Google and mobile operating systems top privacy concerns, says Kaspersky

Using data collected by its Privacy Checker website, Kaspersky was able to identify areas of concern for visitors seeking to improve their privacy protection.

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Using data collected over nearly two years, Kaspersky said its website Privacy Checker indicates that most visitors are concerned about the privacy of the mobile operating system and the privacy of their data captured by Google.

Kaspersky Privacy Checker is a free website where users can choose from three privacy levels (relaxed, medium or strict), four operating systems (Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android) and a variety of web services (Instagram, Facebook , Google, etc.) for personalized steps to enable privacy protection features.

For example, I chose a medium privacy level on MacOS for Google services. The information I receive from Privacy Checker contains steps to enable two-factor authentication, limit the visibility of my Google profile, prevent others from viewing my searches and web histories, and check the security of my passwords stored and block access of third parties to my Data.

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The data Kaspersky used for its User Privacy Report is the data I entered there to get my recommendations, and it gathered this data (anonymized to prevent user identification) from December 2019 to August 2021. The specific data included in the survey is for clicks in which a visitor opened instructions for a particular service.

As mentioned above, mobile operating systems were a major concern for Privacy Checker users, with 21.2% visiting the page for this type of advice. Of these, Android (11.1%), Safety Rules for Android OS (7.3%), and WhatsApp Settings on Android (5.9%) were the most frequently clicked items.

Social media was also included in the results, and the most frequently read privacy guidelines were for Facebook (15.7%), Instagram (9.9%), and TikTok (8.1%). “Considering that its monthly active audience is four times smaller than that of Facebook, the numbers show that the privacy offered by TikTok is also of great concern to users,” Kaspersky said.

Kaspersky only mentioned one messaging app by name in its report: WhatsApp, with 13.9% of visitors looking for ways to protect their privacy on the Facebook-owned platform.

The data stored by online platforms and services can include a lot of sensitive data, such as IP addresses, comments, photos, geotags and even biometric data inferred from photos, said Kaspersky’s social media manager. , Sergey Malenkovich.

“Visitor statistics from the Privacy Checker project show that users have started to take an active interest in the privacy and security of their accounts and are looking to reduce their footprint where possible. The high share of requests related to TikTok indicates both an interest in the platform itself and user concerns about some of the brand’s data collection practices, ”said Malenkoivich.

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Privacy Checker is a great tool for anyone wondering how to protect themselves when using popular online services, but it doesn’t include all of the places people may be exposed to. For these cases, Kaspersky recommends several privacy protection strategies:

  • Do not put sensitive data, such as identity scans, etc. in a public cloud storage product. Store them locally or in an encrypted archive.
  • Use private browsing to avoid internet trackers.
  • Protect your primary email address and phone number. Use email anonymization services like Apple Email Privacy Protection, or have an alternate address handy for online shopping and other cases where personal information needs to be shared . A Google Voice number or other free phone number service can also be useful for similar situations.
  • Regularly check the permissions you have granted to mobile apps and browser extensions. Do not grant permission for anything that seems unnecessary to the function of the app.
  • Always use a password, password, or biometric security for the device.

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