Have you ever been conscious about the fact that you could be tracked by hackers or your precious data could be misused for someone else selfish gain? When remembering everything you’ve ever done online & erasing yourself entirely from the internet is near impossible, you can definitely minimize your track records/ digital footprint on the internet by following certain techniques.
Before diving further into the matter, it is important to understand what digital footprint actually is.
Digital Footprint is a track of data users create while surfing the Internet. It includes all the traces of one’s online activity including browsed websites, shared emails, social media feeds & information one submits while signing up for any online services.
Everyone who uses the Internet leaves a Digital Footprint. Having an online presence is useful for making connections across the globe, but it can become equally dangerous especially if you’ve got any confidential information stored online. This includes private moments, inappropriate comments, and other personal data that might showcase the you in a bad light or affect your reputation.
To check the kind of digital footprint you have, run your name through different search engines. Once you find yourself on any social media networking site & make a note of all the undesirable information that pops up and erase them for good. Your favorite apps and programs running on your system can also be a source for revealing your online activity to hackers and to the ones who want to use them against you.
Here are a few ways with which you can minimize your digital footprint effectively:
Delete or Deactivate Your Shopping/ Social Media/ Web Service Accounts
The very first thing you can do to erase your Internet presence is to delete or deactivate your social media accounts. To get rid of them, go to these websites’ Account Settings, look for options to deactivate or just remove your account. There are tools available online that can help you track & delete online accounts automatically in case you don’t remember on which social media platform you have an active account.
Delete All The Cookies
It’s often recommended to remove all the cookies every now and then, so that no website can be traced back to you by any means. Popular web browsers Google, Firefox, Microsoft Edge etc. allow users to delete cookies. If you don’t want to follow the long process of cleaning your cookies on each browser one-by-one, you can use a third party tool to delete such cookies at one go.
Submit Google Listing Removal Requests
To erase your personal data from Google, just visit the EU Privacy Removal page and fill in all the fields. This may require some time, but you would be able to get the listing erased in the end.
Eliminate Yourself From Data Collection Websites
There are Data Brokers that collect your information and sell them to third-parties, so that for advertisements. Since there are several data brokers sitting online, it’s difficult deal with each of the sites individually. An easier way to opt-out of your name from such sites, there are services that help clean your digital footprints and save your data from any such unwanted brokers.
Unsubscribe Yourself From Mailing Lists
An easy way to unsubscribe from all newsletters is through use of tools that help you see the list of all your subscription emails. These tools help users easily unsubscribe from each service without any hassle.
Delete Forum Entries & Blog Posts
If you wish to remove an old forum post or any blog that you wrote back in the past, you have to contact the webmaster of those forums individually. To contact them, you can either check the About Us or Contacts Section or use the third-party tools to search for the domain name you wish to connect. This would help you find the right person to connect and remove your posts.
There are additional Anti-tracking tools in the market that simply works to mask your Internet Browsing activities.
Manage Your Location Settings
Today, many of the apps we use ask for access to our location or contacts even before allowing us to use them. At times these apps can continue to track your location as long as it is being allowed. One way to prevent this is by switching from ‘Always Allow’ to ‘While Using the App.”
Be Sure About Cybersecurity
Installing anti-virus and other software to ensure your laptops, tablets, and mobile phones have not been hacked can help secure your data. Users should also take measures to change their passwords across their email, financial, and social media account. They should make sure that they are using passwords which are difficult with a variety of letters, numbers, and special characters. Keeping a close watch on financial accounts and credit, and by putting a block on credit requests or inbound requests for credit have also been proven as great preventive measures for data privacy.
Digital Footprints could open gates for hackers and spies to track you. Anything inappropriate posted using your name could tarnish your reputation. Leaving Internet presence behind can make it easy for such entities to misuse your information without your notice. Therefore, it is crucial to be extremely cautious with your private information if you don’t want them to go haywire. Using the above mentioned tools and techniques can definitely help you protect your online data or to minimize their traces after use. Your data is protected means you’re protected.