Tuesday 16 January 2018

Do you want to walk away from the internet? How to delete yourself in four steps

Stock photo
Stock photo

Cara McGoogan

If endless cyber attack scare stories, viral fake news articles, online abuse and the election of Donald Trump have given yourself the resolve to walk away from the internet, you're in luck.

Developers in Sweden have created a website that can help you delete your online presence with just a few clicks.

Available at Deseat.me, Wille Dahlbo and Linus Unnebäck designed the internet deletion site as a place for people to "clean up your internet presence".

The service lets you see all of the websites you're signed up to or have accounts for and asks if you'd like to delete them or unsubscribe. It asks for your email address and password so it can scan for the sites you're signed up to.

Dahlbo and Unnebäck said they take the privacy of users seriously and that the program runs on the user's computer, rather than their servers.

"So basically the only thing you're telling us is what accounts you want to delete. That's it," they said. The website uses Google's security protocol, which means it doesn't gain access to users' log in information, they added. 

Deseat.me is fairly limited at the moment. It requires users to have a Google email address that is used for all of your online accounts. So for those ancient MySpace and Bebo accounts that you signed up for with a Hotmail address you'll need to go to the websites yourself and delete your account.

It also hasn't managed to retrieve account deletion information from every service yet so some appear with a greyed out delete button. And it may never work for smaller sites. That said, it does already work with most major websites that users would be likely to have accounts with, such as Facebook, Twitter and Evernote. 

How to delete yourself from the internet

1. Go to deseat.me

2. Sign in with a Google email address

3. Go through the list of websites you're signed up to and decide whether you want to "delete", "add to delete queue" or "keep"

4. If you have more sites associated with other accounts that you'd like to delete, you will need to visit these individually and follow their instructions

At a glance | High profile hacks

In the last two years alone, hackers have wreaked havoc on:

Yahoo (2013):

Details of 1 billion accounts stolen in the largest data breach on record

eBay (2014):

eBay asked 145m users to change passwords after hackers stole customers' names, addresses, and dates of birth

Heartbleed (2014):

A serious vulnerability was discovered in encryption technology used to protect many of the world’s major websites, leaving them vulnerable to data theft

Sony (2014):

A cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment leaked the private details of 47,000 employees and actors

Yahoo (2014):

Details of 500 million user accounts were stolen by “a state-sponsored actor”, although they have yet to be made public

US Central Command (2015):

Hackers claiming links to Isil managed to take control of CentCom’s Twitter and YouTube accounts, changing the logo to an image of a hooded fighter

Ashley Madison (2015):

Hackers threatened to publish the names of up to 37m AshleyMadison.com customers - a dating website for adulterous affairs

Talk Talk (2015):

Almost 157,000 customers' personal details were accessed when hackers targeted TalkTalk’s website, stealing 15,656 bank account numbers, sort codes, and obscured credit card details

MySpace (2016):

360m passwords and email addresses, believed to have been stolen several years before, were listed on a hidden internet marketplace on the dark web

Telegraph.co.uk

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