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Privacy Basics - Quick Tip, Clear your Clipboards

Adam - July 1, 2021

Introduction

Copy and Paste is a function that all of us use, but do we consider what happens to the information that we have copied?

On many devices, it adds that information to the clipboard. That information may remain there until we manually delete it.

Why is this a concern? One common thing many of us copy to the clipboard are credentials used to access accounts and services. Recent news in Cyber(1) shows that many applications are guilty of scraping the data from our clipboards. Clipboard data scraping is a concern because that information could be part of a data breach at an organization that we did not know had our data.

How do we protect ourselves from Clipboard scraping? We can go into much detail on this topic, but let us dive into some quick tips on deleting this information on a few devices. One fundamental tip I can offer is to make sure clipboard data gets deleted after using it.

IOS

First, let us start with iOS devices. In theory, IOS only stores the last piece of information that gets copied.

To delete the most recently copied item, go to the "search" function on your device. From there, in the text block, hit the space bar a few times and then highlight the blank spaces. That should give an option to copy the blank text and replace the most recent item.

Android

For Android devices, depending on the android version, use the "search" function on your device. (Or anything else that will allow you to use your device's keyboard)

Once the keyboard pops up, there are three tiny bubbles to the right side on the bar above the keyboard.

Click on the three bubbles and then click on "clip tray."

Once in the "clip tray" you should see an icon that looks like a trashcan. Click on the trashcan icon and select each of the copied items, then delete them.

Windows

On Windows, the clipboard history can be turned off. For this, we will turn off our clipboard history and clear our clipboard data.

To turn off Clipboard history and delete Clipboard data, pull up the settings and then navigate to the "System" section.

On the left side menu, there is a section (3rd from the bottom) called "Clipboard".

From this section, you will toggle the "Clipboard History" button to off and then scroll down and click the "Clear" button to delete your current clipboard data.

Conclusion

Laws and regulations take quite a while to get implemented, especially ones surrounding data. Due to how long this takes, we must take portions of privacy and security into our own hands to protect our information. While it may seem inconvenient at the time, in the long run, it would be much more inconvenient and frustrating to change the credentials around due to a data breach or, even worse, have that information used for malicious purposes.

References

https://www.techradar.com/news/its-not-just-tiktok-another-53-ios-apps-will-snatch-your-clipboard-data

https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/06/23/ios-14-sends-a-notification-when-apps-read-your-clipboard

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