” I have been using HIBP for a long time and tell everyone to use it. So yesterday, I bought Troy a few cups of coffee. Seems more than fair. If you’re a fan, maybe chip in as well and help alleviate some of those costs.

And Troy and HIBP are great, but apply the idea to other services and resources you may regularly use. A lot of our Gate 15 community regularly receive a great report we share that is informed by a fantastic and valued colleague. If you receive that report, you know what I’m talking about and if you don’t you don’t. But if you do, and find value in it, we’ve shared how you can chip in to help offset those costs (and you can do so right now if you want to buy Corsin a cup of coffee ☕️).

Gate 15 supports the Faith-Based Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (FB-ISAO). We provide a fair amount of funding and resources to FB-ISAO and are glad to do it as we believe in the mission “to provide members with informationanalysis, and capabilities to help reduce risk while enhancing preparedness, security, and resilience.” FB-ISAO offers a free level of membership, which is awesome, but certainly doesn’t mind if members want to join at a paid level, or members and others who believe in the mission want to chip in with a donation. FB-ISAO depends “on membership dues and in-kind donations to deliver on the mission. Please consider helping so we can continue to enhance the preparedness, security, and resilience of all faith-based organizations” (you can chip in right now from here!). 

At Gate 15, we share a variety of no-cost resources (and we’re not asking for donations), from our free daily paper, the Gate 15 SUN, to our podcasts to our resources pages. We believe in volunteering (see below for some recent giving back from our team!) and we believe that when we work together, we’re all better. But if you value what we do, share the good news about Gate 15 and consider us next time you’re thinking about intelligence, analysis, preparedness, or information sharing operations. 

Similarly, if you use technology services of one kind or another, and find them to be of value, consider moving from free-mium to some level of paid support. Take them out for a test drive, but after you kick the tires, if you like them, and intend to keep using them, consider paying for those services. That’s how developers keep them going and are able to make improvements. 

Free is great, but so is a modest, affordable contribution if you’re able and so inclined. To Troy, Corsin, and FB-ISAO, we appreciate what you do, please accept our modest contributions.