Protect The Data From Your Smart Devices

Are you concerned about protecting the data from your smart devices?

Are you worried they may be transmitting data back to the manufacturer?

Not worried?

That’s because you don’t what sort of data they are gathering.

Does a smart toy need to collect a child’s interactions? Does your smart TV need to send data on your viewing habits to hundreds of other companies?

How to protect your smart device data

Most companies are less than transparent with users when it comes to telling them how they are collecting data, what data they are gathering, how they are using it, or whether they are selling it onto third parties.

It’s usually available if you know where to look for it. A hint – take a look at the impenetrable terms and conditions.

Here are a few steps you can take to protect your smart devices (courtesy of Bullguard):

  • Smart devices come with an app or web interface so you can set them to operate according to your preferences. Some have privacy controls so you can explore the app/web interface so see exactly what these controls are and whether you can adjust the settings to control the data that is collected and shared.

  • When you register a smart device or sign up for a service, set up a separate email account that you use specifically for this purpose. You can use different names and so on, so if something goes wrong, your actual data won’t be compromised.

  • Google and Apple are increasingly taking steps to protect privacy. B their operating systems, now give you greater control over what data smartphone apps can access. Check the settings menus in your device for these features.

In addition to these, you should also:

  • Set strong passwords– To improve security you should set a strong yet but memorable password or passphrase. You should also do this on your router.
  • Keep your software up to date –  Some smart devices will update automatically, but it’s worth checking the device or app periodically.
  • Voice-controlled smart devices, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, are vulnerable to the simplest hack – someone else talking to them. You can turn off voice purchasing from the Echo’s Alexa app, or you can set up a four-digit passcode to give an extra layer of security.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, and surrounding villages.

Find Out What Information Google Has On You (And How To Delete It)

Google and in the information it holds on you

 

Google, Facebook, and all the other tech goliaths are discovering that it’s not OK to gather the data of internet users.

We won’t stand for it anymore.

The problem is that our lives are inextricably linked with the online world. Whether we like it or not, every keyboard click weakens our grasp on your privacy.

Although there is no a magic way of stopping your data being harvested, we will show you how to download all the information Google holds on you as a user of its many products.

Find out what Google knows about you

Finding out what data has been collected is remarkably easy.

All you have to do is visit the search giant’s Takeout Tool.

On the left of the screen that appears is an extensive list of Google products. To the right is a slide button to choose the information you want to download.

Be warned though; the files are likely to be enormous.

How to delete the information Google has on you

By now, you’re probably horrified and want to delete all or some of the information you’ve found.

We haven’t got the space here to talk you through each product, but as an example, here’s how to delete the information help through Google Maps:

  • Sign into Google Maps. Click the menu bar and three horizontal lines, and a drop-down menu appears
  • Choose ‘history’ at the bottom and you will be presented with ‘My Activity’ page
  • On the left hand side, you choose ‘Delete activity by’
  • A page appears that gives you the option of deleting your activity for ‘all time’ or specific dates
  • The activities include Books, Google Play Store, Image Search, Maps and Search
  • On the left hand side of the ‘My Activity’ page, you also have the option to manage your data via ‘Other Google activity’

It’s pretty scary what information is stored on us these days, but you have to balance that with the convenience of life online.

Only you can decide what you’re happy with.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Facebook’s Violation Of Our Privacy Also Affects Android Users

Facebook data breach hits Android users

It has come to light that if you have the Facebook Messenger installed on your Android device, there’s a fair chance that the social media giant has been collecting contacts, SMS and call history data until at least last year.

According to a recent article on BullGuard‘s blog:

This discovery was made by a New Zealand-based programmer who downloaded a ZIP file from Facebook and much to his surprise discovered it included complete logs of incoming and outgoing calls, SMS messages and contacts.

Why affect Android?

The problem is, Google’s Android is an ‘open’ platform. This means companies and developers can tweak the operating system to meet their own needs.

Initially, Android API permissions weren’t very strict. So, in older versions of Android, the Facebook app took away contact permission at the time of installation. As a result, it was allowed to access call and message data automatically.

Eventually, Google changed the way Android permissions worked. But third-party developers like Facebook were able to bypass this change. As a result, it continued accessing call and SMS data until Google released a new version of the Android API in October last year.

How to stop Facebook’s data gathering

The easiest way to spoil Facebook’s party is to turn off the continuous uploading setting in the Facebook Messenger app. Just remember though that this change will also delete all your previously uploaded contacts.

Just in case you were wondering why Apple’s users aren’t affected, it’s because Apple’s iOS has never allowed silent access to call data.

If you’re concerned about what data Facebook holds about you, BullGuard offer this advice:

  • Go to the arrow at the top right hand side of your Facebook home page.
  • Click on this and then scroll down and click on Settings
  • This will take you to General Account Settings
  • Beneath your settings information you will see Download a copy of your Facebook data
  • Click on this and it will take you through to a page where you will see a green button and Download Archive
  • Click on this and the data will download though you have to add in your password to a pop-up box before the process starts
MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.