The technology team has been talking with the middle school students. One topic includes their digital footprint. What does that mean?
A digital footprint is simply a record of anything you do online. It tracks where you go online, any data that you may have shared along with traces left behind. Often times the information is shared by posting to social media, creating accounts, or leaving an online review.
Other ways a digital footprint is created is when a site installs cookies on your device. Apps collect data without you even knowing about it. Worse yet, your personal information can be compromised if there is a data breach!
Below are ten tips for protecting your digital footprint.
#1 Limit the types of data you share
The best way to protect your digital footprint is to limit the data you share. Before you fill out an online form or give your personal information to an organization, you should evaluate if the “payoff” is really worth the risk.
#2 Steer clear of unsafe websites
If a website doesn’t begin with HTTPS — where the “S” stands for “secure” — you should probably go elsewhere. Never share any confidential information on unsecured sites, especially payment details.
#3 Don’t enter personal data on public Wi-Fi
In addition to avoiding suspicious websites, you should also refrain from transmitting sensitive data across public Wi-Fi networks.
#4 Delete old accounts
Do you have an old social media account you’re no longer using? Are you subscribed to a newsletter you no longer read? When was the last time you checked to see how many accounts you have? Reduce your digital footprint by deleting old accounts. This method also helps protect you from future breaches.
#5 Give your medical records a checkup
Identity thieves aren’t just targeting your bank accounts. They also want your medical records and health information. When criminals use your personal information to get treatment in your name, their records can easily become intertwined with your own. Practice good data hygiene by periodically reviewing your medical records.
#6 Don’t log in with Facebook
Logging into websites and apps using Facebook is convenient. Unfortunately, it’s neither secure nor wise. So, avoid linking your Facebook account with third-party organizations.
#7 Use an identity protection service
At some point, your personal information and data are likely to fall into the wrong hands. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Protect yourself by using an identity protection service that offers full remediation services.
#8 Limit your sharing on social media
Social media makes connecting with the world easier than ever. Unfortunately, it makes oversharing just as simple. Think twice before revealing your location, travel plans, or other personal details.
#9 Always update your software
Cybercriminals can easily access a victim’s devices and data by exploiting vulnerabilities in software. You can help prevent this by keeping your software up to date.
#10 Act fast after a breach
If you suspect your data might have been compromised in a breach, take action immediately. If you believe your password was exposed, change it immediately. If it’s a password you’ve used other places, update it there as well.
Living in the digital era
The above tips are just the beginning. Staying protected in today’s digital era requires a shift in our way of thinking. We must all consider the types of data we share and with whom we share it. Only then can you better manage your footprint and reduce the amount of your data that lives online.
Allstate Identity Protection. “What’s a digital footprint and why does it matter?” (2022). Web: https://www.allstateidentityprotection.com/content-hub/whats-a-digital-footprint#:~:text=Your%20digital%20footprint%20is%20a,your%20activity%20without%20your%20permission.