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My Digital Identity

Sharp Perspectives on Identity, Security, and Privacy

Best Free Anti-Virus Utilities

I was just asked recently what my recommendations are for best free anti-malware software. I checked my previous recommendations and was shocked that they were made 10 years ago. My how time flies but thankfully sometimes recommendations can stand the test of time.

PCMag just made a new set of recommendations (March 1 2016) for free Anti-virus protection software

I have had good experiences with AVG, Panda, and Checkpoint. My experience with Checkpoint is with their ZoneAlarm firewall which works well but has a lot of ads. Good to see that AVG and Panda are still top rated and in business after all these years.

Consumer Affairs also has a fairly detailed roundup of anti-virus product reviews which could be useful to consult if you want to include commercial software at various prices.

10 Reasons Why You Should Search Using DuckDuckGo

If you care about your privacy you really should consider DuckDuckGo as your search engine. You get the privacy benefits and you don’t sacrifice on quality as it is a full featured and powerful alternative to Google and other search engines. This article has been lightly edited from the original article on the hongkiat web site.

10 Reasons Why You Should Search Using DuckDuckGo:

These days, mostly, a search engine is the only source of information whenever someone is seeking the answer of a problem or a query. Usually, we carry out our search queries over the most popular search engine which is asked more than 3 billion search queries around the globe daily.

But, some other search engines with sound features are also available for users. One of the prominent search engines is DuckDuckGo and it comes with some amazing features. In this post, we are going to look at 10 reasons why you should make DuckDuckGo your favorite search engine.

1. Protect The Privacy Of Your Searches

When using, each one of our search queries is tracked because Google needs the information to provide to its ad paying customers and uses this information to make our future search results more customized and relevant. Check out how you can use this to your advantage.

However, our search queries will reflect personal and intimate details about ourselves (e.g. health symptoms and how to seek medical help for certain conditions), things that we would and should prefer to keep private. In such cases, many of us want real privacy to carry out our searches, preferring to opt out of tracking. DDG respects our privacy and by default doesn’t track our searches. It’s even in their tagline.

You can see and customize the privacy settings by clicking on Options Button > Advanced Settings > Privacy. Here, you can select that whether you want to get tracked while searching sites or whether you want the secure or insecure version of http. You can also define video playback settings under the privacy section.

2. Save Your Settings In The Cloud

DDG allows you to save browser settings over the cloud by entering a passphrase. It uses Amazon S3 storage services to do this. All you need to do is save the settings using a passphrase. You can then load these settings on any other computer, using the same passphrase.

Enable Cloud Save by going into Advanced Settings. Here you will see the Cloud Save option on the right.

Click on Save Settings, enter a passphrase and click on the Save button.

To use these settings on a different computer, just go to Advanced Settings > Load Settings, and enter the exact passphrase you used. Click the Load button to enable the settings.

3. Narrow Down Your Search by Region

While searching on DDG, a user can change the region settings to customize the search results to cater to the audience of a particular region. To do this, go to Advanced Settings > General > Region. Then choose the region you want to narrow down your search results to.

4. Search Results Are In Categories

DDG allows categorized search for a particular term or word. For instance, if height is searched in DDG then it will show top search results related to the term and search results related to mathematics, people, and places as shown below.

5. Retrieving Information with Fewer Clicks

Whenever a search is made via DDG, it usually provides an immediate, short answer. You don’t have to click in to retrieve the information. This is a handy feature which can save your time especially when you just need a quick definition or a brief big picture understanding of your query.

6. All Search Results Are on A Single Page

While using other search engines, usually results for an asked query are displayed on multiple pages. Around 90% of people check only the search results displayed on the first page. One reason may be the assumption that search results on the second page onwards are not so important, which isn’t true.

Keeping this factor in consideration, DDG displays all search results on just a single page. Just scroll down and more results will be loaded and displayed.

7. Ad-Free Search Engine

By default, DDG displays the relevant ads to the search queries but you can make searches without being subjected to the ads. To disable ads in search results, click on Advanced Settings > General > Advertisements > Off.

8. Searching with a !Bang

One of the best things about DDG is its !bang feature. The best way to explain how it works is to show you. On the Duckduckgo search bar, type in "!amazon breaking bad" (without the quotes) and press Enter.

This entered search query will take you straight to the Amazon website, where you can see the search results for "breaking bad" merchandise returned by the on-site search engine.

Although this doesn’t work for all sites, the command does support "hundreds" of sites. Check out the full list here. If you want to add a particular site to be supported, send your request here.

9. Cool Keyboard Shortcuts

There are many useful keyboard shortcuts you can use on DDG. For instance, you can use the j key or down arrow and k or up arrow for moving down and up the search results.

The other shortcuts are:

  • h for going to the search box
  • s:d to show the results in terms of date (new/latest will be displayed at the top of the results)
  • m for going to the main search result

The list of all shortcuts can be found here. You can enable or disable keyboard shortcuts via the Settings page.

10. Changing the Appearance

One can customize the appearance of DDG as per their taste. You can find this in Settings > Theme. There are so far 6 different themes to choose from: Default, Basic, Contrast, Dark, Retro and Terminal. Here is what the Retro theme looks like. Changes are instant.

You can also change the font styles, sizes, page widths, background colours, typeface and color for results, etc. This is under Settings > Appearance. All changes are reflected instantly. However for them to stick, you need to click Save and Exit near the bottom.

(Via Web design

CBC Newsworld Show on the Use of Online Photos

Yesterday CBC Newsworld had a show about a mother who was shocked to find that photos of her son that had been posted publicly on Flickr also showed up on an MTS Allstream site and a site in Portugal with comments on how cute he was. This was followed by the usual alarmist commentary and conclusion that the mother was taking all the photos off Flickr as if this was the only way to provide protection. There was no mention of the Flickr feature of identifying online photos as private so they could only be seen by designated friends and relatives and not be reposted by the general public to another web site. It is good to inform people of some of the risks of publishing information but it should include information on existing easily applied protection that can be used.

Prospects for Open-ID

The following article is from Network World Identity Management by David Kearns.

It reviews the potential of Open-ID and references some recent questions raised about it by Kim Cameron who favours a solution that includes client side software implementation. Since Open-ID is evolving, with a new version 2 being developed, more information is needed to determine what the real issues and prospects are.

Read moreProspects for Open-ID

Hello world!

Welcome to My Digital Identity. This site is devoted to topics on digital identity, online security, and privacy. These are exciting times with many new developments and issues associated with the internet being enhanced with identity based intelligence. Hopefully this site can contribute useful resources and information for people interested in online identity topics.