Google’s security guidelines also drew the majority of this year’s requests in apps, according to Kaspersky’s Privacy Checker website.
Kaspersky said the information comes from anonymized data voluntarily provided by users of the website. As for apps, the majority of this year’s requests were related to Google security guidelines (22%), Kaspersky said.
Concerns over digital privacy are widespread. A “Digital Privacy and Security Survey” conducted by the Calyx Institute in 2021, found that 80% of respondents were worried about the topic of digital privacy over the last year and 59% said they felt more aware of how their data is treated than a year ago.
The Privacy Checker data also found there were far more requests for privacy guidelines for services on the Android platform compared with other operating systems. Windows and iOS got the same result (6%), and the lowest number of requests were recorded for Mac (3%).
Android requests were most popular
Figures for the most viewed pages on the Privacy Checker website also confirm that Android requests were the most popular, with the top five related to instructions for this OS. The highest number of users were interested in medium-level privacy settings for Google (17%).
SEE: Samsung unveils Galaxy Z Flip 4, Z Fold 4, Galaxy Watch 5 (TechRepublic)
The next three positions all recorded the same number (9%), and these were medium privacy rules for Chrome and WhatsApp, as well as the strictest guidelines for Google. The fifth was medium-level security instructions for Facebook (7%).
For services settings, users were most often interested in guidelines for Google (22%), WhatsApp (14%), operating systems privacy rules and Chrome (12% each). Instagram (11%) closed the top five, slightly outperforming Facebook this year in terms of the number of requests at 10%.
Additionally, on the Privacy Checker platform, users can choose from three different levels of security settings: tight, medium and relaxed. This year for all services, the largest share of requests was related to medium-level instructions. The exception was for the Safari browser, where users were more interested in the strictest privacy rules, 54% versus 45%, for medium.
“Visitor statistics from the privacy checker show which aspects of online privacy and security most grabbed users’ attention,” said Sergey Malenkovich, head of social media at Kaspersky, in a statement. “This year, Instagram topped both Facebook and TikTok, which is surprising, given the amount of scrutiny TikTok still receives from the public and authorities.”
Malenkovich theorized that “this may relate to the ‘terms of service’ updates made during this year, and users wanting to make sure that their personal data is safe no matter what.”
SEE: Mobile device security policy (TechRepublic Premium)
How to protect your privacy across platforms
Kaspersky has also prepared a short checklist to help users protect their personal information across all platforms:
- Security solutions often have a private browsing feature, which can help to avoid internet tracking.
- Review permissions for mobile apps and browser extensions. It’s better to stay clear of installing browser extensions unless you really need them. Carefully check the permissions you give.
- Public storage is not the best place to store private information, such as passport scans or a list of passwords. A better option would be to keep them in an encrypted archive.
- It is good practice to update operating systems and important apps as and when updates become available. Many safety issues can be solved by installing updated versions of software.
- Try to avoid posting information that may give away too much, such as your address, personal phone number, e-mail address and other private data. Before sharing anything, consider if there may be any unintended consequences, and do not share anything that might compromise your or someone else’s privacy.
To help alleviate privacy concerns, users can limit the amount of personal data that is available online with services such as Kaspersky Privacy Checker. Kaspersky said its findings were obtained based on anonymous data relating to visits to the Kaspersky Privacy Checker website between January 2022 and July 2022. This included analyzing which services and platforms users most often requested security setting instructions for.