To help combat the growing number of data breaches and incidents of online consumer identity theft, Kemesa today announced the general availability of Shop Shield, a new global standard for secure transacting.
Shop Shield prevents online identity theft by replacing personal and financial information with anonymous, untraceable data each time a consumer makes a purchase online, pays a bill or registers at a website. With Shop Shield, personal information can't be stolen, because it's never revealed during the online transaction process.
Shop Shield is available now for a free 60-day trial at shopshield.net and as a Firefox browser-based add-on. To learn more, following is a link to a brief, animated video, "What is Shop Shield," shopshield.net/the_complete_solution.html.
Shop Shield is the first product to meet the Identity Theft Resource Center's (ITRC) "recommended performance characteristics" required for classification as a Secure Payment Agent (SPA), as defined in the ITRC's recently published SPA white paper.
The ITRC, as well as other experts, have long recognized that the ideal solution to the online identity theft problem is to not transmit personal information to websites in the first place: no email addresses, passwords, phone numbers, billing information, credit card number, not even your name, should be necessary.
"The root of consumers' fear about the safety of shopping on the Internet is linked to the vast amount of data being shared with vendors, and the fact that there is little control over what happens to that information once it's been submitted in order to pay a bill or make a purchase," said Jay Foley, executive director of the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). "We feel strongly that the emerging class of Secure Payment Agent products will effectively address these consumer concerns by allowing them to shop anonymously."
How It Works: Shop Worry Free
Shop Shield consists of two components that can be used at just about any site. The Companion enters anonymous data into requested website fields, and the Shop Shield website securely monitors and stores all transaction details. The Companion will automatically launch and auto-fill fields necessary to complete a purchase with anonymous identity and payment information at an ever-growing number of major sites. The Companion can also be launched manually at any site by clicking on the Shop Shield icon in the browser tool bar. When you are at a computer that doesn't have The Companion, you can use Shop Shield directly from shopshield.net at any computer with an Internet connection.
Other important benefits and features of Shop Shield include:
- Widely Accepted: Shop Shield works at nearly every web merchant and bill pay site where credit cards are accepted, including most of the Internet Retailer Top 500 e-retailers. It can also be used at most non-transactional sites to
- Flexible, Anonymous Payment Options: For shopping or paying bills online, Shop Shield creates an anonymous, virtual VISA credit card and replaces all billing information. Shop Shield offers three types of anonymous cards to accommodate different payment situations: one-time use cards for single purchases; convenient, reusable credit cards for sites that are interacted with frequently; and travel reservation cards that are issued in the traveler's real name, while keeping everything else anonymous.
- Easily Tracks and Manages Account Activity: The Shop Shield website works with The Companion to report all anonymous payment and identity information it creates. Each transaction is summarized in one easy-to-read and accessible online activity report.
- Prevents Phishing, Spam and Viruses: Shop Shield helps prevent the most common threats facing consumers online including phishing, spam and viruses. Shop Shield automatically recognizes phishing sites and prevents the consumer from logging in and / or sharing information with them. Additionally, all incoming messages are checked for their authenticity and scrubbed for malware before being sent directly and without delay to users' inboxes. If users receive spam from a website with which they've used Shop Shield to interact with, they can simply deactivate the anonymous email address dedicated to that site.
Why It's Safe: Shop Shield Exceeds Industry Privacy Standards
The data that users provide to Shop Shield is secured using a combination of proprietary methods and established industry standards which, in combination, exceed federal banking standards and go beyond PCI compliance. Shop Shield is certified by leading industry secure transmission and auditing authorities including VeriSign and Trustwave. Consumer data is dynamically encrypted, stored in fragments, compartmentalized and then placed on independent networks that are both actively and passively monitored. As a result, even if all stored data were stolen, it would be completely useless.
"Despite the best efforts of PCI and related standards, the majority of identity thefts continue to begin online. The only way for a consumer to effectively prevent the breach of personal and financial information is to not reveal the information in the first place," said Steve Bachenheimer, founder and CEO, Kemesa. "Shop Shield is the first product to truly protect consumers by allowing them to making all of their information completely anonymous and untraceable."
Availability and Technology Requirements
Shop Shield is available now for a free, no-obligation 60-day trial. Users can then choose from three membership plans, including a no-cost option.
The Shop Shield browser add-on (The Companion) is currently available on Firefox. System requirements for PCs are Windows XP or later and Firefox 3.0 or higher; Macs require Mac OS X and Firefox 3.0 or higher. An Internet Explorer version of the Shop Shield Companion will be available later this summer. The online version of Shop Shield can be used with any modern browser and both PCs and Mac devices.