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updated: 3/6/2014 2:30 PM

New app offers consumer protection for devices

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  • Bob Hanson

      Bob Hanson

  • ViaProtect is an app that provides quality protection on devices.

      ViaProtect is an app that provides quality protection on devices.
    COURTESY OF VIAFORENSICS

  • A screenshot of ViaProtect is an app that provides quality protection on devices.

      A screenshot of ViaProtect is an app that provides quality protection on devices.
    COURTESY OF VIAFORENSICS

 
 

Bob Hanson of Cary wants to make sure consumers have enterprise-quality protection on their devices.

That means, get a free download of ViaProtect, an app that offers technology, on the same level used by businesses, in order to protect your privacy and avoid identity theft, said Hanson, vice president of sales for Oak Park-based ViaForensics.

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It's available at Apple's App Store or Android's Google Play store, he said.

It also serves another purpose to parents looking to keep tabs of what children are doing on their divides.

"As a parent of three children, I can see what's going on," Hanson said. "It gives me the ability to see what is going on with my device and on my kids' devices, what percent of the traffic is encrypted and if there are any areas of concern."

ViaForensics, which works with enterprise clients, announced the app last month during a security conference in San Francisco. The company said it is offering ViaProtect for free because it wants to help protect consumers from unintentionally connecting to other devices or installing unwanted or unknown software. The company said ViaProtect isn't being used to track consumer habits but only to help them protect their devices, Hanson said.

From apps installed to Wi-Fi scans, network connections to tampering, viaProtect uses sensors to collect data and then the risk to your devices.

"It tells me where are my kids' devices going? What are those devices talking to?" Hanson said.

He said that he and his family started using it and found that the app indicated one device was actually communicating with another in Russia.

"You're able to drill down and see what was installed and what it's doing on the device. Then you can have it uninstalled," Hanson said.

Besides offering a way to find out what is taking place on your device, it also provides an opportunity to have a dialogue with your children, he said.

"Ten or 15 years ago, e-commerce was part of the Wild West and IDs were regularly stolen. But if we can educate consumers today, and realize that every employee is a consumer, too, then something like this can be installed on all devices to protect everyone," Hanson said.

After all, a lot of consumers use their personal devices at work or for work, he said.

"If we can get this into the consumer hands for free, it could generate awareness and education," Hanson said.

Surfing: Gratafy, an app that allows you to send gifts of restaurant meals or drinks, is now available in the Chicago area. Gratafy has formed relationships with nearly 400 restaurants in the Seattle, Los Angeles and now the Chicago area markets, including Seattle's Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Tom Douglas and Tavern Law, as well as Los Angeles-based Chaya Restaurant Group, Paiche, Picca, The Hudson and The Churchill. Merchants new to the platform in the Chicago area include Roka Akor, Tanta, Shaw's Crab House, Hubbard Inn and John Barleycorn, among others.

• Aurora-based Bernina of America, a manufacturer of sewing, embroidery and quilting machines, has launched a contest called the Faceplate Face-off that lets Facebook fans choose the two faceplate designs for the 2015 Bernina 350 Special Edition (B 350 SE). The contest, March 17 through April 14, allows Facebook fans who "like" the Bernina Facebook page to also cast one vote per day for one of 10 faceplate designs submitted by the industry's best designers. The two designs receiving the most votes will win. Additionally, one Facebook fan who voted will be randomly selected to win a B 350 SE featuring the design receiving the most votes. For more, visit the Bernina Facebook page at www.facebook.com/berninausa.

• Northwest PC Repair has opened in Crystal Lake to offer full-service IT consulting. It specializes in fixing desktops, tablets and laptops (both hardware and software issues), virus removal, data backup, upgrades, tune ups, and iPhone screen replacements, among other services.

• Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter. Write to her at akukec@dailyherald.com.

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