It’s almost impossible to do anything these days without leaving a tell-tale digital trail behind you, particularly when accessing internet-related services. Given many apps now spend a significant amount of time connected to the internet, you can’t rely on just locking down your web browser either.
This where Avira Privacy Pal 1.8.0 for Windows PCs comes in. It promises to become your privacy-focused personal assistant, offering quick and simple fixes for over 200 privacy issues.
Fire up the app and you’ll see it bends over backwards to be as simple to use as possible. Click ‘Personalized’ to set your desired level: Basic will keep an eye on web-based tracking, while Enhanced adds in application and Windows privacy tweaks too.
Keep Personalized selected and you get to pick and choose exactly what gets wiped (and tracked). You’ll see a protected score on the main screen to indicate how many of these tweaks you’ve applied. There’s also a shortcut to a useful – if basic – file-shredding tool.
We recommend you leave Personalized selected before clicking Start for the first time to see exactly what it’s capable of. It’ll scan your PC for so-called “digital traces” and then present you with a summary of what it’s found and six user-selectable categories to clean.
By default, only browser cache is selected, but other areas you can clean include your browser history, chat logs, cookies, browser session and input, and application usage.
You can toggle each category on and off, or click the pencil mark for a more granular look at what web browsers, chat applications and other settings (Windows and applications are slightly confusingly lumped together under application usage) are available. From here you can drill even deeper to select exactly what gets deleted, although a lack of simple explanations leaves you floundering slightly. For example, what’s Microsoft windows authhost a, sso and sso c when it’s at home? Yes, you can Google it, but you shouldn’t have to
Once complete, click Clean and watch the progress bar (accompanied by some useful computer-related trivia) as your digital trail is wiped. It’s also worth noting that Privacy Pal will also switch off various tracking settings on your behalf based on your previous selection so it’s not a case of having to remember to run it on a regular basis – just whenever you want to tidy things up a little.
Privacy Pal is slick, works well and is only let down by a lack of detailed description of what’s getting cleaned or tracked. You’ll find its functionality is mirrored elsewhere – check your security suite to see if it’s simply duplicating protection that’s already there, but if there’s a gap to be filled, the app is well worth installing if you’re not currently monitoring your privacy by other means.
Avira Privacy Pal 1.8.0 is available now as a freeware download for PCs with 2GB RAM running Windows 7 SP1 or later.