The plugin allows you to check the “data security rating” of every site which basically indicates whether it is a good idea to share your data with the site in question or not.
Privacy Alert lets you know if hackers could potentially steal the information you type into a web form or save within a cookie.
For example, if you visit a financial site, like your online banking app, and type in your username and password, the plugin will show if third-parties could potentially also view those login credentials, the company said a blog post.
For example, the screenshot below obtained from a report shown when visiting a certain reveals how your data may be shared with 9 other places through cookies, one being Google Analytics.
On the other hand, it lets you know that your sensitive data is safe nonetheless.
The screenshot on the left shows a website where user data is not safe.
In light of the above example, those of you who are aware of the recent rise in web skimming would know that this privacy tool will drastically reduce the chances of users being compromised.
In cases where hackers have gained access to a site and infected it with malicious code, users won’t need to wait for a chance to stumble upon a company issued a press release, they will know instantly the moment they actually visit the site with Privacy Alert showing them a report.
For instance, we saw a couple of weeks ago how a payment page of the Commonwealth Bank in Australia was being cloned. If users had verified the site’s security status before making the payment, in that case, they wouldn’t have fallen for the ploy.
Hence, to conclude, we would recommend users to try out this new privacy tool, not because it just happens to be an additional tool newly released out there but because of its essence in acting as a precautionary measure for your security.
However, it wouldn’t be wise to leave everything to just a plugin and there it is recommended to employ other security measures as well such as minimizing the very process of entering payment details through the use of services like Apple Pay & verifying the security certificates of the sites you visit.
Find out which of your favorite websites may be putting your data at risk
Privacy Alert by Instart is a free plugin that anyone can install in their Chrome browser, but to understand why it’s important, you first must know how web skimming works. Along with their own website code, web developers also use code from third-party vendors when building web apps — both types of code can access any customer information entered into the website. Web skimming attacks occur when hackers inject malicious code into a website via the site’s third-party code, allowing them to have the same access to information as legitimate code.
Privacy Alert lets you know if hackers could potentially steal the information you type into a web form or save within a cookie. For example, if you visit a financial site, like your online banking app, and type in your username and password, the plugin will show if third-parties could potentially also view those login credentials.
Make informed decisions about whether your information is safe
Privacy Alert arms you with the information you need to determine whether your data is safe when you use a website. Whether you are opening up a new account, logging into an existing account, checking out from a shopping cart, or subscribing to a newsletter, the Instart plugin shows you a website’s safety rating to help you determine whether it’s safe to enter your information — or whether a website has left your data accessible to third-parties and thus vulnerable to attack.
Most browsers provide the ability to see whether a website has a valid certificate but outside of this, users have very little visibility into website security and have no idea who could potentially access their data. It’s time to take the guesswork out of deciding if a website is trustworthy or not. Privacy Alert provides a new level of transparency around what information is available to third parties and potentially, hackers.
5 tips to protect your privacy on the web
There is no silver bullet to web security, but there are some ways to better protect yourself:
- Make sure that your operating system and browser have the latest security patches and updates.
- Ensure that that the website you are accessing has a valid certificate.
- Do not reuse the same password across multiple websites — even varying your password a little can go a long way if one of the websites you use is compromised. (Personally, I love 1Password!)
- Use one-time credit card numbers so that you don’t have to worry if the number is compromised. Alternatively, use PayPal or Apple Pay so that you do not have to directly enter payment details into a website.
- Only enter your private information into websites you trust. The Privacy Alert Chrome plugin gives you the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about when and where you enter your private data.
Privacy Alert will hold businesses accountable for protecting your data by giving you, the consumer, transparency into who has access to it. For example, there is no legitimate reason why someone other than the website you are using should have access to your password, and Privacy Alert will tell you if they do.
Privacy Alert is easy to use, gives you fast results, and lets you know exactly what information you enter into a website could be stolen by hackers. All we ask is that you use the plugin and share the status of your favorite websites on your favorite social channel to make your friends aware. Because, as the saying goes (yes, I took some liberties), “Friends don’t let friends fall victim to an e-skimmer!”