Whenever you do something online, whether it is banking, shopping or simply commenting on social media posts, you leave a digital footprint. A digital footprint is basically a trace of yourself in cyberspace, which can be traced back to your IP address.
Most people would agree that this is just an inevitable consequence of technological living. However, some are not comfortable with the thought that Google is tracking everything that they do online. This includes people who are concerned about online security or those who are victims of spam, doxxing, or spyware attacks. You may want to know how to hide completely from the Internet if you are in this camp, since you may wish to prevent people from finding you.
There are several steps you can take toward this end. If you are vigilant, committed, and diligent about it, you will be able to do a fairly effective job of cleaning up your online reputation.
If you have had any kind of online identity at all, then there is a high chance that you will always be able to find a trace of yourself somewhere online. As a result, here’s how to get rid of 99% of the digital footprints left behind by you.
1. If you use social media, make sure your privacy settings are set to private: According to Beau Friedlander, a cyber security expert and co-host of the podcast What the Hack with Adam Levin, a true cybercrime podcast with Adam Levin, there is no good reason to have your personal information visible on your social media accounts. If you change the settings in your account so that it only shows information about you to close friends and relatives, your data will be able to be used for a variety of identity-related crimes. While you may delete your account completely, Friedlander advises that you should keep in mind that the information that has already been collected about you and sold to third parties will not disappear when you ‘leave the building.’ In addition, you could consider limiting how much personal information you share in your social media bios so that it only contains the bare minimum amount of information.
2. Choosing to stay away from online directories may be the most effective way to protect your privacy. Several online data brokers provide data on anyone with any kind of public record that is open-source intelligence, or OSINT, Friedlander explains to Yahoo Life.
Essentially, what he is referring to is what is commonly referred to as a “people-finder website,” which is an online version of the White Pages (Books of Information). It is, fortunately, possible for you to remove your personal information from their website by filling out online forms. You can opt-out of the following company’s services by visiting the websites of Acxiom, Epsilon, Oracle, Equifax Information Services, Experian, and CoreLogic. By opting out, you can ensure that your information remains secure from prying eyes. It is advisable to use a service such as JustDeleteMe.com if you would like to simplify the process.
3. The next thing you should do is to close your old accounts: “You might have forgotten all about [social media sites] associated with bygone eras of the web, but in reality, your data may still be out there,” warns Friedlander. Check out HaveIBeenPwned.com to see if any of your old accounts have been compromised in data breaches. If the site flags that your passwords are compromised (and, therefore, your personal information) then you need to shut them down immediately. Even better, if you do not need them anymore, shut them down regardless of all things.
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