Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MaskMe keeps your identity secure on the Web

A new freemium service, MaskMe, launched on Monday. MaskMe, from Abine, which is also behind DoNotTrackMe, allows a user to generate and use faux email addresses, credit card numbers, and even telephone numbers that "masks" their true information.

These aliases, or Masks, are managed by a Google Chrome or Firefox extension. The service is free for site logins and email addresses, but if you upgrade to the premium service ($5 per month) you gain access to the credit card and phone number features.

Email masking is simple to understand. You can generate a new address any time they like (see the slideshow), and emails sent to this new address are forwarded to your master address. This makes it easy to block unwanted email by using what Abine calls the "unsubscribe button that always works." Since each Masked email address is tied to a single site, it's easy to know exactly who gave it to a marketer if it ever gets spammed.

Masked logins are really no-different than a password generation and storage tool (a la LastPass). Whenever you are asked for a password in a web form, you will get a popup from MaskMe (slideshow) asking if like an auto-generated password.

These passwords are encrypted and stored on Abine’s servers. If you have a password solution already in place, you can disable this portion of the service.

If you go premium, Abine will give you a single Masked phone number that you can use instead of your own. Calls to the masked number are forwarded to your real phone number. Of course, you could just use a Google Voice number, instead. As with Google Voice, you can block access to your faux number from specific numbers with a click.

The Masked credit card feature lets you create new, disposable credit card numbers on the fly. Some banks also have this sort of feature for their clients, but the service isn't as popular (translation: isn't being offered as much because it costs the credit card issuer money) as before.

Charges get sent to your real card as purchases from Abine itself, and charges to your virtual cards are handled by payment processing company WEX. There are no fees other than the premium subscription.

There are free iOS and Android apps as well which can be used to manage your stored logins and Masked emails while you are on the go, but they require the $5 monthly premium subscription. The extensions and apps are available now for download.

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