Monday, November 7, 2011

Safely Surf The Coffee Shop This Winter

It is as natural to the barista as a frothy espresso: as the weather cools down, coffee sales heat up. According to a study from the Katz School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, coffee sales peak during the winter holiday season, increasing by up to 30 percent. Bundled-up shoppers after the perfect gifts crowd coffee shops for a hot beverage before heading back into the elements.

But if you are doing your shopping online at one of these locations, make sure your body isn't the only thing protected against the cold world around you. Have proper identity protection as well.

Screen Protectors: When browsing in public locations, it is important that no one is looking over your shoulder. Like an ATM, your computer screen may contain important information like your address, bank account information or PIN codes that nearby sippers could steal. For truly private browsing and the most low-tech identity protection solution available, pick up a screen protector for your laptop. This opaque plastic cover makes your screen invisible to anyone who is not sitting directly in front of it. You can find them at any computer store or department store electronics department.

VPN Services: Identity thieves looking to snatch your financial information may not be sitting at the next table. They may be sitting on the next block. Hackers can infiltrate a public wi-fi network from over a block away, checking out where you have been online and even snatching parts of your online identity. A

VPN account funnels your information through a highly encrypted server from wherever you are so you never have to worry that someone else is looking over your shoulder.
Dummy E-Mail: As e-mail scammers have become more shrewd at tricking users into clicking on e-mail links and entering password information into e-mail replies, web security firms have created dummy e-mail accounts so you can send an e-mail as normal but all replies are returned to a dummy e-mail so none of your activity can be traced back to you. This way, you will never inadvertently give away information through e-mail.

Bundle up your computer this holiday so you can sip your coffee, shop the web and surf with confidence at home, at the mall and even at the coffee shop.