It’s nice of your mobile devices and laptops to know where you are at all times but it apparently poses a huge security risk. Kim Komando of USA Today reveals how something like Geotagging photos – something we apparently do regularly – could pose a serious security risk. While inherently these location-based services aren’t really dangerous, one of the most common risks associated with it is that it is like fodder served on a silver platter for stalkers and miscreants looking for you. That’s why, it’s important to take matters into your own hands and stop apps spying on you. If possible, don’t use location based apps or services at all. If you have to, use them and then disarm the location specific information using controls most devices give you.
Google Street view, Facebook, and Twitter can all pose serious security threats when stalkers use them in combination. Social media sites like FourSquare are even more dangerous because they let the world know exactly – and explicitly – where you are. If someone were to stalk you, this information is all they need.
It’s a wonderful world of apps we live in, but we don’t seem to realize that there’s a tradeoff for using such apps: we give out our location specifics to most apps voluntarily or involuntarily.
While it might not be such a big deal for most of is, it could be really unnerving in some cases. That’s why it makes sense to download and use apps judiciously. Wherever possible, it might even make sense to switch off location services like we do with smartphones. But that’s possible with smartphones. How do you do such a thing with Windows 8, for instance? Here’s how:
How to Stop Apps Spying on Your Location
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It’s a big deal
Whether or not to give away permissions for your apps to use your present location is an individual choice. In fact, it might even be necessary for a few apps such as maps or weather predicting apps. However, we are not to judge your privacy and some users really do get irked up with location requests and permissions. Please do note that the final call rests with you. Further, you can switch location permissions on or off as you need to.
Try NOT to use location based apps
It might sound totally against the logic but you don’t have to use every app out there just because it’s available. For every said utility, you usually have more than one app to choose from. If you can find an app that doesn’t request your location specific, that should be the app you should be looking at instead of those others that request permission to track and trace your location – even if it’s a Windows 8 laptop you’d be using.
When all else fails…
Use Windows 8 default Location preferences
Thankfully, Windows 8 provides you with the option of switching off location preferences. According to Melanie Pinola of IT World, you can easily do this by heading to your PC settings> Privacy Settings > and use the toggle switch to turn off all personal details you don’t wish to share with either the apps or with Microsoft. You might want to adjust your privacy settings with a few apps such as Facebook or some photo apps but not all apps need to know where you are.
Enable or Disable Location Sensors
Windows gives you multiple ways to block your apps from knowing where you are. In another approach, you could just hit up the start menu, type in “Sensor” on the search bar, which will give you a list of all location sensors. Go to “Change location settings”, Choose the location sensors you want to deactivate and that’s it. You’d be free of all normal spying that the apps do while you are out and about using your Windows 8 laptop.
Have you ever been followed, stalked, or hunted down before? Do you think location services pose a security risk for users? How important is it for you to have control on your location permissions for apps? How do you go about preventing location specific information being played out?
Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.