"These individuals are no longer pranksters," Ray Dickenson, CTO of Authentium, told WalletPop in a phone interview referring to malware and virus creators, "they are highly motivated criminals." Because of their determination and the high potential for reward, virus writers repeatedly prove to be a step ahead of the anti-virus products that safeguard your entire operating system. Authentium, which also makes an anti-virus product, created Safe Central to address these issues. Instead of keeping a large operating system clean, Safe Central focuses on the security of the web. By doing so it is able to lock down a smaller set of files and provide safe web sessions.
"Security without sacrifice," is how Ray describes the Safe Central browser to WalletPop. He admits that there are several other options out there for users who want to take a do-it-yourself approach to web safety, though these options require more effort, technological know-how and, most notably, lack the Secure DNS protection that Safe Central employs.
Such options include doing all of your banking and shopping on one computer and owning a second computer that is used for entertainment and general browsing. Alternatively, you can use a live CD such as Ubuntu to start with a clean system each time you want to do banking, but, some users will not be comfortable with a new operating system and you have to take a few minutes to shutdown and boot into a safe environment.
Safe Central, on the other hand, is another browser that installs alongside Firefox or Internet Explorer which users can switch to with one click for safe and secure shopping. Safe Central even has plugins for Firefox and Internet Explorer which can detect that you are visiting a banking, or other important site, and prompt you to switch over to Safe Central -- bringing the page along for a seamless experience.
The transition to Safe Central is quick, with a screen sliding across your monitor to show you the safer computing environment. Once inside Safe Central, you'll notice that it offers a familiar browsing experience because it is a modified version of Firefox but it doesn't allow most of the extensions you may be used to using in order to keep Safe Central more secure.
Safe Central provides several protections over traditional browsers, one of the most important being that Safe Central uses Authentium's own Secure DNS to prevent DNS redirects. "This means, when you type in mybank.com, you won't end up at mybadbank.com," said Ray. "We don't assume that your local DNS is secure." This type of protection is increasingly important as criminals have found it is easier to redirect you to a copy of a prominent banking website than to hack into the actual bank site.
Safe Central protects you against keyloggers which record everything you type in order to learn your user names and passwords. Safe Central also stops screen-stealing programs from grabbing images of what is on your screen, preventing criminals from stealing your account numbers and other personal information that is shown on the screen when banking or trading stocks online.
Perhaps the most incredible feature of Safe Central is that even if your computer is infected with spyware, because of its locked down nature, it can still protect your online web browsing from threats.
Safe Central is available for a 14 day free trial and normally runs $39.95 a year for use on 3 computers, but Safe Central is extending an offer to WalletPop readers to convert their free trial into a year's subscription for $19.95. To try out Safe Central, you need to create an account, but you don't have to enter in a credit card number, so if you decide against purchasing it you won't have to call and cancel anything.