After last week’s brief shenanigans with GMail getting phished badly and the recommendation I made about how to help correct and protect yourself from that nasty piece of work, I went ahead and did something I had not done in some time. A privacy check-up and there is also a security or account check-up available too.
Most of the big on-line services have this facility buried in their settings somewhere, but when you find them, they are really easy to go through and it can be an eye-opening exercise. I discovered on my personal GMail account, that a phone I had on loan while my own was off getting repaired was still an authorised device on my account. I wasn’t too concerned, because I myself had carried out a factory reset on that phone before I handed the loaner back in.
However, most people would not think to do such a thing and, while you would expect the repair shop to do it as part of their procedures, this does not necessarily make it happen … and I’m not talking about the small phone repair shops that are dotted about the place either. A friend got a loaner phone from one of the big mobile companies while her’s was sent for repair. She took a few photos one day and was browsing them that evening and she came across a few dozen photos of some people she did not recognise. She mentioned this to the shop when she collected her repaired phone. They apologised profusely, immediately did a factory reset on the loaner and showed her the completely empty device when it restarted. That was OK for her. But what about the previous user of the device. What if she knew even one of the people in those photos? What if the photos were embarrassing or worse … incriminating?
Anyway, I’ve done a Billy Connolly and wandered wildly off-topic, so back to privacy check-ups.
You can do these all at once, if you want, or just take 2 minutes each day over the next few days and do a privacy check-up and security/account check-up on each account. I would also recommend you do this on a desktop/laptop, as the mobile apps may not have the full set of privacy settings to be checked. Finally don’t just be looking for authorised devices, keep an eye out for Apps which are authorised on your accounts, which you may no longer use. You should really remove their access.
Other online services that you use might have something similar. Just go into their settings and search for privacy and account or security tabs and simply go through each of them.
You might even pop a reminder into your calendar to come back in 6 months time and review these settings again because lets face it, something will have changed.
And hey … Let’s be careful out there.