Updated · Oct 03, 2023
Lorie is an English Language and Literature graduate passionate about writing, research, and learnin... | See full bio
Updated · Sep 26, 2023
April is a proficient content writer with a knack for research and communication. With a keen eye fo... | See full bio
Staying completely anonymous in this digital age is nearly impossible. Every time you do an online activity, you leave a digital trail of information. This digital trail is your digital footprint.
Your digital footprint holds a lot of personal preferences and information about you, from your spending patterns to intimate life events. The internet's infinite capacity to trace this information makes you vulnerable to data breaches. Protecting your digital footprint is essential to ensure your online security and privacy.
In this article, you will learn about ways to protect your digital footprint, the consequences of not protecting it, and whether having a digital footprint is considered harmful.
🔑 Key Takeaways:
Digital footprint sources come in many forms, for example, posting on social media, shopping online, receiving emails, IP addresses, etc. There are different types of digital footprints.
The two main types are passive and active.
1. Active digital footprint - This includes your social media posts and every other information you consciously publish or accept online, such as:
2. Passive digital footprint - Refers to data being collected that you may not be aware of, such as:
The information you leave whenever you interact on the internet creates your digital footprint, intentionally or unintentionally. Third parties are always ready to passively or actively collect that information.
💡 Did You Know?
A single data breach can create a ripple of breaches in your other accounts, exposing your personal information, such as names, passwords, and email addresses.
While erasing your digital footprint is nearly impossible, you can manage it effectively to protect your trail. There are many ways to protect your digital footprint from different cyberattacks.
Here are 9 ways you can protect your digital footprint.
Take a closer look at how the different ways to protect your digital trail work:
Everything you post online will stay online. Avoid sharing personally identifiable information (PII) like your email address, phone number, IDs, and bank information on social media.
Most platforms' default settings make your online presence public. Adjust your privacy settings, especially on social media platforms, to control what you can share for collecting, using, and disclosing your information.
Some websites also harvest your personal information by gathering publicly available data from government records. Thankfully, there are several ways to remove or at least minimize your records on the internet.
Google Alerts sends email notifications to subscribers that compile information on search activity related to subscribed terms. Although this option will increase your footprint with Google, you can use this platform to alert yourself whenever your name appears online so that you can delete unwanted ones made by other people.
Cybercriminals can steal sensitive information from unsecured networks like public Wi-Fi. Use a VPN (virtual private network) to secure your connection and location and block different malware and phishing attacks.
Avoid using single-account sign-ins. This is because when hackers can infiltrate one account for multiple accounts, they can access all.
If you no longer use a platform, delete your account because it contains your personal information. Cybercriminals can use outdated apps and exploit them to commit fraud and scams.
Updates can enhance software functionality and reduce security vulnerabilities. An outdated system and devices leave you vulnerable to hackers, who can exploit your information and use it for illegal activities. The next time your devices and software require an update, don't skip it.
In 2021, identity fraud affected roughly 42 million Americans. This shows that you should get an identity protection service that safeguards against identity theft and data breaches. It also monitors potential sales or unauthorized use of your PII and allows you to shut down any attack.
Disabling cookies will give you fewer target ads, but website owners and third parties cannot track your online activities. However, some websites will also not work if you deny cookies. When asked, decline cookies or use a browser that automatically blocks them.
It is vital to be proactive in protecting your digital footprint. People with malicious intent can use your email address or phone number to look you up in people's search engines for the wrong purposes.
Your online privacy could be compromised if a malicious actor could get your information through your digital footprints. Read more to learn the different dangers if digital footprints are not protected.
🎉 Fun Fact:
It would take roughly 181 million years to download all data from the internet! This shows how congested the platform is with the digital footprints it has collected over time.
If you’re not careful with your digital footprint, you could be in danger and become a victim of identity theft or fraud.
Here’s how your digital footprint can take a toll on you.
Not managing your digital footprint can have disadvantages. Even so, there are also positive impacts of having a digital footprint.
Your digital footprint matters. Having digital footprints is not harmful when managed well. It creates a positive online reputation and increases visibility.
Here are some benefits of digital footprints:
It is important to remember that before you post anything, you should always think about how it will affect your digital reputation.
Your online activities cannot be erased; be careful with everything you post.
Leaving your digital footprints can help create a more personalized and convenient online experience. However, cybercriminals can use your digital footprints for malicious reasons like identity theft, invasion of privacy, phishing, and other scams against you.
Knowing the best practices to protect yourself will help you avoid being vulnerable to cyberattacks.
Not entirely, but you can limit your online presence or use tools that will help lessen your digital footprint.
Your digital footprint can have long-lasting positive and negative effects on your employment, reputation, and relationships.
By using the internet, you automatically create a digital footprint. To know the information publicly available about you, go to any search engine, type your full name, and press search. The search results indicate what information is available about you online.
Your email address will not be published.
Updated · Oct 03, 2023
Updated · Oct 02, 2023