Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Digital Footprint

The headlines around the collection and processing of Facebook user data by Cambridge Analytica further demonstrated that what you put online stays online and further grows your digital footprint. The news that dating apps were sharing user data with third parties and the fact that there are more opportunities for federated logins result in even more data available on you, which consequently makes it easier for companies to share that data and target sales.

Techopedia defines digital identity as combining elements such as usernames, online search activities, electronic transactions, date of birth and purchasing history or behavior.

What are the options to reduce the size of your digital footprint and how can you take steps to make yourself less visible online than you currently are? Infosecurity looked at some of the best options.

01 – Delete or Deactivate Old Shopping & Social Network Accounts
Go to your account settings and look for an option to either deactivate, remove or close your account on any social network or online shopping site that you no longer use. 
“How to Delete Yourself from the Internet (Item 1)” by CNet

02 – Remove Yourself from Data Collection Sites
Go to data broker sites and deal with each individually, or use a service that will do all of the deleting for an annual charge.
“How to Delete Yourself from the Internet (Item 2)” by CNet

03 – Use Stealth or Incognito Mode – or Even Tor
Internet browsers offer private browsing options to avoid being tracked, whilst the more cautious can use privacy tools such as Tor to browse incognito.
“How to Protect Your Data and Remove Yourself From the Internet” by TechRadar

04 – Deactivate Old Email Accounts
How many email accounts have you used over the years? Deactivating them is important and must include finding – and deleting – old services and corporate accounts.
“How to Reduce Your Digital Footprint” by Clark

05 – Check Your Privacy Settings
Check the privacy settings of the websites you use most often, particularly social media sites, and see what level of privacy you have set. Consider tightening your privacy options. 
“How to Protect Your Data and Remove Yourself From the Internet” by TechRadar

06 – Add Extensions or Plug-Ins 
A number of tools – extensions or plug-ins – are offered to highlight to users what trackers a website is using. Many of these tools are available for free.
Tech Tools by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

07 – Ask for a Website to Remove You from a Database Directly
You can go to each website you have accounts with directly and make a personal request for your account to be deleted. A service like JustDeleteMe can tell you how easy or difficult it is to delete an account.
“How to Protect Your Data and Remove Yourself From the Internet” by TechRadar

08 – Use the Right to be Forgotten
With the GDPR now the basis for European data protection law, Right to be Forgotten is available to use to remove inaccurate or out of date data.
“How to Protect Your Data and Remove Yourself From the Internet” by TechRadar

09 – Use False or ‘Burner’ Information
If you don’t want to give up your own data, create false data such as a throwaway email address or fake date of birth for non-essential mailing lists.
“Reduce Digital Footprint & Avoid Online Stalkers” by Online Sense

10 – Don’t Click on Daft Surveys
Clickbait has become part of the modern internet, but with each ‘which Friends character are you?’ survey you enter, you’re giving something up. Ask yourself whether it’s worth the trade-off.

Raywood, Dan. “Top Ten Ways to Reduce Your Digital Footprint” Infosecurity Magazine 2018 July

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It’s important to keep in mind that you can never be too secure. Small business. BIG RISK. The average cost of downtime related to a ransomware attack is $46,800. Our Dark Web monitoring service scans the Dark Web 24/7/365 to determine if any of your data is for sale on any of it’s 600,000 sites. We are offering a one-time complimentary Dark Web scan for your company email domain. If there are no compromised credentials, you will have peace of mind. If there are issues, we’re here to help.

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

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