Q: Identity theft protection seems like a good service to have, but how can I guarantee these websites are secure?
A: Great question! That is always an important question to ask yourself whenever you're typing your personal information onto any website, not just identity theft protection websites. Any information that you disclose to any of our reviewed identity theft protection services' websites is safely transferred in an encrypted format using SSL technology. Employees of these identity theft protection services have limited access to your personal information as well as additional workplace standards — such as no flash drives or information storing devices allowed on the service's campus as well as limited or no access to the Internet.
These websites that you use to sign up are secure, but if you want to verify the security, there are a couple of things you can check on before you enter your information.
1. Look for a color change or lock to appear on the left side of the URL to show that the site has been verified as a legitimate website. All major Internet browsers — including Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer — have these features or a feature very similar. For example, Google Chrome changes the beginning of the URL to green and adds the lock to verify it's secure.
2. Make sure the URL starts with "HTTPS." This stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, which means that the website is secure and will transfer your information to the company safely. It is much more secure than "HTTP," which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. We advise you to not enter your personal information if a website begins with "HTTP."
If you currently have an Internet security software, then it should already verify the security of the website as soon as you visit it. For example, our top-rated Internet security software — Norton's Internet Security — verifies a website's security with a little check mark and a green dot on the right of the address bar.
Check out our Identity Theft Protection Compare Page to see which service will be best for you or visit our Internet Security Software Compare Page to learn more about how Internet security software can keep your personal information protected on the web.
Q: How much does McAfee internet security cost for 2 computers?
A: Usually, McAfee Internet Security costs $79.99 to cover up to 3 computers for a year. Lucky for you, McAfee offers NextAdvisor readers 50% off Internet Security, bringing the price down to $39.99 to cover up to 3 computers for a year.
At only $39.99, McAfee Internet Security is a great value for your PCs. It offers solid protection and has a good toolbox of features to keep your computer protected, including parental controls, USB drive scans, antispam protection and spyware protection. It also offers 2GB of online backup. McAfee Internet Security offers a simple, easy-to-use interface that makes it easy to keep your computer protected.
To read our full review of McAfee Internet Security or to compare it against other security software suites, check out our compare page here.
Two of the biggest names in security software have a lot to offer, but which one is better? We look at both Norton and Kaspersky and compare them side-by-side to see which Internet security software suite is the best.
Price: This is a close race. Factoring in the NextAdvisor discount with both security software suites, Kaspersky is a whole $0.04 cheaper than Norton, so they are basically the same price.
Protection: Kaspersky consistently scores at the top of independent testing, making it one of the top security software suites around. However, Norton is also very well respected when it comes to protection, although it doesn't score as high as Kaspersky in most cases. If you want consistently superior protection, Kaspersky is the better choice.
Performance: This is where Norton shines. They are known for their performance and their ability to not disturb your normal computing environment. While Kaspersky also has steady scores in independent testing, Norton is one of the highest rated security suites when it comes to performance.
Customer Service: While most security software suites offer great customer service options, including Norton, Kaspersky is actually the best because it offers an entire portion of their website that is devoted to helping you solve your problems.
Basically, both security software suites are solid, although Norton has a few more bells and whistles than Kaspersky. To read the full review of both Norton and Kaspersky, check out our Internet security software compare page here.
Q: I'm thinking of signing up for identity theft protection. As a Mac user, one of my worries is that the anti-spyware, anti-phishing and anti-keylogging software, which is included in the protection, isn't compatible with my computer. Are there any identity theft protection services that offer anti-spyware, anti-phishing and anti-keylogging software compatible with Macs?
A: That's a really great question. Unfortunately, none of the identity theft protection services that we review offer anti-phishing, anti-spyware and anti-keylogging software that is compatible with Macs. We understand how frustrating this can be, but it is important to remember that even though the security software is a good addition, the value of the identity theft protection services come from the fact that they protect your identity and help alleviate the headache in the case that your identity is stolen.
If you currently have an Internet security software, then we'd recommend that you continue to use that software while you're signed up for identity theft protection. If you are looking for security software for your Mac, we'd recommend that you check out our Mac Internet Security Software page. These services are reasonably priced and offer solid Internet security.
Also check out our Identity Theft Protection Compare Page to learn more about each of the identity theft protection services.
How to Protect Your Identity
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. and one of the major ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim is to have some sort of identity theft protection. These services offer many different ways to protect your identity. Most of our reviewed services monitor your personal information for possible fraudulent activity and alert you as soon as they spot the possible fraud.
Our two top-rated identity theft protection services — Identity Guard and TrustedID — both offer superior identity theft protection by immediately alerting you of any possible fraud and assisting you with recovering your good name and credit in the unlikely case that your identity is stolen while under their protection. Check out this blog to see a side-by-side comparison of the two identity theft protection services, and visit our compare page to learn more about what the services offer in terms of protection.
