Most people seem pretty aware of anti virus software nowadays, at least on desktops machines, if not smartphones and tablets but there are other risks out there is the big bad web that also need guarding from and BullGuard think that an all in one swiss army knife approach isn’t the best way to do it. They’ve released a product called BullGuard Identity Protection, that works in conjunction with Experian, one of the large credit rating agency’s to pick up any issues early on. You wont have trouble guessing what it does, because the names fairly clear.
Bullguard isn’t so much a programme you install, rather it’s a service you subscribe to. Inasmuch as Bullguard say the service works on all platforms, computers (Mac & PC) and smartphones, it does so by being a web site that you log in to. On smartphones nowadays this often means you get a specific platform tailored site that looks a lot like an app, and this proved to be the case when we tried it out. We got a boxed activation code from the Tots 100 to review, and it proved fairly easy to set up.
The specifics of what Bullguard Identity Protection does are interesting. The service is twofold- it monitors your details online- like credit card and bank details- and alerts you when they’ve been compromised. The monitoring is interesting because once you’ve given Bullguard your details, it scans sites that trade phished* card details against it’s database of customers. If your details come up you’ll get an immediate SMS and email warning you it’s time to contact your bank or card issuer. Of course your card details might have been compromised entirely without your involvement- sites like Sony and Adobe have been hacked in the last year or so and login credentials stolen. If you have card details registered with them, it’s entirely possible somebody else does now too.
In case you’re asking, hang on a tick, what if Bullguard get hacked themselves? I’ve just given them all my card details and that’s jolly ironic, worry not because they don’t store your whole card number, they omit some of the digits. Ha, that makes sense doesn’t it?
The other part of the package is called social media protection but in reality is Facebook protection. It doesn’t cover any of the other sites that are popular with kids like Ask.FM or BBM, twitter, Snapchat or whatever. Having said that, Facebook is still the worlds largest social media site, and the way in which it integrates is pretty good, albeit with the intention of allowing you monitor pretty much everything your kids do on it. You get a dashboard on the Bullguard website dedicated to looking at potential issues with your kids. It will flag up images posted with iffy file names in their stream, malicious links sent to them (either in stream or via private message). As an added bonus the kids get a plugin on FB that shows issues too. I’ll admit we haven’t tried this part as our kids are all under half the age necessary for having a FB account, but from reading around the web it seems to work quite well. Given the amount of bullying that does go on via social media, this could be an important step in the right direction to getting bullied kids help early on. There’s a good infographic on it here.
Bullguard Identity Protection is available on a subscription based model at £35 a year.
*if you want to read more about this, check out my post here