October 15, 2019

Remove unused and unnecessary software

The more software you're running on your devices the bigger the potential security risks. Read this blog to learn more about how and why you should remove unused and unnecessary software.

Remove unused and unnecessary software

With the blogs in this series I want to reach not only my typical audience, security professionals, but especially less security aware people to help them improve their personal security. If you think the content is helpful for people you know, share it with them!

Most people are hoarders when it comes to software. They have a shitload of different applications installed on their devices. A lot of which are unnecessary or barely used.

Not a lot of people realize though that the potential for attackers to gain access to your devices grows with the number of applications you have installed. This is logic because they have more applications in which they can find and exploit security holes. When these applications are not regularly updated they form even a bigger risk.

Installing unnecessary applications, like flashlight apps, increases the risk for malicious apps. Even if they aren't malicious they can always become so after an update.

It's important to regularly review which software you have installed and remove what you no longer need.

Desktop operating systems

On windows systems there are a few ways to uninstall applications. You can find more info here.

For macOS read this article or watch this video.

Mobile devices

Remove unused apps on your smartphone. There are two different ways to delete iOS apps.

Or even a way in which you have more control.

If you use this way of deleting, you can free the space taken by the app without losing the documents and data that are in the app.

Both ways of deleting work for iOS12 and iOS13.

To uninstall Android apps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store app
  2. Tap the Menu called My apps & games.
  3. Tap on the app or game.
  4. Tap Uninstall.

Browser plugins

Browser plugins are often overlooked, but it's important to manage them as well. Like mobile apps, browser plugins can go rogue. This happened for instance to the Mega.nz Chrome extension after their account in the Chrome web store was hacked. And this had some serious consequences.

"The malicious edition of the Mega.nz extension started stealing login usernames, passwords, and cryptocurrency private  keys from Chrome users – stealing information from surfers as they used  sites such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, GitHub, MyEtherWallet,  MyMonero, and the cryptocurrency trading platform IDEX"

See in this video how you can remove Chrome extensions.

A step by step guide about how to remove Firefox Add-ons can be found here.

Conclusion

Do check which applications, mobile apps and browser extensions you have installed and uninstall the ones that you don't need straight away.

That's it for today. A short one, but therefore not less important. . More tips tomorrow. In the meantime, stay safe online!