Technology

How to Protect Your Digital Footprint

The internet is a network of websites and a source of information that you want to access. However, your online activity is being monitored, so what you do online matters for your digital safety. Here are some measures to consider.

Be Careful What You Put Online

Be careful what personal aspects of your identity you release to the public. An online background check will yield results on many different aspects of a person’s identity. Websites track your activity and can trace your steps on the internet, so be professional about what information you publicize because people can find and release this personal data across multiple services—a malicious practice called “doxing.” Potential employers also have a key role because they can choose to hire you or reject you based on the type of information you are showing the public.

Change Passwords

You should change your passwords frequently. Doing this will reduce your risk of exposure to hackers who want to steal your password to gain access to your credit card and personal information. In order to be impossible-to-crack, your new password should be long, with a mix of letters, digits, and special characters. Do not reuse your password for multiple services because if one account gets hacked, it is possible that your other accounts will get hacked. Write down your passwords in a safe place or use a password manager to create passwords for you. However, do not let your web browser store your password because your web browser can get hacked.

Use a VPN

A virtual private network (VPN) is capable of hiding your digital footprint as you navigate the internet. VPNs hide your true IP address and mask it so that your ISP cannot easily track you and the websites that you visit cannot track your activity either. A VPN is a private network connection that allows you to remain anonymous as you use the internet so that you do not leave a digital footprint behind. The VPN’s servers reroute your connections and protect your identity from potential hackers. VPNs also grant you access to websites that may be forbidden under your location’s current network settings. You can bypass blocked sites and not leave a digital footprint at the same time.

Your ISP, hackers, and the government monitor your digital footprint, so be mindful of how you use the internet and what your intentions are. Although the internet has done a lot of good and is a source of endless information, that doesn’t necessarily make it a safe place to explore.

Want to avoid the pitfalls and perils of the internet? We recommend reading: How to keep yourself from getting Phished.