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While the threats on our online accounts are increasing day by day, there are still some special privacy tools that can help us keep our personal details safe and secure. Today, January 29 is Data Privacy Day and in this post, we will learn about the Google Privacy Checkup Tool. The tool allows you to harden your Privacy settings and make your Google online accounts like YouTube, Search, Ads, Google Plus, Hangouts, Communities, etc., safer and more private.

Google is one of the most commonly used web-portal and much of our personal details and information are stored here. This special tool from Google offers 4-step privacy controls and helps us make our online account safer.

Google Privacy Checkup Tool See how your profile appears to the public

To begin with, Google Privacy Checkup Tool lets you set how your Google plus profile appears to the visitors. Here you can decide which of your details will be visible to the public and which will be private. Google Plus has a different tab for all you have on your G+ account. For example, you can choose if the public visiting your G+ account can see your photos, videos, reviews, or the content you are sharing.

While the threats on our online accounts are increasing day by day, there are still some special privacy tools that can help us keep our personal details safe and secure. In this post, we will learn about the Google Privacy Checkup Tool.

See how your profile appears to the public

To begin with, Google Privacy Checkup Tool lets you set how your Google plus profile appears to the visitors. Here you can decide which of your details will be visible to the public and which will be private. Google Plus has a different tab for all you have on your G+ account. For example, you can choose if the public visiting your G+ account can see your photos, videos, reviews, or the content you are sharing. If you don’t want anyone to see your photos, videos, +1s, or reviews, turn them off. In short, this tool lets you hide everything from a stranger visiting your profile.

You can also decide what others see about you on your Google Plus page. For example, you can decide to show or hide your contact details, education, date of birth, and work history. 

You can decide if or not you want the world to see which Google Communities you are a member of and whatever you post on that communities. 

From the tab ‘edit your shared endorsements settings’, you can decide if the world can see your endorsements, recommendations and reviews or not. 

Help People Connect You

Here you can set if people with your phone number find and connect with you on Google services like Google Hangouts, or not. Also, let the world find your name, photo, and other information that you’ve made visible on Google. You can add your phone number to your Google account

Manage what you share on YouTube

Under this tab, you can select how much of your YouTube activity is visible to your Google Plus friends or to the public. You can also show or hide your YouTube activities like your saved playlists, subscriptions, and liked videos. This Google Privacy Checkup Tool also lets you make your playlist public, private or unlisted. You can adjust or change the privacy settings at any time.

Personalize your Google experience

This tab of the Google Privacy Checkup Tool lets you choose what all information is shared with Google, for example, your Web & App Activity, your Location History, the information about the device you are logged in from, all your voice & audio activity, and YouTube Search/Watch History.

The web activity includes all your searches and your browsing history on all your devices with Chrome. It is always recommended to hide this information from strangers.

You can also activate the Auto-delete feature for your Google Search and YouTube history. The time period for Auto-delete is 3 months, 18 months, and 36 months. After activating this feature, your history will be deleted automatically after the set time period. However, you can also delete the history manually anytime.

Google Security Check-up includes:

Checking your recovery information

Checking your connected devices

Disabling access for less secure apps

Checking your account permissions

Google always keeps an eye on all your account activities and sends you an alert whenever there is some suspicious activity on your account.

How can I protect my privacy using Google?

You can use the Google Privacy Checkup tool to review and harden your privacy settings. It has several options that will help you protect your privacy. Google keeps a record of your search. You can set up Auto-delete for your web & app activity, location history, and YouTube history. You can also manage your Google account access by third-party apps.

Is Google Safety Check safe?

Google Chrome comes with a built-in Safety Check feature. Chrome Safety Check takes care of your privacy and security. It alerts you when your passwords are compromised, blocks dangerous websites by default, etc. Moreover, Android smartphones also come with a Play Protect feature which scans your smartphone for harmful apps.

Do also check the Facebook Privacy Checkup tool to have a safe and secure Facebook account and Google Plus Privacy and Security Settings to be safe on your Google Plus profile.

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Why Visiting Adult Websites Could Affect Your Security And Privacy?

Protect yourself from adult websites

The best option is to avoid visiting adult websites, but if you must, we suggest to keep reading to learn how to protect yourself from dangers. And make no mistake, there are a ton of dangers where adult websites are concerned, so always bear this in mind.

