If you were to peruse the list of applications you’ve knowingly or not given permission to access your personal information on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Messenger, Instagram and more, you’d probably be as shocked as we were when we saw ours.
And if you were to embark on the tedious task of going through every single app to locate the page where you can change your privacy settings, you’d likely be at it for days.
That’s why a neat little startup, Israel-based MyPermissions.com, developed an automatic personal cloud protection service. It scans the online services you are connected to, alerts you in real time when apps gain permissions to access your personal information, and shows you the quickest way to protect your data.
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MyPermissions was incubated at lool ventures in January 2012, as a browser extension that enables users to scan all their permissions in a couple of minutes. The startup recently launched its own app, called Permissions (which ironically needs to access your personal info to prevent others from doing so).
The service allows its users to manage the permissions according to parameters they define as most disturbing. For example: “Show all the apps that know my location” or “Show all the apps that can post in my name”.
Avi Charkham, co-founder and head of product and design, tells NoCamels that “MyPermissions.com is the first service that lets you clean all your app permissions in a single click and an overwhelming percent of people choose to do so using our Nuke All Apps button.”
Real time notifications
“The reaction to our alpha was overwhelming. In a couple of days people have scanned millions of apps,” says Charkham. “We soon realized that permissions management is an ongoing battle. You clean them up but then 10 new apps gain access to your personal info the next day.”
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For this reason, MyPermissions expanded their offering and released Mypermissions Cleaner – an automatic personal cloud protection service with direct links to Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Instagram and Flickr accounts.
One of the key features of the service is that it sends updates in real time and alerts users whenever new apps access their info.
To launch MyPermissions’ scan, users need to add the company’s browser extension. From this point on, MyPermissions performs a continuous scan. Once it detects a new app that accessed the user’s info, it will send a real time notification and an email alert. Clicking those alerts will let the user easily remove the app or add it to a separate customized list of trusted apps.
Charkham thinks that one of their biggest achievements is that “we created awareness to a huge security loophole no one was giving much attention to and presented the first ever solution to that problem”
The product has been used across the world, with US and Europe as the leading markets.
MyPermissions recently launched a new iPhone app, where people can reach all their permissions pages from their mobile devices, in a single click. “Our iPhone app also automatically converts those permissions pages into a mobile friendly format,” adds Charkham.
The company is being operated from the lool hatchery at Ramat Gan.