A Hedge Against the Bad Guys
Good fences don't just make for good neighbors; they make for safer Web browsing, too. GreenBorder Pro software effectively walls off Internet Explorer and Firefox from the rest of your Windows PC, so any viruses, spyware, or cookies that may have downloaded automatically can run but can't damage your system. Quit your browser and—poof!—it all disappears. The basic software costs $49.95 a year per PC (volume discounts available). With IT managers constantly scrambling to patch and safeguard their systems, GreenBorder adds a valuable wall of protection.
Go for the Sweep
Sure, banks and credit card companies air funny commercials promoting their identity-protection services, but how safe do you feel trusting your personal data to those companies—or even to your own? The IdentitySweep service from MyPublicInfo, an Arlington, Virginia, upstart, lets you take charge of protecting your own identity. For $4.95 a month, subscribers get early warnings when their names, Social Security numbers, credit card information, or other personal data turn up online or in thousands of public-records databases in ways that suggest identity thieves may be at work.
The Unsocial Register
Tired of Web sites that make you hand over all that personal info just to get the information you desire? The founder of PrefPass was, which is why he created "personalization without registration." Give PrefPass only your email address, and you can avoid filling out those long forms—creating ever more user names and passwords—and sharing personal information with PrefPass-enabled sites. There's an upside for businesses to use PrefPass too: By not forcing visitors to register, Web sites, especially smaller ones, can keep from alienating readers and still serve up those money-making targeted ads.
A version of this article appeared in the November 2006 issue of Fast Company magazine.