Some adult services on the web will spread malware

Worry about being tracked

You could face legal problems

Scams and frauds are associated with adult websites too

Your data leaking to the public is a possibility.

Apart from using a good strong Internet Security Suite, we recommend you take the following precautions.

1] Some adult services on the web will spread malware

TIP: If you see pop-ups, scan your PC with your antivirus software and one of these Browser Hijacker Removal Tools.

2] Worry about being tracked

Advertisers love to track users across the web, and the same goes for the ones supporting adult websites. These trackers can be used to gather your browsing history, so if you’re the type of person who watches adult content quite often, you should feel violated.

To escape this problem, please use a VPN service. We prefer folks to spend rather than use free VPNs. For those who are not willing to spend some cash, please use the private browsing option found in all major web browsers.

Anti-tracking extensions are also a great bet. We would like to recommend the extension from DuckDuckGo.

3] You could face legal problems

Watching or downloading these videos can lead to the authorities visiting your home. Try to avoid such situations at all costs.

4] Scams and frauds are associated with adult websites too

Most adult content on the web is available for free, but some websites want users to pay for premium content. Be careful of any website that requires a subscription fee to view content because your monthly fees could skyrocket.

They lure unsuspecting users in with free or affordable trials, and from there, a huge monthly fee is deducted each month. Its quite the scam, and it works.

However, the most troublesome, in our opinion, is ransomware. A website might install one of these malware onto your computer. It will likely get hold of your web history, and from there, the crooks behind it will threaten to release to the public unless money is paid to them.

The best way to solve such problems is to never download anything from these websites, or just use your imagination instead of visiting.

Read: How to best secure web browsers for Windows.

5] Your data leaking to the public is a possibility

OK, so if you must visit one of these many adult websites at 1 am in the morning for whatever reasons, how about never creating an account? Just stay anonymous and have a good time. You see, when an account is created, you put yourself at risk should hackers ever gain access to the website’s user data.

After every visit, we recommend using a junk remover like CCleaner and a good Browser Hijacker Removal Tool like AdwCleaner to scan your system, as a matter of abundant precaution.

Remember what happened to Ashley Maddison? You know, that dating website for married people. The slogan for the service is, “Life is short. Have an affair,” and many people did. Unfortunately for a lot of them, their information was leaked, and as such, their lives were turned upside down.

Related read: How to block adult websites in Windows.

Don’t ever fall into a situation like that. Simply refuse to use any adult website that requires your personal information.

Android 11: What Does It Bring To Your Privacy And Security?

Last week, Google announced the first developer preview release of the upcoming iteration of Android OS: Android 11. We already discussed some of the major features that are present in the earliest build of Android 11 while more of those are expected to come as we near the Google I/O 2023 event that’s set to happen later this year.

However, Google has already given us a glimpse of what to expect privacy-wise from Android 11. Here is a list of features that the Mountain View giant has added in terms of privacy and security inside Android 11.

RELATED: Samsung Android 11 update release date and device list

One-time Permission

Last year, Google updated its permissions manager by adding a new “Allow only while in use” access to your apps. With Android 11, the company is now expanding its focus on privacy by bringing one-time permission. You can grant an app access to your location, microphone, or camera for only a single time and the moment you move away from the app, the enabled permission will be switched off.

You can enable one-time permission for an app by selecting the “Only this time” option when prompted.

Scoped Storage

Android 10 was set to limit storage permissions to apps by restricting them to access only the directories required for usage. The feature never came into existence but with Android 11, Google is enforcing Scoped Storage on all apps that are targeting Android 11. This way your apps remain inside a data sandbox so that they cannot access data outside the parameters without your explicit permission.

The introduction of Scoped storage means that apps will no longer need to request permission to view and modify all the files in your storage.

Upgraded Biometric levels

Google is making it easier for developers to support all kinds of biometrics available across Android. BiometricPrompt will support three authenticator types – fingerprint, 3D facial recognition, or iris. In addition to that, Android 11 also brings different levels of granularity inside BiometricPrompt — strong, weak, and device credential. Developers can decide which level of biometric authentication granularity is needed for their app and request for the same.

