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This blog by David Murphy on lifehacker.com strongly suggests kicking off 2021 by setting aside time to review what you have installed on your smart phone, laptop and desktop - apps, games and addons - and deleting things you no longer use. It not only will make your interface look better and create more space on your device, it will also bolster your digital security.
The recent issues plaguing the popular browser addon The Great Suspender are a perfect example of what I mean. Did you know that The Great Suspender was moving to from its original developer to a new maintainer? Probably not. Who keeps up on the news for their different browser extensions, anyway? You also probably blindly clicked on any new permissions the addon asked for, because it’s a browser extension you’ve been using for years. No biggie, right? Had you taken a moment to realize that you probably don’t need The Great Suspender anymore, due to your browser’s built-in ability to manage tab resources for you, you could have uninstalled it before its new maintainer started “enhancing” it with risky connections to third-party servers...
The same is true for apps you install on your desktop or laptop. These can evolve from something incredibly useful to potential spyware, malware, or any other kind of privacy-violating premise. Remember Avast’s free antivirus? How many people installed that and kept it on their systems after reading all sorts of accolades about an older version of the program? How many of them were then burnt when Avast decided to get a little sketchy?
He suggests you open each browser you use and look at extensions on each one—all of them. If there are any that duplicate functions, I delete one. If I recognize any that I haven’t used in the last few months (or year), I remove it. If any extension asks for extra permissions in order to function, I’ll do a quick web search to see if I should be concerned about the request.
Then he moves to services and social media. I’ll load up some of the bigger companies where I have accounts—Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and so on—and check any third-party services that are connected to my account. If I don’t recognize the app or game, or no longer use it, I break the connection. Easy as that.
It's worth a read.
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
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