Category Archives: Anonymity

Soft Aware: Free software to protect identity is worth second look

Everybody wants to ensure that their privacy is protected when they’re online.  Whether using your phone, tablet, or laptop, you want to make sure your personal information is secure.  This is especially important if you use public Wi Fi hotspots. 

So how do you protect your privacy without spending a ton of money on software? 

Tor Browser, for starters, is a special version of Firefox that diverts data to protect your privacy.  With the Tor Browser you can browse the web as usual, but it uses thousands of relays to disguise where your data is coming from.  Tor Browser delivers secure browsing that is only slightly slower than normal and enables anonymous internet browsing provided that you practice safe internet surfing. 

Some software prevents tracking cookies from monitoring your browsing and reporting it back to advertisers.  Ghostery is one of those, and it also has the knack to tell you exactly what each company is looking at and what they are likely to do with your data.

While some software that is free can be a little “too good to be true,” you can’t argue with the price tag. That said, one of the more overlooked means of computer identity and subsequent theft is your password. Hackers are adept at stealing your key strokes, but with Key Scrambler Personal, the aptly titled software makes short work of this.

Key Scrambler Personal encrypts every letter you type and the free version supports 38 different browsers.  However, email, instant messaging, and online gaming do require a paid for version of the product.

For Windows users, you already know that Windows 10 is the most personal version of Windows.  But some feel it’s too personal and that Windows 10  gathers too much personal data.  Anti Spy enables users to disable advertising ID’s, Smart Screen filtering, and apps that can access your camera.

Finally, you have GnuPG or GNU Privacy Guard.  GnuPG is a tool for encrypting files and emails.  It enables users to encrypt and digitally sign documents with technology that is effectively unbreakable.

All of these programs are free software that provide security in a variety of different areas and will help ensure your peace of mind when it comes to protecting your privacy online. They can only do so much (since they’re free, remember?) to protect your identity but certainly is a good place to start if money is an issue.

Easy Does It: Why protecting your identity is rooted in simplicity

Identity theft and protecting your computer go hand in hand, but as much as we want to turn this into a no one is safe discussion (which has merit), you must first ask yourself one very important question.

Are you doing enough to protect yourself? Furthermore, what about the simple things you can do, the day to day easy practices, that are tailor made to keep your identity and subsequently your computer safe.

We all have that friend who is constantly talking about computer viruses or having their identity stolen, and you don’t have to look (or think) for very long to realize that their bad habits have plagued them when it comes to this issue.

For starters, you should make it a point to stop filling out information online that includes all your pertinent statistics (particularly social security number and address. This goes for these so called online polls or anything that tells you to sign and get something for free (pop up ads or offers).

Quite possibly the easiest way to protect your computer is to make sure you have a password that protects anyone else logging into it or you have it set up to sleep mode rather quickly if you’re away from it. How often do you use your computer in a public setting? If you’re doing that, chances are you want to stay on top of that screen, even if you step away to grab a cup of coffee, that’s how easily someone can refresh and start going to work, or even worse if it somehow gets stolen out from underneath you completely.

Along the same lines as the password are those pesky (but relevant) security questions that help determine that the person logging into an account actually is you. Often times, you’ll have to answer at minimum one but usually three to four to be able to access anything. We tend to pick questions and answer them accordingly, but the general rule of thumb is to lie about the answers with some response that is far fetched, just in case your identity falls into the wrong hands.

There isn’t one way or an iron clad way to protect your identity, as anyone is susceptible to having their identity compromised. But if you’re just leaving it up to chance and also exhibiting habits that are detrimental and often invite hackers right into your living room so to speak, then you’re not just helping identity theft experts.

You’re practically giving your identity away.

Private eyes: Common computer mistakes plague privacy

Now more than ever, being smart about what you’re doing on your computer is paramount.

The same couldn’t be said during the infancy stages of the world wide web, mostly because it wasn’t so worldly or wide, but today’s version of the internet, along with emails, social networking and anything else you freely do online, needs to be policed, parented and paid close attention to constantly.

As an individual, you have the responsibility to use the internet wisely and to make good decisions as it relates to anything and everything you do daily online.

The world wide web is all about communication, and nothing is more convenient and preferred than email, which allows you to be a little more sincere with your comments aside from texting and is also rooted in not only personal emails but also work related items.

But what tends to put us at risk for online privacy issues is being haphazard with our emails, namely the ones we open that clearly look as though they were concocted with nothing but bad intentions in mind.

What makes that revelation even more ridiculous is when you can clearly see this looks and sounds phony, but yet you still open it up because curiosity didn’t just kill the cat, but also any chance you have of protecting yourself from an online hacker.