How to Protect Your Computer
April Fools Day is a popular day for hackers and online identity thieves, so make sure your computer is also protected. All of the security software suites that we rank at the top of our compare page offer superior protection against virus and malware attacks, as well as added features such as anti-spam tools, firewalls and cloud protection data.
Security suites can also protect against identity theft. Many of the top security software suites, such as Norton, BitDefender, Kaspersky and Webroot, offer personal information management tools that help protect against identity theft. The tools range from saving and encrypting your passwords to a secure web browser that operates outside of your desktop, making it harder to track. They also provide anti-keylogging software that keeps hackers from logging your keystrokes to steal your password.
If you want more detailed information about what each of the security software suites offer, check out our security software compare page here.
It’s harder to keep things private these days since we are constantly connected to the web. Yes, it makes it easier to share birthdays, favorite locations and contact information with friends, but it also makes it easier for us to become a victim of identity fraud. In 2011, 11.6 million U.S. adults were victims of identity theft, according to the California Office of Privacy Protection. But just because it could happen to anyone, it doesn’t have to be you. The passwords you choose, how you treat your smartphone, and what you display on your Facebook page may all seem like second nature, but the truth is you should be actively thinking about your privacy when doing any of these everyday activities. Check out the graphic below to see how carelessness can lead to identity theft, and read about the simple ways that you can help protect yourself from becoming a victim, including getting identity theft protection.
Need a little extra spending cash for the summer months? We are giving away a total of $500 to 4 of our lucky Google+ followers! We will be drawing 4 winners over the course of a month. The first winner, picked March 22, will win $50. The second winner, picked on March 29, will win $100. The third winner, picked on April 5, will win $150. And the last winner, picked on April 12, will win $200. You must follow all instructions below to enter. Good luck!
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Terms and Conditions for NextAdvisor $500 Giveaway
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- Contest opens: March 13, 2013
- Contest closing: April 11, 2013
- Drawing of winner: March 22, 2011; March 29, 2011; April 5, 2011; Grand Prize: April 12, 2011
- There will be a $50 prize (March 22), a $100 prize (March 29), a $150 prize (April 5) and a $200 prize (April 12). (All prizes are in USD.)
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A: Sadly, Internet security software suites don't really play well together. Most security software suites, or any antivirus software, won't allow you to install their software until all other antivirus and security software is removed from your computer. The worst offenders are always the bigger names, including Norton, ESET and BitDefender. That being said, having two security suites installed on your computer doesn't necessarily give you any more protection than just having one, especially if it's one of the higher rated security suites like Norton or Kaspersky.
If you do want to install two security suites on your computer, we would recommend installing a really good suite like Norton, and then installing Webroot SecureAnywhere, which is the only security suite that we reviewed that doesn't interfere with other security software suites. Just make sure you install the other software first and THEN install Webroot, otherwise the other security suite will detect Webroot and not allow you to install it.
To read the full reviews of all the security suites we review, check out our compare page here.
If you are looking for a good deal on security software, check out McAfee, which is offering 50% off of their security software to our readers. Whether you just want the antivirus protection, the security software suite or Total Protection, all products are 50% off.
McAfee is one of the top security software suites and is one of the most popular names worldwide. The protection includes extra features like parental controls, a USB drive scanner, an anti-spam filter and online backup, as well as their trusted antivirus protection.
Q: I want to apply for a credit card but feel uncomfortable entering my social security number online. Is there a way to check the security of the application?
A: This is a great question and we applaud you for your caution; it is always important to be aware when entering personal information online. In general, financial institutions that host these online applications use top-tier security measures like SSL encryption to make sure that your data, for example your social security number, is secure.
Whenever you are unsure whether the site you are using to enter personal information is secure or not, there are a couple of things you can look out for:
1. Most browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer, just to name a few you may be familiar with, now include a color-change on the left side of the address bar to show that the site has been verified as legitimate. For example, Chrome highlights the first part of the URL in green and surrounds it with a little green box.
2. Still looking at the left side of the address bar, check for a little lock sign on most browsers, which indicates that the webpage is secure.
3. Check the URL for 'HTTPS' at the beginning, which is much more secure than a 'HTTP' URL.
Want to take extra precautions when entering personal information online? Many Internet security software suites are offering a feature that spotlights a "secure environment." For example, the top-rated BitDefender's SafePay feature opens browsers in a secluded environment where you can enter private information worry-free. Many Internet security software suites also offer a feature that checks the reliability of sites you are using. Compare the top Internet security software suites here.
If you are worried about someone stealing your social security number, or are already a victim of identity fraud, consider signing up for an identity theft protection service, which monitors public records and the Internet's black markets for use of your social security number and changes in your credit report. Many of these services also offer Internet security software included in the plan. Read all of our identity theft protection reviews here.
Disclosure: NextAdvisor.com is a consumer information site that offers free, independent reviews and ratings of online services. We receive advertising revenue from most of the services we review. Our editors thoroughly research and whenever possible test each service we review and offer their honest opinions about each one. We are independently owned and operated and all opinions expressed on this site are our own.