VK for Android users: Medium privacy set

How to keep your account from getting hacked

Set a strong password

What for: So you don’t get hacked.

If you use a short and simple password for your VK account, cybercriminals can hijack your account. Use a strong password that meets the following criteria:

  • Consists of 8–20 characters.
  • Contains lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and special characters ($, @, etc.).
  • Is not an actual word or known phrase.
  • Is not the same as your passwords for any other accounts.
  • Does not consist of information that strangers could easily find out (your name, date of birth, pet's name, etc., or those of your relatives and friends).

To change the password:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Account section.
  4. Select Change password.

Enter the current password for your account, then enter the new password twice and tap OK.

Enable two-factor authentication

What for: Stronger protection from hacking.

To enable two-factor authentication, follow the instructions to configure the Web version of VK. This feature is unavailable in the Android app.

Check the login history

What for: To detect and stop any suspicious activity.

To view the login history of your account, follow the instructions to configure the Web version of VK. This feature is unavailable in the Android app.

How to hide from Big Brother

Disable access to location data

What for: So VK cannot track your movements.

VK gathers your location data to geotag your posts and stories and configure recommendations and targeted ads. Transmission of such data compromises your privacy, increases traffic usage, and drains the battery.

If you do not want to share your location, you can stop the social network from accessing location data.

To stop VK from using location data to configure your news feed and ads:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the General section.
  4. Disable the Location data option.

To completely disable access to location data:

  1. Open Settings on the device.
  2. Go to the Apps & notifications section.
  3. Tap See all apps and select VK in the list.
  4. Select Permissions.
  5. Disable the Location option.

Disable contact synchronization

What for: To limit what VK knows about you and to prevent leaks of your contacts.

VK can automatically save your friends’ contact details (from their profiles) to your device’s contact list. The social network also uses your contacts to issue recommendations and configure ads. Information about your contacts can also be shared with third parties, which increases the risk of a leak. To prevent this, you can deny VK access to your contact list.

To do so:

  1. Open Settings on the device.
  2. Go to the Apps & notifications section.
  3. Tap See all apps and select VK in the list.
  4. Select Permissions.
  5. Disable the Contacts option.

Downside: VK will not be able to add your friends’ phone numbers to the device’s contact list.

Stop questionable websites from accessing your account data

What for: To prevent your data from getting leaked through third parties.

To cancel permissions granted to third-party sites and apps to access your account data, follow the instructions to configure the Web version of VK. This feature is unavailable in the Android app.

How to defeat spammers and trolls

Block unwanted users

What for: To get rid of unpleasant people in your virtual space.

To stop a specific user from viewing your wall, replying to your comments, or sending you private messages, you can blacklist the user. To do so:

  1. Go to the profile of the user you want to block.
  2. Tap the three-dot button in the upper right corner of the screen.
  3. Select Block.
  4. Tap Yes.

The user will not be notified. However, if they try to message or call you, they will see a message that you have blacklisted them.

To remove a user from the blacklist:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Blocked section.
  4. Tap the cross to the right of the user’s name.

Limit the ability to comment on your posts

What for: To get rid of spam in comments.

By default, all VK users can leave comments under posts on your wall. Spammers, trolls, and other users you find unpleasant can abuse the option. You can limit the ability to comment on your posts in several ways.

Disable comments under specific posts

You can do so both when creating a post and after publishing it.

  1. To disable comments while creating a post:
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the lower right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Tap Disable comments.
  4. To disable comments under a post that has already been published:
  5. Tap the icon with three dots in the right part of the post heading.
  6. Select Disable comments.

Limit who can comment on your posts

To choose who can comment on your posts:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Privacy section.
  4. Tap Who can comment on my posts.
  5. Select All friends so only your friends on the social network can leave comments.
  6. Select Some friends to limit further who can comment on your posts.
  7. Select Only me so nobody except you can post comments.
  8. In the Forbidden subsection, select Add friends if you want to stop specific users from adding comments.
  9. In the same subsection select Add lists to stop specific groups of users from commenting on your posts.

Completely disable comments on your wall

You can fully disable comments under your posts. To do so:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Account section.
  4. Disable Wall comments.

Keep in mind that after fully disabling comments on your wall you will not be able to enable comments under specific posts. In addition, the Who can comment on my posts item in the Privacy menu will be inactive.

Stop users from sending you direct messages and friend requests or calling you

What for: So you don’t get bothered by strangers.

VK does not limit the number of people who can contact you even when your profile is private.

You can limit this ability manually:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Privacy section.
  4. Tap Who can send me private messages and choose one of the options:
  5. Friends of friends
  6. All friends
  7. Certain friends
  8. Nobody
  9. Tap Who can call me and choose one of the options:
  10. Friends of friends
  11. All friends
  12. Certain friends
  13. Nobody
  14. Tap Who can send me friend requests and select Friends of friends.

