Friday, November 9, 2007

"StealthSurfer USB Storage Device Keeps Web Spies At Bay"

from - by Donna Fuscaldo 
StealthSurfer USB Storage Device Keeps Web Spies At Bay
Private eyes won't be watching you anymore, at least on the Internet.

Vancouver, BC-based Hush Communications has been selling a portable USB storage device called the StealthSurfer that enables you to surf the Web anonymously and will now alert you if you are making a purchase on a potentially fraudulent Web site. 

For $179, consumers get a 2GB miniature storage device, with built in software that blocks anyone from seeing the Web sites you're visiting, whether you're using your home computer,  a computer at Starbucks  Corp. or surfing on a wireless network.

That means you won't get busted for shopping at work during office hours. It also means your spouse won't have to know every Web site you're frequenting. The computer you're using does need Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP operating system for the technology to work.

"When using the tool and surfing the Web the IP address will not be apparent,'' said Ben Cutler, Chief Executive at Hush Communications. "It works with any computer." 

Hush Communications originally started out selling the StealthSurfer device on its Web site but was so impressed with it that the company acquired the business a couple of months ago.

 "We saw the traffic it generated and when the opportunity presented itself we bought the whole business,'' said Cutler. He declined to comment on how much Hush paid for the StealthSurfer business.

The StealthSurfer drive, small enough to fit on a key chain, is plugged into a computer at which point you're prompted to provide a user name and password. Once that's done, software automatically loads that lets you surf the Web anonymously. An added level of security will alert you to a phishing scam which happens when you visit a Web site that you think is real but is really designed to steal all of your personal information.

While most phishing scams come via email, prompting you to click a link to visit a fake Web site, Cutler said there have been cases in which consumers think they are on the check out page of a retailer only to be duped into giving personal information to a scammer. When it is determined to be a potentially fake site, the URL in the browser will turn red. Built into the device is software called Roboform that allows you to store all of your different logons and passwords and a free one year subscription to the company's email service. 

This time of year sees a surge in Internet shopping as well as scams, so Hush Communications is positioning the device as a way to engage in online shopping during the holidays with peace of mind. The hefty price tag and the fact that most phishing scams originate from e-mail may act as deterrents to wide spread adoption. The company also sells a 4 GB version for $225 and an 8GB version for $279.

"From a phishing standpoint, the problem occurs more from email,'' said Rob Enderle founder of Enderle Group. "Even with this technology it doesn't prevent someone from doing something stupid like physically entering information."

Enderle said the idea of anonymously surfing the Web is more attractive than protecting surfers from fraud. Not the mention that the device does let you storage documents and files.

 "This has more uses keeping people from knowing what your doing,'' said Enderle. "What you get is a storage drive and the other capabilities for free."  

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