Identity Theft Protection

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Locking Up Your Digital Assets


By Nishant Taneja, Senior Manager, McAfee

More than just work tools, computers have become repositories for the details our lives. Whether we are at work or home, we tend to save and store valuable and confidential information, often without taking measures to protect ourselves if it were to fall into the wrong hands. According to our research, some 70 percent of consumers are concerned about personal information theft, yet only 25 percent claim to use software to lock PC files.

If you had the opportunity to snoop around most peoples’ PCs and laptops, you would probably find sensitive business information, such as business plans, contracts, payroll, customer records and financial documents, as well as important personal documents, such as tax records, banking information and even photos and passwords. If you were to hook a pilfered computer up to the Internet, you’d probably also find that their logins are saved on ecommerce and banking sites, giving you the opportunity to guess a password and make purchases or transfer money in their name.

Too Few Think About Computer Theft

Given the wealth of “digital treasures” that lie within our PCs, it’s no wonder that thieves and hackers are constantly looking for opportunities to access this information. And unfortunately, they have a number of ways in which they can reach it. Most computer users are now aware of threats on the Internet, such as malicious programs that can give thieves and hackers remote access to our machines, but too few users think about computer theft.

Take, for example, this story I recently heard form a friend of mine. A group of colleagues was working in a conference room of a large business complex. After one of the workers departed for lunch, leaving their laptop behind, a man entered saying that he was called by their company to do tech support on the unattended laptop. No one gave a second thought to letting the man take the laptop away for “repair.” When the laptop owner returned, they discovered that there was no such tech support request. They had been fooled. On the laptop was a critical presentation that the coworkers were supposed to give to clients later that day, as well as a wealth of business documents and personal files. This theft not only had the potential to lead to financial loss for the company, it also opened up the door to identity theft.

An Innovative Approach to Data Security

Other than being more aware of the scam, what could the coworkers have done to protect themselves? This is a question that we have thought about a lot lately at McAfee® while developing our new McAfee Anti-Theft File Protection software - an innovative approach to data and information security that allows consumers to safely store their information in secure “digital vaults.” With a few clicks of a mouse, computer users can easily encrypt their data and move or copy files into a password protected vault. So, even if their computer is stolen or hacked, their critical information is inaccessible. This not only protects users from financial loss and identity theft, it also guarantees the highest level of privacy.

These days it is common for people to share computers both at work and at home. But with McAfee Anti-Theft File Protection, users don’t have to worry about others accessing their sensitive information. What’s more, the software allows you to create multiple vaults, so each member of a family or each coworker can safely store their information. Banking documents, photos and private communications can all be safely locked away. In addition, users can create vaults on USB drives, allowing them to safeguard data even if they are using multiple PCs.

Powerful Advanced Encryption

Since McAfee Anti-Theft File Protection uses powerful 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), there is no reason to worry about data security anymore. Just put your critical files into the vault and go. And, if you happen to forget your password, we’ve got you covered. You can reset your password by correctly answering a series of security questions.

While we can’t protect you from the cost of a lost computer, we are doing all we can to secure your often more valuable information. After all, consumers probably won’t stop storing personal and business information on their PCs, but at least they can now take effective steps to protect their digital assets, as well as their privacy.

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