When global retail giants Target, Home Depot and Sony got hacked and personal information was jeopardized, data security, once again, became a hot topic of conversation.
Of course you know you should do more to protect your identity, but let’s face it, data security is like public health: There’s only so much you can do to shield yourself, and even that is reliant on other people or companies. Unfortunately, as evidenced above, these same entities can obviously be careless with your information.
To this end, when people aren’t careful, the Internet can become a virtual playground for criminal activity. Whether you’re checking email, banking information or doing some online shopping, you have already put yourself at risk of having your identity stolen.
Criminals have developed several ways to obtain personal information from innocent Internet users. According to the United States Department of Justice, cyber criminals can take over an individual’s identity to conduct a wide range of crimes, such as fraudulent withdrawals from bank accounts, because victims usually don’t become aware of the criminal activity until substantial and irreversible damage has already been done. And while punishable under state law, identity theft remains difficult to prosecute for a variety of reasons.
Enter Gabriel, a set of secure communication apps derived from a U.S. Department of Defense project and created by VirnetX, an Internet security software and technology company.
The software works like this: Gabriel transmits information using automatic virtual private networks with military-grade encryption (think cryptograms).
“Gabriel has been designed and built with personal privacy and security as a foundational principle,” says Dr. Robert Short, VirnetX chief technical officer and chief scientist. “As a result, Gabriel provides uncompromising data security … Users do not have to transmit data to, or store data with, any third party, including VirnetX. Users can therefore rest easy that their data is stored only on their devices.”
Other benefits from using Gabriel include:
• Making free voice or video calls or sending instant messages to other Gabriel members in your network;
• Receiving spamless e-mail;
• Allowing for person-to-person messages that disappear once the session has ended;
• Sharing pictures or files with other trusted Gabriel users in your network directly from your personal device.
All of this is done with other members of your network with the assurance that the trans-missions are secured with end-to-end encryption.
Simply put, Gabriel makes your online communications invisible. Think of it this way: If the criminals can’t see you, they can’t attack you.