Preventing the Digital Danger or How not to be Found by the Wrong People
By now the awareness of various cyber threats and digital danger surely must be a commonplace. We all know how unsafe it is to go online with abandon – after all, we heard and read about it (with a lot of proof) countless times, and some of us, unfortunately, experienced it first hand. So, naturally, we have all learned our lessons and, by and large, know all the precautions we need to take before venturing into the World Wide Web on your phones and computers alike. Right?
Wrong, of course. And not just because our kind is generally cavalier and reckless, and most of us still believe that bad things happen to the other people (while they think the same about us), though, admittedly, there is some of that. The main problem – to which we may never find a permanent solution – is that the aforementioned threats keep adding and ramifying. And the only way to fight them off is to stay abreast of them constantly, in some cases daily.
For such dangers can – and do – spring out from literally everywhere, even of the seemingly most familiar and innocuous zones.
Such as, for instance, our (much too) trusted Street View service on Google Maps that has so simplified the lives of tourists, explorers and pretty much anyone who is interested in finding and assessing various places and buildings… Including, alas, all kinds of offenders, from cat burglars to much more sinister types, such as stalkers, identity thieves and so on. Yes, that’s correct: it’s not just major landmarks and attractions that are shown on Street View in all their glory, including entrances, exits and safeguards (or lack thereof). Regular buildings, homes and blocks, can be studied pretty thoroughly there. Including yours. Meaning, anyone can obtain a view of your front door, check which areas are covered by the cameras and which are not… well, you get the drift.
Thus, unless your place of residence is indeed a great sightseeing amenity with all the defences, guards and powerful protection networks that come with it, then its appearance on Street View is not exactly good for you. Simply put, it is a security hole, a look in for potential unwelcome guests.
Thankfully, the patch for this particular vulnerability is already in place and easily available for anyone careful enough to use it… as long as they know about this option. So, you better be aware of the fact that, while you can’t take the images of your home off Street View, you can make these images virtually useless for any perpetrator by fuzzing them with the blur effect.
And here is how to do it. Just open your default browser on your desktop (there are no phone apps with this function, so it won’t be a good idea fidgeting with the mobile site version), go to maps.google.com, type your address in the upper right corner search field and press “Enter”. Then open the street view of your home by clicking on its picture and choose the “Report a Problem” option in the lower right corner. That will allow you to select any area on the photo with your mouse (the selected zone will appear in a red-and-black square frame, which can be enlarged or reduced with the plus or minus key respectively). Having done that, you’ll be given a multiple choice of what to blur, and that’s where you have to be particularly watchful, for you won’t have a chance to review your choice afterwards. Following that, you will only have to provide your email address and, in some cases, confirm the captcha before pressing “Submit”. The rest is up to Google, who may seek some more details from you or just go through with your request. But in the end (if you will respond to their mails accordingly), they will go through with it, even though it might take some while. And we believe that peace of mind (and some extra safety) is worth some waiting. Especially considering that it won’t cost you even a cent.
- 5 Common Digital Threats – How to Mitigate, Defend & Prevent – FraudWatch
- Sell pre-owned electronic device online – iGotOffer
Being Safe on the Internet [Video]
Video uploaded by AMAZE Org on June 22, 2017