Stop users from finding your profile using your phone number

What for: To prevent people or companies who know your phone number from bothering you on the social network.

By default, all VK users can find your page using your phone number. Also, if any company has your phone number, you may receive private messages on behalf of its VK community even if you do not follow it.

To stop users and companies from finding your profile using your phone number:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Privacy section.
  4. Tap Who can find me by contacts import by phone number… and select Nobody.
  5. Go back to the Privacy section and tap What communities can send me private messages using my phone number and None.

How to hide posts from unwanted people

Make your profile private

What for: To hide your data from strangers.

By default, your posts and profile data are visible to all VK users. To prevent strangers from viewing your wall, you can limit access to it.

To make your profile private for everybody except friends:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Privacy section.
  4. Enable the Private profile option at the end of the list.
  5. Select Yes in the dialog box.

Keep in mind that your friends on the social network will still be able to see all your posts. To stop any one of them from viewing your posts, remove them from your friend list:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Go to the Friends section.
  3. In the list find the profile of the relevant user and tap their name or profile photo.
  4. Tap the You’re friends button.
  5. Select Remove friend.

The user will not be notified unless they visit your profile, in which case they will see a Following button instead of a You’re friends button and will be able to guess that you unfriended them. They will also see you in their list of outgoing friend requests.

Even after you make your profile private, other VK users will still see:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Profile photo
  • Place of employment
  • City
  • Status
  • Information about your online status or the time of your most recent visit
  • Number of mutual friends
  • Number of posts

You can limit the visibility of your date of birth, city, and place of employment by following instructions to configure data visibility.

How to keep your personal data hidden

Configure the visibility of your data

What for: To decide for yourself who can see what.

If you do not want to make your profile private, you can still configure the visibility of your publications, comments, audio files, photos, and other data.

To choose who can view specific information in your profile:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Privacy section. You will see a list of possible access settings:
  4. Who can view the main information on my profile
  5. Who can view photos of me
  6. Who can view the Saved photos album
  7. Who can view my list of groups
  8. Who can view my music
  9. Who can view my gifts
  10. Who can see my photo’s location tags
  11. Who can view my hidden friends
  12. Who can view other users’ posts and comments on my wall
  13. Who can view comments on my posts
  14. Who can view my stories
  15. Who can reply to my stories
  16. Who can give feedback on my stories
  17. Tap the items in the list one at a time and choose a group of users for each item. All or some of the following options are available for various items:
  18. All users
  19. Friends of friends
  20. All friends
  21. Certain friends
  22. Only me
  23. Some items contain a Forbidden section. In this section, you can select Add friends or Add lists and check friends or groups of friends who will not have access to content. For example, you can grant access to other people’s posts on your wall to all friends except those on your “Colleagues” list.

The number of available visibility options depends on whether your profile is public or private.

Stop users from tagging you in photos

What for: To stay anonymous.

By default, all of your friends can tag you in VK photos. All social network users who have access to an image can locate you based on the photo tag. This may be inconvenient if you prefer not to upload your actual photos to your profile.

To stop users from tagging you in photos:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Privacy section.
  4. Select Who can tag me in photos.

Tap Only me.

How to get rid of unwanted notifications

Disable unwanted notifications

What for: To decide for yourself what you want to be distracted by.

By default, VK displays push notifications about different profile activities, from private messages to likes and game invitations. The list of notifications can be limited. You can also choose the type of notifications: sound, vibration, or a flashing indicator. To do so:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Notifications section.
  4. Select the type of event.
  5. Select None in the Show notifications section if you do not want to see notifications about this activity.
  6. If you want the social network to display notifications without tones, vibration, or light indication, tap System settings.
  7. Tap Actions and select None in the list that appears if you do not want the notification to be accompanied by a tone.
  8. Tap More and disable the Vibration and Light indication options if you do not want vibration or flashing of the indicator light with notifications.

Stop users from challenging you in apps and inviting you to communities

What for: To remove irrelevant notifications.

By default, all VK users can send you invitations to join a community, and your friends can invite you to activate apps in VK. They will then be able to challenge you in applications (e.g., invite you to compete). If such notifications bother you, disable the feature. To do so:

  1. Open the menu by tapping the icon with three horizontal lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Tap the cogwheel in the upper right corner of the screen to go to settings.
  3. Go to the Privacy section.
  4. Select Nobody for the following items:
  5. Who can invite me to communities
  6. Who can invite me to use apps
  7. Who can invite me to open apps

How to clean up your traces

Check how other users see your profile

What for: To verify all of your privacy settings.

To view how other users see your profile, follow the instructions to configure the Web version of VK. This feature is unavailable in the Android app.

Remove wallets and bank cards linked to your account

What for: To retain important financial information.

To remove information about payment methods from your account, follow the instructions to configure the Web version of VK. This feature is unavailable in the Android app.