Online identity theft is a major issue, so the proliferation of phishing sites and Trojans that can expose personal details means everyone has to be careful about where they enter financial details. Protection is increasingly built into security suites, but Confidential is one of the first dedicated applications to protect your identity online.

The program works in two ways. It is a browser-based toolbar that warns of potentially hazardous sites. It also works through the Protection Center, which includes an InfoVault to protect and encrypt your passwords. The Protection Center monitors your PC and its level of protection. This includes a close look at any transactions that take place online.

While experienced users are canny enough not to follow links from dodgy emails, the way in which phishing sites have extended over the past few months means plenty of apparently innocent links from search engines can be dangerous.

Internet Explorer 7.0 now includes phishing protection as standard, but Confidential's facilities are more robust and will prevent dangerous pages from loading. If you use the McAfee Security Center, however, the level of protection is comparable.

Confidential integrates neatly with Symantec's Security Suite. Together they are able to encrypt sensitive information, meaning that you can have pretty much complete confidence in the safety of your personal data. However, for advanced users there are free tools that will enable you to do this.

Norton Confidential 2007: Specs

  • 300MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon
  • Windows XP
  • 256MB RAM
  • 125MB hard disk space
  • Internet Explorer 6.0
  • 300MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon
  • Windows XP
  • 256MB RAM
  • 125MB hard disk space
  • Internet Explorer 6.0

OUR VERDICT

Confidential is good for securing your information, but at £30 for one year's support it's no bargain. Symantec has seen a gap in the market that needs filling, but these are features that are starting to be integrated into other security suites – albeit less effectively. If you already use Symantec software and want peace of mind now, this is quite a good buy. Otherwise, expect to see most of these features as standard in the next round of upgrades.

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