Kaspersky analysed anonymised data, voluntarily provided by Privacy Checker, a website that contains helpful advice on privacy settings for various Internet services and platforms. The results reflect which services and platforms’ Internet users have the most privacy concerns about. The data shows, most customers are worried about the security of popular mobile operating systems (21.2%) and Google’s privacy level (18.3%).
Internet users leave digital footprints when they use various online services. This footprint may include visited websites, uploaded photos, and interactions on social media (such as comments, posts and reactions). The correct privacy settings in digital services can help reduce the number of traces online, and help you take control of your information. Our research explored which services and platforms users are most concerned about regarding privacy and security of personal data.
The data was obtained based on anonymous data on visits to the Kaspersky Privacy Checker website between December 2019 and August 2021. Kaspersky analysed for which services and platforms users most opened the security setting instructions.
Among the most popular requests for privacy were Google settings on Android (11.1%), security rules for Android OS (7.3%), and WhatsApp settings on Android (5.9%).
When it comes to social networks, users most frequently viewed the Facebook security pages on various platforms (15.7%). Instagram was the second most reviewed social network in terms of the number of requests for settings privacy – its total share of appeals was 9.9%. TikTok took third place with an 8.1% share of requests for security settings. Considering its monthly active audience is four times smaller than Facebook’s (689 million versus 2.9 billion), the numbers show that the privacy offered by TikTok is also of great concern to users.
Among messenger services, users are most concerned with the WhatsApp security level – the share of requests about its security policy was 13.9%.
Meanwhile, the Russian social network VK also made it into the top global queries, at 7.7%. VK is Russia’s most popular social network, and the share of security instructions requests among Russian users was 25.3%.
“Most everyday actions users take on the web can lead to the accumulation of a digital footprint. This can include IP address, comments, photos and geotags, or biometric data inferred from those photos. The visitor statistics in the Privacy Checker project show that users have begun 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 TikTok-related requests indicates both interest in the platform itself and user concern about some of the brand’s data collection practices, which have recently been highlighted in the media,” comments Sergey Malenkovich, head of social media at Kaspersky.
You can find detailed information on account privacy settings on the Kaspersky Privacy Checker website. In addition, Kaspersky has also prepared a short checklist to help you protect your personal information on all platforms:
- Public cloud storage is not the best place to store your private information, such as passport scans or a list of passwords. The better option is to keep this data in an encrypted archive.
- Private browsing, like in Kaspersky Internet Security, can help you to avoid Internet tracking.
- Keep your main email address and phone number private. It is a good idea to create an additional email account and purchase an additional SIM card to use for online shopping and other situations requiring you to share your data with strangers.
- Review your permissions for mobile apps and browser extensions. It’s better to avoid installing browser extensions unless you really need them. Carefully check the permissions you give them.
- Secure your phone and computer with passwords or passcodes. The safe option is to use passwords or biometric authentication to lock phones, tablets, and computers.