Tagged With privacy
With near-daily news about data breaches, hacks, and privacy problems, it’s not unreasonable to want to disappear from the internet. Maybe you’re sick of horribly embarrassing things showing up when potential employers Google your name. Or tired of everyone knowing you live in a garden level dungeon apartment? Or perhaps you just don’t like the fact that existing online makes you easy to find.
Facebook is starting out 2020 by updating the Privacy Checkup tool it introduced back in 2014, which makes it easier for users to find and change several important account settings. To be honest, outside of some visual flair and updated explanations for each setting, it’s not much of an upgrade—and also still doesn’t include all privacy and security features available to users.
Deleting an app from your smartphone takes mere seconds, but you need to do more than just uninstall the app if you’re trying to remove your data or stop it from accessing other accounts—which some apps continue to do long after they’ve left your phone. To prevent this, make sure you delete/unlink your account and any data that it might contain before uninstalling an app. Here are some tips to make sure you make a clean break from apps you no longer want to use.
We saw a lot of unpleasant data breaches this year. So many, that I’d be surprised if you weren’t affected by at least one, if not more. And while I’m not looking forward covering even more calamity in 2020, I think it’s important to take a look back at some of the year’s worst, biggest, and most annoying hacks that affected you and your data.
First off, it’s “ToTok,” not “TikTok.” One is a messaging app that turned out to be spyware for the United Arab Emirates; the other is that quirky video app that people use to lipsync with their cats to make funny memes. Keep doing that, but definitely remove ToTok from your device if you’re one of the millions of people who installed it, because it’s totally bogus.
Internet ads are so invasive that we can’t blame you for thinking that Facebook is listening to you talk. It’s probably not, but it is helping ad networks track you across the internet and across your apps. In 2018, tech public policy expert Chris Yiu tweeted 14 different ways that ads follow you around the internet, even when you’re logged out, in incognito, using a different browser, or on a new device.
We all know that our phones and apps keep tabs on our locations—and it feels like most of us have come to terms with the fact that way too much of this data makes it into the hands of companies that want to advertise to us. The problem? No one really thinks about how that data is actually being stored, or how anonymous it isn’t.
Much has been written about the security of Amazon’s Ring Cameras. I still maintain that most of the issues people are discovering with the company’s security all require an attacker to know your user name and password—something you can help prevent by using a strong, unique password for your account. But don’t stop there.
Not everything has to be a platform for something else, and that’s especially true in your smarthome. While you can supplement your smart speakers with skills, actions, and apps—we’re mainly talking about the Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home devices—you should think twice about what you’re installing. Vulnerabilities that have yet to be corrected by either company could open you up to phishing or eavesdropping by a malicious developer.
Google Photos has received several big updates recently, but now the app has a full-on messaging service that you can use to swap photos and carry on conversations between your contacts.
If you’re still on the hunt for a gift, here’s why you might want to avoid those grocery store gift cards, as tempting as they are when you’re desperate. Over for the Colorado Springs Gazette, several consumers reported having purchased gift cards from places like Walmart and local groceries—only to find the balance wiped shortly after leaving the store.
An annoying lock screen bug has been bothering some unlucky Android users for months now, locking them out of their devices by way of a weird authentication loop. The bug has been present as far back as September, when it was originally spotted on Pixel XL devices. It remains unfixed and, worse, seems to be cropping up for even more Android owners. Here's what you need to know (and how to fix it.)
Even when you're covering your tracks by opening a new incognito window, your web browsing history might not be as private as you think. Information about what you do online, down to every single URL, can likely be purchased on the web by anyone who wants it. And while in most cases people are making those purchases for marketing reasons, they could choose to use their newfound knowledge maliciously as well.
There are many reasons why you might want to track some of the locations you visit in Google Maps, but maybe not all of them. You might not want your friends and loved ones (with access to your phone or account) to know you hit up the local dispensary. Perhaps you’re planning a surprise party for someone and need to visit the venue a few times to prepare. You could also be paranoid about location-tracking; that’s fine, too.
In your decade(s) of internet use, you’ve probably created dozens, if not hundreds, of user accounts—for online retailers, gaming sites, messaging services, social media apps, and more. If you no longer want or need access to these accounts, take an afternoon to track down and delete what’s outdated.