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Is Grammarly safe to use and download?

Grammarly is a popular proofreading tool for correcting grammar mistakes and improving writing quality. It even got on TIME’s list of the 100 most influential companies of 2022. However, there has been a lot of debate whether Grammarly is truly safe to download and use due to its excessive user data collection. But can a proofreading tool truly pose a safety risk? Let’s take a look.

Is Grammarly safe to use and download?

Is Grammarly safe?

Grammarly might be considered a secure platform because it complies with HIPAA Security, Privacy, and Breach Notification rules. The company also implements many security measures to keep the collected user data safe from bad actors.

However, people are concerned that the tool collects too much private information. You see, once you download Grammarly as an application or a browser extension, it gets access to everything you type (as well as any editable text that pops into the foreground) in order to correct spelling errors. All your text is sent to the company’s servers where it gets processed to offer you writing suggestions.

The good news is that the Grammarly browser extension collects your writing only when you give it full access to your browser. If you don’t want the tool to access your writing, you can simply disable the extension. And when it comes to Grammarly’s desktop apps, you can block Grammarly on a specific app or website.

So if you don’t think you’ll be able to remember to disable Grammarly in certain situations, it is a good idea to simply use the Grammarly editor online. That is the safest way to use the spell checking tool because then it can only access the info you type into its text field.

Does Grammarly collect my personal information?

Grammarly collects a variety of personal information in order to manage its user base and to function as a proofreading tool:

  • Account information. In order to use the tool, you have to create an account first. Grammarly keeps your account information, which includes your username, password, email address, and language preferences.
  • Payment information. Even though you can simply use the free version of Grammarly, paid users get more features like a plagiarism checker and an AI writing assistant. Once you pay for the service, Grammarly gets hold of limited payment card info and transaction history.
  • Device information. Like most online services, Grammarly collects device info like your IP address, location, browser type, and operating system.
  • Information directly provided by users. This data consists of your chats with Grammarly’s customer support and the company surveys you take.
  • Usage data. Grammarly collects data that shows how you interact with its product, for example, how often you open the tool.
  • User content. This is the type of info people are most concerned about when the question of whether Grammarly is safe comes up. The data includes all the documents you edit and the text you type into the online tool or your device when Grammarly is in use.

Many users ask the question “Does Grammarly steal your sensitive data?” The answer is no, because Grammarly’s privacy policy states that your writing will be sent to its servers — no sneaky practices are involved.

If you’ve already downloaded and used Grammarly but don’t feel comfortable with this kind of data collection, you can simply delete your Grammarly account and the company will remove your data from its servers in 30 days.

Does Grammarly share your sensitive data with third parties?

You might be concerned whether Grammarly can disclose personal data to third parties. The answer is yes — once the Grammarly app, online editor, or the browser extensions acquire user data, it may be shared with (but not sold to) third parties in certain cases.

The privacy policy states that Grammarly can share your personal information with companies whose services it uses to maintain its product, for example, Amazon Web Services.

Grammarly can also share user data with government agencies if this action is required by law, protects a person from harm, prevents fraud, or serves the public in another way.

It’s also important to mention that company employees can get permission to access your texts in cases when it’s necessary — for example, to fix your account problems. Luckily, Grammarly started using AI for such tasks related to handling private data, which increases the level of user anonymity.

What security measures does Grammarly take?

To protect sensitive personal data, Grammarly implements many different security practices:

  • Strong encryption. Grammarly encrypts all the data it collects. While being transferred, the data is encrypted using the TLS 1.2 protocol. Meanwhile, the data that reaches Grammarly’s servers is encrypted with the AES-256 encryption, which is virtually uncrackable.
  • Third-party attestations. Grammarly’s security practices are reviewed by outside companies. The list includes the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Cloud Security Alliance. Grammarly is also compliant with HIPAA, the GDPR, and the CCPA.
  • Restricted employee access. Grammarly is strict with who can access user information. An employee has to have audited permission and managerial approval in order to access user data.
  • Restricted text fields. The Grammarly desktop app, smartphone app, and browser extension do not register text fields that may contain sensitive information like passwords, Social Security number, or banking information.

How to keep your Grammarly account secure

Even though Grammarly implements strong security measures, you also have to play your part to maintain strong online security:

  1. Use a strong password. Use a strong, long (at least 16 digits) and unique password when creating your Grammarly account. You can use a password generator for that.
  2. Implement multi-factor authentication. Grammarly allows you to set up two-factor verification for your account. If you do this, you’ll need to enter a unique six-digit number each time you sign in to Grammarly. You can choose to get the code to a third-party authenticator app or via text messaging.
  3. Sign up with a separate email account. If you’re concerned about data breaches and other Grammarly security issues, creating a separate email for your account only is a good idea.
  4. Use a VPN. As mentioned above, Grammarly can see your IP address, which gives away your virtual location. A VPN masks your location by giving you a random IP address of the VPN server of your choice.
  5. Download from safe sources. It is only safe to download Grammarly from the App Store, Google Play, or the app’s official site. Otherwise, your device may get infected with malware.
  6. Use antivirus software. Using a reputable antivirus tool will significantly improve your online security, especially if you accidentally download an infected application.
  7. Be mindful. Don’t forget to disable Grammarly when dealing with sensitive information. Also, keep track of the devices that have access to your account — an unknown device might indicate that your account has been hacked.
  8. Beware of phishing. Never open suspicious links or give personal information in an email. Carefully inspect the sender’s email address and contact Grammarly’s customer support if it looks suspicious.

Overall, Grammarly takes user safety seriously. It implements a variety of security practices like data encryption and restricted employee access to user data.

However, its apps and extensions collect an excessive amount of personal information in the form of the documents you create and the text you type while the software is in use.

If you decide to use Grammarly, the best option is to check grammar and spelling in the online editor tool because it can only access the text you enter into it. This will minimize the privacy risks related to using Grammarly.