AVG Premium Security Protects You against Identity Theft

AVG has launched a new product called AVG Premium Security, which boasts of an unique Identity Alert component. Over the past few months we have witnessed numerous large scale data thefts of varying severity. Although the Sony PSN hacking incident grabbed the limelight, there were numerous other small, but perhaps more damaging, incidents. A helpful netizen even created a service that can automatically alert you if your online identity is compromised.

AVG’s Identity Alert component also performs a similar function, but probably more thoroughly. AVG claims that it scours the web, including chatrooms, forums, and criminal webpages to check if your identity has been compromised by monitoring your e-mail address and debit and credit card numbers.

When you combine the shocking security lapses we have seen out of very high profile and respected brands such as Sony, Epsilon and Citigroup in the past few months with the liability shift toward consumers, it is clear that identity theft protection tools are no longer a nice to have,said J.R Smith, CEO, AVG Technologies. Banks and corporations are at an important tipping point, showing strong indications that they will no longer simply cover losses,- expecting the online users to share equal responsibility in taking appropriate security measures that ultimately protect each other from malicious attacks.

Besides the Identity Alert component, AVG Premium Security includes AVG Internet Security and AVG Quick Tune. Internet Security features anti-virus, anti-spyware, AVG Protective Cloud Technology, and the AVG Community Protection Network. Quick Tune is basically a stripped down version of AVG PC Tuneup. It offers disk defragmenter, junk file removal, registry cleaner, and broken shortcut remover.

With its new offering, AVG is hoping to compete with Kaspersky Pure, Norton 360 and other similar products. The Identity Alert module helps AVG differentiate itself from its competitors, and the suite itself is competitively priced at $69.99. However, it might also be an overkill for most users. In my humble opinion, as long as you take the basic precautions like not reusing passwords, a simple firewall and antivirus is likely to suffice.

Mozilla Drops Features From Firefox 4 To Meet Release Deadline

In order to meet the October/November release deadline for Firefox 4, Mozilla has decided to axe some of the new features. The first casualty is the Account Manager feature.

Firefox-4-Beta

In Mozilla’s Dan Mills’ words, The Account Manager makes it incredibly easy for users to create new accounts with optional randomly generated passwords, and log into and out of them with just a click”. We had previewed an early prototype back in March and had found it to be capable of dramatically simplifying how users connect to websites.

Mozilla is aiming for a feature freeze by September 10. If Firefox 4 continues to fall behind schedule, then more features might be stripped. The prime candidates for removal are silent updates on Windows, Inspector and Web Console. However, even without some of these features, Firefox 4 will have enough to excite fans. The new version will introduce a brand new skin, tab candy, revamped add-ons manager and more.

Mozilla Account Manager May Simplify Online Identity Management [Concepts]

Online Identity Mozilla ConceptsBeing an early adopter of technology, I usually sign up for beta services as soon as they are released. Now, with that I have hundreds of accounts I need to remember and keep track of. Most browsers make this easier by providing an option to remember username and passwords, however, it still leaves a lot to be desired.

Mozilla Account Manager Concepts

Mozilla is working on a new concept called “Account Manager” which will dramatically simplify how users connect to websites. The initial prototype of the concept integrates into Firefox and allows users to sign in and sign out of websites from the toolbar.

Mozilla Account Manager

The basic concept behind account manager is to allow users to simplify the process of signing in and out of your web accounts. Once you install the add-on you will see a key sign next to the location bar. Clicking on which will show you an option to connect to the current site.

Mozilla Account Manager Connect

Clicking on connect will sign you into the account for the current site. You can also use the same key button to sign out of the account from the current site. The current add-on is in just a prototype so don’t expect it to work very well. More details follow below.

What Is Account Manager?

According to the Mozilla Wiki, here is what the Account Manager Project aims to produce:

  • A protocol definition that sites can use to define their account-and-session management features in a format a web browser can understand
  • An implementation of this protocol as a Firefox add-on.

The goal is to help users manage the process of “connecting” to a site, in a way that allows us to use secure browser chrome, and supports multiple authentication mechanisms.

The account manager is an evolution of the Firefox password manager and the Weave identity components (OpenID + auto-login). It will help users manage logins and profile information for each site, and it will automate currently manual tasks such as signing up for sites, generating passwords, etc. The first prototype will have support for “traditional” login methods (example., form + cookie), but it will also have some support for OpenID/federated logins.

Account Manager Standards

Mozilla is basically creating a new standard called “HTTP Extensions for Account Management and Session Identification” for websites, which will lay down the specifications on how this unified Account Manager will work. There is an early draft for the concept available here.

Websites which follow the specifications in the draft will automatically allow Account Manager to manage them.

Trying Out Account Manager

Account Manager is just a prototype right now and only works with a select few sites, including Google, Yahoo and . If you want to give the account manager a shot, head over to this page to download it.

Account Manager requires that you have the passwords stored in the password manager for it to work.