What is a digital footprint? And how to protect yourself online? A digital footprint is like a file of “traceable online activities, communications and actions specific to you”. A sort of online identity that makes you unique. Every time you are online, you leave a footprint of where you’ve been and what you’ve done.
Digital footprints are divided into two different categories. One being our “active digital footprints” which is made up of websites and platforms that we have purposely given information to (sign up for a social media account, mailing list, online form). The other is called “passive digital footprint” – here our information is collected without us knowing. This is used by third parts in order to track website traffic and collect automatically data (cookies).
Why you really should worry about your digital footprint?
Whenever you visit a website, share a photo or make a comment online, you are leaving a digital footprint. Lots of the information you share can be seen by other people or businesses. The data can be used to target adverts at you (have you ever noticed all the advertisements in social networks?), or it could be seen by a potential employer years later. Sometimes people can use the details you share to work out your identity. Your footprint can be both good and bad. It could show things you’re embarrassed about later, sensitive information such a medical condition, religion or sexual preference, topics you are interested in, or help people to see your skills or things you’re proud of.
How to protect your digital footprint online and stay safe on the internet?
1- Have different email addresses and passwords: Separate your profiles, so you have a personal one for social media or newsletter, a private one for work, and even a separate account to pay your bills or administrative matters. Also, remember to don’t use the same passwords for different accounts. Store them in a password manager if you need.
2- Don’t over-share online and think before you post: You never know who’ll see photos, videos or comments you put online so think about how others might react before you post anything. Never share your address, phone number or the name of your kid’s school online. Every single time you decide to post something that’s publicly available, make sure you understand what the ramifications and risks are.
3- Check what data your device, App or social is collecting: Understand your privacy controls for different device, App and social profiles and check to see what they are. Every device is different so search online to find out if your data is being used. Also, lots of Apps will ask for permission to use your data when you install them, including things like your contacts, photos and texts. Double check and be careful about what you agree to.
Galactica Group is here to support you as a person or business. It’s now more important than ever to ensure you’re getting the best advice about your brand’s digital footprint and in general your cyber-security. We offer consultation and digital crisis management services to identify what might be hindering your online success or potential risks. Visit our website and discover more about our services.