What is a Digital Footprint?
When navigating through the internet using the two most popular search engines like google.com or perhaps a search engine like bing.com and have you ever searched your own name? It’s valuable to see just how you showcase online to the world it’s also one way to discover what cybercriminals, potential employers, advertisers, and others can find out about you online.
This online data is known as your digital footprint, pieces that make up this information includes photos, videos, emails, phone numbers, publications, social media posts and comments, reviews, directories and much much more. Typically there are two types, information that you have purposely shared via platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook. But other data, typically the kind you don’t really want public is passive, meaning it was posted without your knowledge.
Why it’s significant
It’s bad enough your digital footprint includes more than just information posted recently or let’s say within the year. The fact is, the content may date back a decade or more ago, including data from your high school, college, previous jobs and more. There is no escaping it, the information can last after death, with obituaries and death notices available online for cybercriminals to peruse, potentially stealing names, birth dates, hometowns, and other information for identity theft.
Reducing Your Digital Footprint
The good thing is, there are steps you can take to mitigate your digital footprint thus helping protect your privacy. Spend less time and share less information online—the fewer online platform you sign up for and the less you use social media, the less data is likely to end up online for the world to see.
If you can’t cope without using social media, you always have the option of making it private. It’s best practice to delete personal information such as your birthday, address, employment information, and even the names of family members, which could be used to guess answers to security questions or defame your character.
The initial step is to realize that you more likely than not have already had a digital footprint. Do a search of your name and see what comes up, that the steps to keep away from fraud and hold some level of security.
It can be hard to erase this data, you can try to approach each organization and make a request for the data to be removed, take the proactive step by signing up for Identity Theft Protection, or always feel free to contact one of our trusted security advisors to help.