Scam and spam is easy to spot with two easy mentions: bad spelling and the “too good to be true” mantra that lures you into an unenviable situation. Simply put, if they can’t spell (think of a prize that you “one”) or you just won $10,000 and all you need to do is “click here” to claim it, then you’re on the cusp of having someone tap into your personal information and your PC in general.

Another easy way to avoid privacy being compromised is to not ignore how you handle and choose your passwords. You should shy away from having your PC or Mac remember your password, and also never forget to log out of an account, particularly your banking information and email. Furthermore, make sure your password that you choose has some complexity to it, and don’t ignore numbers or special characters as a means to differentiate from others that are common.

And as long as you stay away from WiFi connections that aren’t password protected (you might want to think about using your banking info or other important info on your home router), you should be well on your way to keeping your personal security just that: personal.

Tips for Safely Banking and Shopping Online

Identity theft and other crimes are growing in numbers for Internet users. More than 12 million people fall victim to various types of identity theft, according to statistics provided by the Statistics Brain Research Institute. Online banking and online shopping are extremely convenient for busy consumers. However, they can be dangerous for consumers who are unaware of all the predators that sneak around the Internet. The following are some helpful tips for consumers who shop or bank online:

Use Anti-Virus and Malware Software

The first step in protecting oneself during any Internet shopping experience is installing anti-virus software or malware software. A wide variety of companies makes software that helps consumers to combat computer viruses. Many of them offer free trial periods, as well. Interested persons can search the web for the best products and services for their protection.

Change Browser Settings

Another thing that a consumer can do to stop hackers and ID thieves from getting their information is change browser settings. Some browser settings keep personal information like passwords in their databases. Such information is not good to have in any database except the user’s mind.

Do Not Save Credit Card Information

Some shopping websites offer consumers the opportunity to save their credit card information to the website to save them time during future transactions. The feature is dangerous because a hacker can steal the consumer’s personal information by hacking into the company’s computer. Consumers should always turn down the opportunity to save credit card information on a website.

Shop on Secure Sites

Another way that a consumer can protect his or her wallet is by shopping on secure sites only. Secure sites have a few distinguishing characteristics about them. One is the address. The address of a secure site will always start with an https:// to signify its encryption. Secure sites usually advertise their security with icons, accolades and information so that visitors will feel safe, as well.

Erase History

Lastly, consumers should erase their browsing history or browse anonymously whenever possible. It helps to cut down on IP tracking and Internet stalking. Firefox and some other browsers allow their users to surf the Internet and travel about the Internet in an incognito fashion.

Consumers and Internet users can protect themselves and avoid being victims of identity theft and bank account hacking. All they need to do is be careful and uses some of the aforementioned tips.

More on Protecting Kids on the Web

The number of crimes against teenagers that use the Internet is downright disturbing. Cybercrimes affect more than 556 million people every year, which is a humongous number of people. Teenagers and young children fall victim to crimes such as cyberbullying, identity theft and sexual crimes. Teens and their parents can take certain steps to lessen the chances of becoming victims. The following are four tips that can help protect children who use the net:

Educate the Children About Cybercrimes

The first step in preventing a child from becoming an Internet crime victim is educating him or her about the crimes. Many children fall victim to predators because they do not know what to expect when they go online. Parents should speak with teens and young children about the different ways that someone can take advantage of them if they are not careful. The most common types of Internet crimes are ones that involve breach of trust and manipulation. Not everyone on the Internet is a friend. People need to explain that to their children.

Use Parent Controls

A parent can add parent controls to just about every Internet browser by way of an extension download. They are very easy to use, and parents can activate them before they allow their children to surf online. A computer user can find parent controls on their Microsoft powered units, as well. Microsoft offers a “family safety” feature that filters the games, websites and applications that are inappropriate for young children. Microsoft’s comprehensive family safety feature allows parents to obtain reports of their children’s activities, as well.

Monitor the Children Personally

Parents can monitor their children to ensure that they are engaging in wholesome behavior. Not all children will appreciate being watched by their parents, but the extra step can spare them a world of trouble. Parents should never assume that their children cannot fall victim to manipulation or trickery. Predators are always on the prowl looking for any hole of vulnerability that they can enter.

Be Careful About Sharing Personal Information

Finally, parents should inform children to limit the personal information that they share with people on the Internet. Crimes such as identity theft occur because children trust people with sensitive information like addresses, birth dates, social security numbers and even passwords.

The Internet can still be a place that young people can receive a benefit. Parents just have to stay alert and never sleep on the evils that exist in the world.