Support for Identity credentials

With Android 11, Google has added support for secure storage and retrieval of verifiable identification documents. Android 11 Developer Preview 1 has finally started supporting ISO 18013-5 compliant mobile driving licenses

The new IdentityCredential API is supported by the Secure Processing unit inside Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 864 chipset but without support for Direct Access mode. This mode will allow users to verify their stored electronic ID even when their device is out of juice.

Reviewing and preventing apps with background location access

The company has updated its Google Play Policy to make sure apps can only request access to location when truly necessary. Google plans to roll out a modified Google Play policy with background location in focus and will enforce that all new apps (from August 2023) and existing apps (from November 2023) request background location only according to the new policy.

Last year, Google announced Project Mainline as a means to push security updates through Google Play. The company is now adding 12 new modules to the existing 10 modules under Project Mainline to cover as much range as is possible for updating via the Play Store. The new modules focus on rolling out changes in terms of permissions, performance and ensuring consistent APIs across different apps.


How To Test Your Vpn Connection For Privacy Leaks

When you rely on a VPN, you certainly don’t want your private information slipping out, revealing details about who you are, where you are, and which sites you’re visiting. That’s exactly what VPN leaks are. They either come from your browser or your DNS connection. In either case, bad configuration can completely subvert your VPN connection.

You should always test your VPN to make sure that nothing is leaking. It doesn’t take long, and there are several places online to check to be sure that you’re not revealing anything about yourself.

1. DNS Leak Test

The first and most obvious place to test your VPN is DNSLeakTest. It’s a site that’s designed to ensure that your DNS connection isn’t connecting to any servers outside your VPN.

DNS leaks are some of the most common VPN leaks. In a DNS leak your primary connection goes through your VPN like it should, but your DNS still goes to your ISP’s servers. Because your DNS reveals where you’re going and where you’re located, DNS leaks effectively render your VPN useless.

Open your browser and go to chúng tôi When you first arrive, you’ll see a message telling you where you’re located and showing you a map. If that location isn’t where your VPN server is located, something is definitely wrong. Hopefully, it is your server location, and you can keep going.

There are two buttons on that main screen, too: one for the standard test and another for the extended version. Run the extended test.

As the test runs through, it will try to find DNS servers that you’re using. When it completes, you’ll see the servers listed. In a successful test, you’ll only see your VPN’s DNS server.

2. DoILeak

Next, you can try Do I Leak. This one is an automated script that tests for both DNS leaks and browser leaks. Browser leaks are settings configured in your web browser that reveal information about you and your computer. They’re usually related to multimedia features, and most can be disabled without causing many issues.

The test will run through and probe multiple potential leak sources. After it’s done, it’ll print out the results of your tests in a convenient table. Each row will show you the results of a different test. Some things are more important than others.

3. BrowserLeaks

Take a look at the basic IP address test first. It’ll give you location and DNS information. From there, you can take a look around. Java, Flash, WebRTC, WebGL, and Canvas Fingerprinting are probably the most important ones for you to look at.

BrowserLeaks takes things a step further by providing information on how to remedy the leaks that it finds at the bottom of each test page. Be sure to check them out if something turns up.

4. Torrents

Finally, if you use your VPN for torrents, you want to make sure that you’re constantly protected. None of these tests specifically target torrenting. There is a great tool for torrents that actually interacts with your torrent client using a magnet link.

The tool is called ipMagnet, and it provides you with a magnet link that you can paste into your torrent client. Allow it to run for a while. It’ll update automatically in your browser to reflect what’s happening in your client. You should only see your VPN IP listed in the ipMagnet results table.

By using these valuable tools and tests, you can ensure that your VPN is working as intended, and your information is secure. It’s not a great situation that you need to run tests to verify security of your VPN connection, but that is the case. Fortunately, once you have everything configured and secured, you won’t need to test or check things as often. They usually stay secure.

Nick Congleton

Nick is a freelance tech. journalist, Linux enthusiast, and a long time PC gamer.

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5 Steps To Protect Your Staff’s Smartphone Data Privacy

Protecting confidential enterprise information from disclosure is a top priority for IT managers. Until recently, employee private data wasn’t even a concern because corporate servers and applications didn’t have any — users weren’t stashing their vacation photos on the enterprise document servers or mixing their work and personal text messages.

But now they are.

With the rise of smartphones as omnipresent work tools, things have suddenly changed, and IT managers are now managing devices that may have more personal than enterprise data on them.

