At least one in five online accounts gets hacked according to surveys by Google (in the United States) and by the University of Kent (in England). Every day, hackers steal the data of millions of credit cards, from banks, retail stores, even government websites.
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The figure could be as high as one in four; and sometimes we don't even know our identity has been "stolen" until well after the fact.
Anti-viral software protects your machine. LogDog Information Security has set out to protect your accounts, explains the startup's head of marketing, Omri Toppol. At least, if you own an android smartphone.
Antivirus programs spot malware based on their database of viruses and other online nasties, and always after the fact. LogDog tells you it's happening NOW.
Its app, which is confined to androids at this stage, alerts the user in real time to a hacking attack on an account – Facebook, Gmail, Dropbox and so on. (The company anticipates starting service to iPhones too in three months.)
"An anti-virus is like a lock to the house. Today a stronger lock, as it were, doesn't work. It's a war and the cyber-criminals are winning," says Toppol.
Why start with an app for phones rather than software for computers? Because the sort of people who have online accounts also tend to have smartphones that they carry around with them.
"The phonies the best agent to tell us what is happening with our accounts," says Toppol.
Note that your Facebook and Gmail use could be confined to your computer: even if you never access them by phone, the LogDog app is appropriate – it will warn you of attack, sending a text message to your phone, Toppol explains.
LogDog was launched a year and a half ago and operated "under the radar" until now, says Toppol.
"If someone steals your password, it's usually a professional thief who knows how to search the account to find sensitive documents, records and credit card information," he adds.
The germ of the idea was when a hacker hijacked the Gmail account of Logdog CEO Uri Brison's wife, Ayelet. The hacker changed her password and effectively, she lost control of her account. "It's hell trying to restore the account to your ownership," says Toppol. "The earlier you know somebody's trying to access your account, the better you can control it."
One thing the Logdog system does is look for incongruities. "For example, it makes no sense that you'd try to access an account from New York and an hour later from Tel Aviv," Toppol explains.
The client can choose to do one of three things: confirm that all is well; tell Logdog to ignore the alert this time only; or press the Fix button, to change his password via the app.
Launched a month ago, LogDog boasts 10,000 downloads from the online store.
Based on its brief experience, Toppol says, Facebook seems more prone to problems than the Google account: "In this month's survey we found that although there were about the same amount of Gmail and Facebook accounts in the survey, almost twice - 1.7 times - as many alerts were received for Facebook than for Gmail."
So you possess all my passwords?
"No! We made very sure not to be the 'single point of failure', so don't save passwords on our servers. The app on your device knows the passwords, samples the accounts and checks whether there has been an attempt to penetrate the account. The information we receive is statistical only and totally anonymous."
As of now LogDog protects Google, Dropbox, Yahoo, Facebook and Evernote accounts. Soon it will also protect Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
"Our basic service is free and will remain free. In future the app may make it possible to protect more specific accounts, like your bank account for example, or we may provide solutions for organizations, and for that we will charge money," Toppol says. "Because we're already receiving requests from customers who want to understand who or what is trying to access their account, we may start a business model with human operators."