Saturday, March 17, 2007

Protecting your identity - Review of the "Gaurd ID"

iD Vault

Identity theft is and internet crime is big business. Not just for hackers, but for the companies developing products to protect us. Protecting our personal information is more important now than ever before. The possibility exists to lose so much, so easily. Everyday there are new methods being devised to steal your information. You’ve heard of them before - phishing, spear-phishing, pharming, spoofing and keystroke-logging.

Guard ID Systems has developed the id Vault. This device is a watchdog that protects you from various types of internet threats. It does this by storing your passwords, trusted websites and login information on a smart card chip. The smart card is the same technology used in identification badges. Think of those police shows on television, when they have to swipe their card to gain access to a secure area. The same technology is being used here. When you visit a website that you have deemed as safe, the iD Vault prompts you to continue using the stored information it is safeguarding. Your first visit to a website that requires a login will cause the iD vault to prompt you to add this site to your secure sites list.

The id vault seems to be a typical USB flash memory device, but it is not. It resembles a padlock, with a metal ring on the top, and a USB connector on the bottom. The pseudo-combination lock on the back has a red button in the center that allows the id vault to extend and retract. When extended, the USB connector is exposed. When retracted, the USB connector is covered, and the metal ring on the top is exposed. This is a great feature because you can put this on a keychain.

Included in the package are the USB id vault, a USB cable, a software cd, a quick start guide and a user’s manual. Installation starts with the software, then the USB device. The software comes into play and prompts you to configure the device. This is done in three steps. You first create your own PIN number, then the system generates a unique serial number, and finally the information is written to the device. When I say written, I mean written - permanently. If you forget your pin, you will have to use the unique serial number. If you are unsuccessful after three attempts, then id vault becomes inoperable. Also note a $19.99 annual subscription fee after the first year.

You can add websites to the id vault when you attempt to log in to one. It asks if you would like to add this site, you then enter your PIN, and voila. Your internet explorer favorites will now include secure favorites and the sites you have added. It also includes a wizard to add your banking institution’s website.

Manufacturer: Guard ID Systems
Price: $49.99 US
More Info:
Rating 5/5
A portable, durable, and convenient security solution, with some added eye candy for the gadget lover.