What firewall vendors don’t want you to know

By | March 25, 2011
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Some of you have noticed that Norton 360 now includes “LifeLock”. So Norton now not only touts that its firewall can keep you safe from identity theft – but “LifeLock” can keep you even safer. The truth is, neither one can. Norton knows it. We know it. Anyone who understands how identity theft works knows it. If all you needed was a firewall to keep you safe, snug, and secure, why would Norton shell out millions of dollars to include the questionable LifeLock membership program in their security. Security vendors will do anything to convince you – if only you bought their product you’d be safe. But it’s not true, and they know it. Norton’s shenanigans prove it. Not only doesn’t a firewall prevent identity theft, Norton basically admits it by putting in a program designed to prevent identity theft. But LifeLock doesn’t prevent identity theft – and that’s why they’ve been sued by users and by the FTC. LifeLock recently paid a hefty fine to the U.S. Government for making false claims. It’s too bad the U.S. Government doesn’t take a closer look at the claims being made by security and firewall vendors.

Software vendors have never been above hyperbolizing to the point of prevarication. We subscribe to many security newsletters – some of them published by security software vendors like Sunbelt and McAfee. Sometimes reading the baloney these newsletters serve to their readers almost makes us want to regurgitate. And it’s a shame that vendors will go to any lengths to sell a product knowing it can’t do what they promise. Unfortunately, gullible readers gobble up the baloney – because scare tactics sell products.

A firewall – no matter which one – cannot prevent identity theft; there isn’t a program made that can prevent you from giving your information away willingly. The best crooks can trick the innocent into giving up passwords, email addresses, credit card numbers, and even social security numbers.

A firewall is necessary, but every version of Windows from XP on has had a built-in firewall. If you listen to the so-called tech experts, they’ll tell you Windows firewall isn’t as good as brand x, y, or z. If you’re paying attention when you’re reading though, you’ll find that most of these so-called experts are selling brands x, y, or z – or all three. The motivation is money – your money. So in a sense those who twist the truth are our for the same thing as the crooks who trick you into giving up your personal information — your money.

Firewalls can’t protect you from identity theft. In most cases, they don’t even help. LifeLock, now included with Norton, has been the target of many lawsuits and has already paid a stiff fine to the government for making false claims.

When it comes down to it, you need a good anti-spyware program – or two, a good anti-virus program and you need to keep them updated. You need to keep Windows firewall turned on – not because it will protect you from identity theft, but because it can protect you from the unlikely event of unauthorized access to your computer via a network.

What you really need to protect you from identity theft is something you already have – common sense. The same old common sense you’ve been using for years – the common sense that tells you not to leave valuables lying on the front seat of your car, to lock your car doors, to lock you house at night when you go to bed, etc. Most identity theft occurs when people get careless and click links in emails that look as if they came from a bank or credit card company. These links lead to counterfeit sites. Unwary users give up their personal information unwittingly – and that’s how identity theft most often occurs.

A firewall isn’t going to stop identity theft. A 3rd-party firewall will certainly lighten your wallet -legally. Common sense will prevent identity theft better than any combination of security programs. Think before you click! And always make sure you know where you’re going and to whom you’re giving your information. When in doubt – leave it out. Don’t give away any personal information to any site unless you’re absolutely sure of the site you’re on.

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