Keeping the “personal” side of a smartphone secure is not just a question of ethics and privacy; those actions will also help keep everything on the device — enterprise and personal — more secure.

Here are some steps IT managers can take to configure staff smartphones for maximum protection of employee data and privacy.

1. Start with basic security settings and enforce with mobile device management (MDM)

Smartphones are easy to lose and are attractive targets for theft. So, securing against these events should be Step One both for employee privacy and enterprise self-protection. Even in the most relaxed bring-your-own-device (BYOD) program, protecting against loss and theft means there are some basic smartphone security options that every device should have at all times:

Setting long passcodes and requiring biometric authentication

Enabling automatic installation of security and application software updates

Restricting application choices to trusted stores

If the smartphone has an official enterprise MDM agent installed, then controlling these settings is easy and obvious. If not, the remote device management features that are built-in when the user links to corporate or cloud-based Exchange email servers can be used to control these most basic settings. Effectively, once the smartphone is linked to corporate email, you have basic MDM control over the device.

Getting these three settings on every employee’s smartphone will do more than anything else to keep personal data private. A fourth setting, enabling encryption, is worth mentioning — but since all modern smartphones already do this by default, IT managers’ main concern should be ensuring that encryption is not disabled by the user.

Enterprises that have a single smartphone platform may have additional options available. For example, if you’ve gone 100 percent Samsung, you can use the cloud-based Knox Configure to predefine security settings for all devices applied from the moment they’re powered on.

2. Secure data in motion

IT managers know they need to protect corporate data in motion by enabling end-to-end encryption between enterprise servers and enterprise smartphone applications. But they have almost no control over user applications that sit on the same devices, which deserve the same protections. The risks are particularly high when staff choose public Wi-Fi networks to save battery, data usage or speed communications, as there’s generally zero privacy assurance associated with these types of networks.

To build security on top of public Wi-Fi, IT managers can offer corporate VPN services that provide always-on protection by encrypting and tunneling all traffic — corporate and internet — back to an enterprise VPN server. This not only provides strong data encryption and privacy of all data and metadata but also gives the IT manager the opportunity to apply content filtering to the stream, block malicious websites and intercept known malware and viruses.

If backhauling both business and personal traffic to an enterprise data center or cloud point-of-presence isn’t a good option, IT managers can turn to any of the many cloud-based VPN services that are available to encrypt and anonymize traffic. A corporate subscription to one of these third-party services is a small operational expense that can provide an array of security services to staff smartphones.

Another option is to discourage all public Wi-Fi usage from the start. For example, if you’re negotiating with a carrier for a voice and data plan for all staff, go for one with an extremely high data cap — or none at all — so users aren’t tempted to jump on every public Wi-Fi network they find in order to save bits. At the same time, if you have MDM installed, you can use smartphone settings to keep data on carrier networks and off public Wi-Fi, such as requiring the user to launch Settings to pick a Wi-Fi network, rather than having a list of networks pop up every time the smartphone gets in range of an access point.

Whatever you do, back it all up with a strong user education campaign on the dangers of public Wi-Fi networks. Carrier data networks are not entirely trustworthy either, but they present a much lower risk to personal data. Make sure that users understand that even encrypted applications running over encrypted Wi-Fi networks can’t be trusted not to leak private and personal information.

3. Good backups and remote wipe go hand in hand

Remote wipe is a powerful tool that end users and help desks can use when a smartphone is lost, and this will be accessible to corporate IT staff as part of the MDM or email linkage of the device. At the same time, though, you have to ensure that personal and enterprise data are always backed up. Employees will hesitate to report a lost device or to wipe it themselves if they think that they’ll lose a lot of important personal data. Remote wipe usually comes with other features, including remote lock and “find my device.”

Samsung Cloud offers free cloud-based backup services that provide continuous protection for personal data. (Google and Apple offer similar services for Android and iOS users as well.) If users are concerned about storing their personal data in the public cloud or sharing so much location information, there are also third-party cloud-based backup services for mobile devices that offer a higher degree of privacy and confidentiality.

Whatever approach is right for your end users, use a mix of enforced settings, corporate services and user education to ensure that these features are enabled.

