ORLANDO, Fla. – Every time you shop online, you're letting strangers into your life, showing them what you eat, what you wear; it's all out there. It's not just when you shop -- anytime you're surfing the web, your activity can be tracked. It's the big data companies that are doing it, and it's all in the name of marketing.
"They have been slowly but surely creating individual personally identifiable dossiers on every man, woman and child they can get their hands on," said Eric Delisle, CEO of Orlando-based DigiThinkIT. "Why? Because it's worth a lot of money."
That's one major reason why Delisle said his team has created a brand new device called the iCloak Stik, that essentially keeps you invisible online.
"We really tried to do something for the average non-technical person, so that they could protect themselves," said Delisle.
The iCloak Stik looks like a simple USB device, but it actually contains and uses its own operating system. In layman's terms, you basically plug it in, reboot your machine, and the iCloak Stik starts covering your tracks.
The device has its own skin, which means your browser and screen will show the software's look. Once you boot up, iCloak Stik checks out your local Internet connection options.
When you choose to connect to the net, Delisle said that's when the anonymizing begins.
"It's loading up multiple connections around the world, and it's making my traffic go get scrambled or bounced around the world so that when it comes out to whatever website I'm going to visit, it won't know where I am or who I am," said Delisle.
That means anyone tracking your online activity won't be able to correlate the website you're on with the IP address of your machine, or your location. But that's not all the device can protect you from. The iCloak Stik can also help protect you from criminal hackers.
"One of the most common ways that someone can be targeted and their bank account can be compromised is by using a series of exploits on an individual," said Delisle. "So if I wanted to get into your bank account, the very first thing that I would probably do is some kind of phishing attempt against you. I would send some kind of an email that looks like I'm a family member or friend to get to infect your computer in the first place. Then, I would use something like a Trojan or some kind of back door that allowed me to monitor your key strokes and watch your screen."
That's where the iCloak Stik comes in. The device carries its own Linux-based operating system, which completely replaces yours when you're using the iCloak Stik. Because the virus affects only your machine's operating system, when you replace it, you can't be monitored.
"When you're in an iCloak session and you've just rebooted and you're using iCloak to get into your bank account, you know no one is monitoring your key strokes," he said. "You know someone's not seeing your screen, so you're much more protected."
The iCloak Stik also has a password management tool that allows you to carry your passwords with you anywhere, fully encrypted.
The company is also offering a pro version, which comes with more capabilities and allows you to do more privately.
"The pro version adds productivity tools," said Delisle. "We've added additional applications so you can do things like editing a Word document or spreadsheets or using emails or messaging in a private and anonymous way."
Delisle acknowledges that technology is always changing, but said keeping ahead of the hackers is something DigiThinkIT is focused on.
"We're using all the best tools, the best kinds of encryption, we are constantly on the edge of where the real good stuff happens in the hacker communities," Delisle said. "There isn't, in my opinion, a perfect anything. I don't think iCloak is perfect, certainly there is probably some way of doing something against it, but it's 1,000 times better than nothing."
He said for most people, that's all they need to protect their information. But he did say as techniques change, the company plans to offer free downloadable updates for the software.
You can pre-order the iCloak Stik now for $45, or the iCloak Stik Pro for $90. Shipping is expected to start later this month.