Tips for Safe Online Shopping and Surfing

Surfing the Internet is fun, and shopping online is quite convenient. However, modern computer users have to exercise extreme caution when they are using the Internet. More than 16 million people fall victim to identity theft each year, and more than 12 million people are victims to computer virus attacks. Computer users have to be smart in their online endeavors. The following are some tips on being safe during online surfing:

Use Private Browsing

Private browsing is a safe option that most browsers offer Internet users. The private browsing option allows Internet users to safely browse the Internet without exposing their IP address to any browser tracking programs. Firefox offers that option, and users can activate it by stopping by clicking on the upper right corner of their browser and then clicking on the mask that signifies the private browsing experience.

Purchase Internet Security

Several of the top Internet security companies offer suites that people can purchase for their online browsing experiences. McAfee and Norton are two of the top providers of Internet security suites. The suites offer real-time protection against viruses, hackers, phishing attempts and more.

Only Use Secure Shopping Sites

Another way that Internet users can protect themselves is by ensuring that they are only shopping on secure sites. Secure sites have web addresses that start with https:// as opposed to http://. The https:// at the beginning of the web address signifies that the information on a website is encrypted. A hacker cannot decipher the personal information that is encrypted on a website.

Make Passwords Long and Complex

Another strategy that one can use while he or she is online is creating long and complex passwords for all websites. Passwords should be more than six characters long, and they should consist of a healthy combination of letters and numbers. Additionally, the person will want to change the passwords at least once every three months.

Delete History and Passwords

An Internet user can perform a few cleaning tasks to ensure that he or she stays safe while using the computer. One cleaning task that the person can perform is deleting history. The other task the person can perform is clearing the cache. Finally, the Internet user can clear passwords. All such tasks can be performed under the browser options menu.

Staying safe can keep a computer user free of unnecessary losses and nuisances. The previously mentioned tips provide an excellent start to a life of safe browsing.

Saving big with Antivirus Coupons

If you’ve ever had the displeasure of dealing with a computer virus then you’re already aware that the only thing that might be worse is the gigantic hassle of buying, installing, and maintaining the antivirus software.

Although there are some free options, like AVG, most antivirus software costs a little bit–either a larger one-time transaction up front (like with Norton) or small, monthly bills (like with Macafee or Kaspersky).  It takes some serious digging but a handful of sites do, in fact, have working promotion codes. Keycode (recently featured on Kim Kommando) always has ones that are up to date and working.    Another great coupon site is although their antivirus page is a little bit buried. also has a huge offering.

There’s not a whole lot we can do to help you with perpetual headache of your antivirus software constantly stealing your bandwidth for the latest update but hopefully you’ve found a couple new sites that will at least soften the financial blow.

Internet Anonymity and Privacy

Internet Anonymity and Privacy

Internet anonymity is a blessing, but it’s also a curse.  Internet anonymity is very useful to the internet activist.  Internet anonymity is nowhere near as robust as people tend to think, and there are ways for creative people to identify at least some of the abusers.  Last week, we took a look at what Internet Anonymity is, and how it works.  If someone uses internet anonymity software because they are being stalked or harassed, then most would agree that their right to use internet anonymity is viable.  True Internet anonymity is surprisingly difficult to achieve.  As the user, it is your responsibility to know that your internet anonymity is only as secure as the service’s privacy policy.  The sticky, icky underside to Internet anonymity is that too often it’s abused.


Anonymity and privacy may be related, but their significance is worlds apart.  Anonymity is not what it used to be.  Anonymity on the internet was perceived as a resounding positive, liberating us from our canine constraints to project an image onto the world of ourselves, not as we are but as we would like to be.  Anonymity is another powerful tool that can be beneficial or problematic depending on its use.  Anonymity assures privacy, confidentiality and security for individuals.

Outside of the Internet, anonymity is widely acceptedand recognized as valuable in today’s society.  For instance, sometimes anonymity tools are used to distributecopyrighted software without permission (“warez”).


Privacy——- What is `privacy’ on the internet.  Privacy is a right that we all posses, allowing that the government or anyone for that matter cannot force information from us, that we wish to withhold.  Privacy is an important part of liberty, just like freedom of speech.  One argument is that the internet anonymity should be a right just like the right to privacy or bear arms.  Internet anonymity is dissimilar from our right to privacy in that if one wishes to stay private in cyberspace then they can avoid the internet all together, and not have to worry about protecting their identity.  Furthermore, anonymity and privacy are not synonymous with each other, and shouldn’t be examined as so.

Anyone who claims to guarantee Internet anonymity is either deceptive or ignorant, regardless of what anonymizer software they use to implement whatever clever protocol using whatever kind of encryption.  A discussion of the debate of whether or not internet anonymity is part of our rights, or is it the right of other internet users who are not anonymous to know who is out there using the internet.  Perhaps the secret to Internet anonymity is having a common name.