VK privacy settings on Android: Medium level

Learn how to change your privacy settings on VK using Android. These steps adjust your privacy and security settings to Medium level protection.
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How to protect your account against getting hacked

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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 your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select Settings;
  3. Go to the Manage VK Connect Account section;
  4. Select Security and login;
  5. Tap Set up in the Protect profile section;
  6. Select Password;
  7. Enter the current password for your account and tap Send;
  8. Enter the new password twice and tap OK.

Enable two-factor authentication

What for: so you definitely don’t get hacked.

VK can prompt you to enter a one-time code every time you log into your account. Even if cybercriminals get hold of your username and password, they will not be able to log into your account without this code. Codes can be received via text message at the phone number you specify or generated in an authentication app (such as Google Authenticator).

To enable two-factor authentication:

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select Settings;
  3. Go to the Manage VK Connect Account section;
  4. Select Security and login;
  5. Select Set up in the Protect profile section;
  6. Enter your current password and tap Confirm;
  7. Tap Call me and make a mental note of the last four digits of the number of the incoming call;
  8. Enter them in the relevant field;
  9. Remember to save the backup codes that can be used for account login if your mobile device becomes unavailable. Store these codes in a safe place.

By default, two-factor authentication via text messages (SMS) gets enabled. Since a text message with the code can be intercepted by malware, which is why using a two-factor authentication app is a safer option. To do so, under 2-step verification locate the Code-generating app item, click Start setup, and follow the instructions.


Check the login history

What for: to detect and stop any suspicious activity.

VK lets you view the history of your account logins so you can detect any suspicious activity before it’s too late. If you see that somebody logged into your account from an unknown device, you can terminate that session or all sessions except the current one.

To view your activity log in VK:

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select Settings;
  3. Go to the Manage VK Connect Account section;
  4. Select Security and login;
  5. Tap Show activity history.

Active sessions appear in bold. To log out of your account on all devices except the current one, tap End all sessions.

If you notice that a stranger logged into your account, immediately change your password and enable 2-step verification.

For added protection, you can check the list of devices where you receive security alerts and remove the devices that you no longer use. To do so:

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select Settings;
  3. Go to the Manage VK Connect Account section;
  4. Select Security and login;
  5. Tap Linked devices;
  6. Enter your account password;
  7. Tap on the device that you want to delete from the list of trusted devices and remove it.


How to hide from Big Brother

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Disable access to location data

What for: so VK does not know where you go to.

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 the news feed and ads:

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select 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: so VK knows less about you and to prevent leaks of your contacts.

VK can automatically save contact details from profiles of your friends into the contact list of your device. The social network also uses your contacts in order to issue recommendations and configure ads. Information about your contacts can be shared with third parties, which increases the risk of a leak. To prevent this, you can deny VK access to the 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. 5.   Disable the Contacts option.

Downside: VK will not be able to add phone numbers of your friends on the social network to the contact list on your device.


How to defeat spammers and trolls

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Block unwanted users

What for: to get rid of unpleasant people in the virtual space.

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

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

The user will not be notified that you have blocked him. However, if the user tries to message or call you, he will see a message that you have blacklisted him.

To remove a user from the black list:

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select Settings;
  3. Go to the Blocked section;
  4. Tap the cross to the right of the user 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. This can be abused by spammers, trolls, or simply users you find unpleasant for some reason. 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.

    I.       To disable comments while creating a post:

  1. Tap the cogwheel in the lower right corner of the screen to go to settings;
  2. Tap Disable comments.

   II.       To disable comments under a post that has been already published:

  1. Tap the icon with three dots in the right part of the post heading;
  2. Select Disable comments.

Limit who can comment on your posts

To choose who can comment on your posts:

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select 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 who can comment on your posts even more;
  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 your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select Settings;
  3. Go to the Account section;
  4. Disable Allow 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 your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select 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 tagging you in photos

What for: to stay anonymous.

By default, all 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 your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select Settings;
  3. Go to the Privacy section;
  4. Select Who can tag me in photos;
  5. Tap Only me.

Check how other users see your profile

What for: to verify all your privacy settings.

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



How not to expose your personal data

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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 your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select 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 the 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 the “Colleagues” list.

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

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 your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select 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 anyone of them from viewing your posts, remove him or her from your friend list:

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select Settings;
  3. In the list find the profile of the relevant user and tap his or her name or profile photo;
  4. Tap the You’re friends button;
  5. Select Remove friend.

The user will not be notified that you have removed him. However, if the user visits your profile, he will see the Following button instead of You’re friends button and will be able to guess that you unfriended him. He will also see you in the 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 on how to configure data visibility.

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 when you do not follow it.

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

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select 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 get rid of unwanted notifications

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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 by deciding whether you want sounds, vibration, or a flashing indicator. To do so:

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select 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 to communities

What for: to remove irrelevant notifications.

By default, all VK users can send you invitations to join a community, while 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) via automatic messages. If you are bothered by such notifications, you can disable this feature. To do so:

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select 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

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Remove wallets and bank cards linked to the account

What for: to retain important financial information.

VK Pay lets you pay for goods and services in online stores through your account. This is convenient, but in the event of a leak or hack, your information may fall into the hands of cybercriminals. Linking your bank card to the account also increases the risk of accidental purchases, for example when your device ends up in the hands of a child. To avoid this, unlink your cards from your account.

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select Settings;
  3. Tap Manage VK Connect account at the top of the screen;
  4. Go to VK Pay: cards, payments section;
  5. Select Linked cards;
  6. Tap the cross next to the name of each card and confirm the deletion.

Stop questionable websites from accessing your account data

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

Various sites and apps offer additional tools for use with VK. To this end, they request permission to access your account details. Such sites and apps do not normally inform you explicitly about the specific permissions you grant them.

Some developers can use this info for advertising purposes. They may also be able to click the Like button, send friend requests to other users, and post on your wall on your behalf.

To block access to your data:

  1. Open your profile by tapping an icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the screen;
  2. Tap three horizontal lines in the upper right corner of the screen and select Settings;
  3. Tap Manage VK Connect account at the top of the screen;
  4. Go to Services and websites section;
  5. Under External services, disable apps and sites that you do not use. To do so, tap the three dots to the right of the name and select Disable service.

Privacy level
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Relaxed

Basic privacy settings, maximum convenience.


Medium

A golden mean respecting privacy matters but preserving convenience.


Tight

A choice of security over convenience; instructions contain a lot of details.

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Tight
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