4. Provide user education on best practices and privacy

End users will happily read a one-page list of things they should and shouldn’t do with their personal smartphones, so having a few handouts or online documents available is a great way to get across key messages that may be obvious to IT managers — but not so obvious to end users.

Build a successful BYOD plan for your business

Get our comprehensive guide and template for developing a BYOD policy tailored to your organization. Download Now

Employees will also be aware of more complicated privacy-related topics, such as location sharing, user tracking through cookies, and spyware. Education in personal privacy will be appreciated by employees, even if it’s only peripheral to their work use of the smartphone. Knowing that the company is concerned about their privacy interests will help increase trust and can be used to combat misinformation or disinformation about privacy and the risks associated with smartphone and general internet use. All of this helps employees become more security- and privacy-aware.

5. Use technology to create clear privacy boundaries

Android Enterprise’s Work Profile is an excellent tool for protecting enterprise data — but it also provides privacy guarantees to employees by ensuring that their smartphone data outside of the Work Profile is shielded even from corporate IT. When devices are managed using an enterprise MDM, use Work Profile to deliver the message that privacy is valued and as high a priority as protecting enterprise data.

In cases where Work Profile isn’t possible, you can recommend tools such as Secure Folder that provide reduced privacy and security functionality but in a consumer-friendly and end-user-controlled setting.

Helping staff keep their own data private means combining some basic settings, changing some basic behaviors, deploying some technology, and educating users about things they can and should do. Combine each of these approaches for the best results.

Is your company covered against the latest threats? Take our mobile security assessment to find out — and discover the device security and management solutions included in Samsung’s Knox Suite, so you can stay ahead of the curve.

How To Setup Windows 10 To Better Protect Your Privacy.

Windows 10, Microsoft’s flagship operating system has been on the market for quite a few years now and although privacy options have been dramatically improved, there are still a lot of options within the operating system that need to be manually tweaked to get the best privacy results. So if you are unfamiliar with these options, follow along as this article takes you through some of the most important ones. 

How to Delete Your Full Windows 10 Activity History. 

Use a Local Account Rather Than a Microsoft Account to Sign into Your Windows 10 PC.

If you don’t feel comfortable with your friends at Microsoft knowing exactly when you sign in and out of your computer, you can use an old-fashioned local account, just like in previous versions of Windows. If you are setting up your PC from a clean install, you will be able to select this as you progress through the Windows setup process. Even if your computer is already set up, it’s not too late to change the way you log in.

Note: Having a local account will stop some features like Cortana functioning fully.

Turn Off Cortana, Microsoft’s Built-in Assistant (No Longer Possible After Fall Creators Update)

Note: If your Windows 10 version is post-Windows 10 Anniversary, use this guide: Remove Cortana After Anniversary Update.

Cortana can be a handy addition to your Windows experience, allowing you to set reminders, send emails and do plenty of other random trivial jobs. However, something you may not know is that Cortana also collects information for Microsoft in a very Google-like manner. Because if this, you may wish to disable her. Thankfully, turning off Cortana is super easy and in some cases, she may already be off by default or not even be available in your region, Poland for example.

Related: How to Delete Telemetry Data Microsoft Has Collected From Your PC.

Related: How to View and Delete Your Windows 10 Activity History. (Browsing History, Search History, Location History, Voice Activity, Cortana’s Notebook & Health Activity)

Note: How to Turn Off Cortana After the Windows Anniversary Update is available here.

A Few More Settings in the General Settings Tab to Look Out For.

In the settings menu, you can be as ruthless as you like, if it’s not an option you are going to use, like location services on a desktop PC, you might as well turn it off. Start from the top of the list and work your way down, you will find yourself turning off a lot of features and blocking access. Remember, you can come back at any time to turn them back on if you change your mind or need a feature for a particular reason.

Turn Off Wi-Fi Sense & OneDrive Sharing Options.

Use a VPN to Secure Your Internet Connection.

Virtual private networks (VPN’s) have a lot of handy uses, one of the most helpful for protecting your privacy online and helping you stay much more anonymous. They can even mask your physical location. Setting up a VPN will ensure that your browser traffic and download habits are encrypted end to end. As there are so many options available on the VPN market choosing one may be a little frustrating, especially when you are trying to decide between paid and free versions. Just make sure you spend a bit of time researching the one you want to use.

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