With data mining and web privacy emerging as a hot button issue in technology, one company says it might have found the answer to avoid being tracked on the web.
Encrypt Stick, of Vancouver, has released a new software system which comes with a specialized browser called Encrypt Stick 5.0 Private Browser. The software also includes a password manager and is stored on a USB drive.
The browser leaves behind no cookies or any trail of where a user has been on the web. The password manager stores passwords, cache and private bookmarks in a separate file and makes it conveniently password protected.
It doesn't leave any traces behind, said Terry Johnston, media relations at Encrypt Stick. If someone is traveling and needs to log into Facebook from a Wi-Fi internet café, this reduces their vulnerability.
The technology behind the untraceable browser includes a key logging protected virtual keyboard. This keyboard is set to various levels of securities, the highest of which scrambles a letter or number anytime it gets entered. This works against key loggers, who use screen capturing to see what a person is typing.
He says the software works best with a modern USB drive. Newer USB drives come with a serialized code, which can back up all the files through the software. That way, if someone loses the USB drive, they can enter the serial number and will get access to those files back. Older USB drives, from about 5-6 years ago, do not have these serial numbers.
Johnston says currently the browser still traces at the ISP level. This means while it can keep the specific data a user types private, it cannot do the same regarding the websites they go to.
We will address that in the next build, within the next 3-4 months, he said. It will be a masking technology that even makes IP addresses untraceable, the websites people have gone to. That'll be an extra layer. Most people aren't concerned about that, they just want the actual data private.
Johnston said the browser has passed through rigorous tests to ensure it provides untraceable web surfing. According to the company, it scored 99 out of 100 on the rigorous Acid3 compliance test. The test from Web Standards Project tests browsers on their vulnerabilities and performance.