Confidentially yours

Ashish Bhatia        Print Edition: May 2012

1. My Lockbox
This tidy little tool helps you create a folder safe that you can keep locked and barred from snoopers on the prowl. You won't growl at the setup. Easy-to-use, My Lockbox lets you assign a password during the installation process. The app hides the folder as well as its contents. A shortcut opens the program and a click on a tray icon locks the folder and closes the utility. There is no size limitation and you can store an unlimited number of files in it. You can trigger it using a user-defined hotkey combo. Best of all, shortcuts and "recently opened" file-trails won't open any of the filed locked inside Lockbox.

2. QFX KeyScrambler Personal
Maybe you know this, maybe you don't. Keyloggers are sneaky malicious spy programs that capture a computer user's keystrokes -usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and other information - and send all this data to a third party via mail. And they can often fool antivirus programs too. KeyScrambler cleverly works to encrypt your keystrokes at the keyboard driver level and decrypt them when they reach your browser so they're visible to you. KSP doesn't encrypt all your activities. But anything you type-logins, passwords, e-mails, in-browser chats-are all encrypted. You can set a hot key for enabling and disabling the utility.

3. Privacy Mantra
Even when no one is spying on you, your PC is. Like it it or not, your computer knows, not only what you did last summer but also what you were up to in the dead of the night last night! The programs you run, the movies you watch, the files you open - everything is logged in the undeletable index.dat file - even after the Internet history and cache has been scrubbed! PM is quite effective in safeguarding the privacy of your activities on your PC. This includes whitewashing the machine's Internet history, cache, cookies, index.dat files, autocomplete forms, recent documents, open and save dialogs, search and run files. It offers 64-bit support, lets you whitelist any entry, and can be run from the command line as well as pre-scheduled.

4. AdFender
Simply put, this is an online ad blocker. It works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera as well as some of the less popular web browser. And this not only puts an end to those distracting Flash ads but also saves you valuable bandwidth and speeds up browsing. No intrusive ads finding their way to your PC also means protection of privacy. Now while it doesn't cut out all the online muck coming your way, it is does manage to keep those annoying blinking Flash offenders off the screen. AdFender sits in the system tray and runs in the background. You can easily toggle it off/on and hit reload to see the difference. Oh, by the way, why talk of just browsers, AdFender can also block ads in P2P and IM applications.

5. SnoopFree Privacy Shield
It may look quite archaic and boring but SnoopFree Privacy Shield works pretty well in unearthing any programs that is trying to spy on you. Not only does SFPS tell you the names of the spy tools and the location of these rogues, it also specifies the files/data that has been captured. You can then take the appropriate steps to delete them and remove the intrusive program to block further spying . Unfortunately, SFPS doesn't uninstall spy programs. So you need to action that part yourself. No licence to kill, but other than that it is very good at catching spies.

6. File Shredder
When you delete a file, it merely changes its location to the recycle bin. And even when deleted from the thrash can, it can still be retrieved via an Undelete utility. However, File Shredder can permanently, irretrievably and everlastingly annihilate files for you. It's because instead of merely deleting file references, it actually nukes the data itself by rewriting the files with random series of binary data multiple times. The program offers five shredding options, ranging from a simple one pass right up to something known as the Guttman algorithm with 35 passes.

7. Hotspot Shield
If you use public WiFi networks, you just have to install Hotspot shield. As the moniker suggests, this safety net utility prevents nefarious elements from infiltrating your connection to a public hotspot and spying on you. The program establishes an encrypted connection to the Hotspot Shield servers and converts your HTTP traffic to the far safer HTTPS mode. Hotspot Shield is browser-independent and appears as a toggle-off/on system tray icon. It also detects and blocks known malware sites. Setup can be a tad complicated though. Remember, security is mortal's chiefest enemy so don't be complacent and install this to keep your private data from falling into the wrong hands.

8. Identity Finder Free Edition
The prime source of inspiration and information for identity theft is often your own PC. IFF is designed to scan your PC and and unearth unsecured passwords, credit card numbers and other personal data. Further, it gives you an option to secure, delete, secure, recycle or ignore the findings of its scan report. Oddly (and stupidly), the recycle function merely dumps the insecure item in the Recycle Bin. How pointless is that! IFF comes with a Password Vault, File Vault, File Shredder, System Cleanup, and Browser Security. It's System Cleanup tool delves into the history, cache, as well as temporary file repositories to dig out any telltale identifiers.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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