You may have no idea from where they are deciding to hurt you. But that is the internet, and you cannot dodge the internet, but you can dodge these attacks by not leaving a Digital Footprint behind and by playing the smart game. You should show them that if they are smart enough to follow your footprints on the net, then you are also intelligent to not leave any traces behind you.
What is Digital Footprinting?
We know that footprint is the marks left behind. But what is a digital footprint? Well, digital footprinting is when you leave some traces behind you on the internet. Whenever you visit a site on the internet, or open your account, or search something in your search engine, a mark is always left behind indicating that you were there. According to Google:
“Digital footprinting is the information about a particular person that exists on the Internet as a result of their online activity.”Google
So whenever you go on the internet and visit any site, you are making footprints behind you. This happens so that your interests and hobbies can be detected, and by doing so, the internet will be able to show you newsfeed of your choice. So it tries to understand your interests. But this is also misused and is being used against us only. The hackers and attackers are using this information to attack our systems.
Also, sometimes the internet keeps notifying us with the latest trends according to our taste, but this notification can also become irritating after some time. So people need to find ways by which they can stop footprinting.
Threats of Digital Footprinting
Digital footprinting can harm us in many ways. The attackers can use these traces to hack into our systems, and they will also know everything about us, which then leads to cyberbullying. Some of these ways are as follows:
- Privacy at risk
- Sensitive data breach
- Same ads and pop-ups
1. Privacy at Risk
The risk that our personal information is at, due to digital footprinting is very high. The attackers may know all our details through our interests and all our basic information through our personal accounts. They will know it all, and there would be nothing you could do about it except weeping over it.
These footprints can reduce our privacy by 90% and increase the threats and unsafety also by 90%. So in order to stay private and maintain our confidentiality and to save it from the risks of thefts, we must take some effective steps or else anything could be made possible.
2. Sensitive Data Breach
As mentioned before also, our information will reach the attackers through digital footprinting. But not just any information, our sensitive data will also reach them, and we will not even have an idea about it. Thus we can say that sensitive data is breached due to digital footprinting.
This, in particular, is not safe for businesses and enterprises, because these have much sensitive data regarding their company. If this data comes out, then they are doomed. Their whole company will be at a great loss.
3. Same Ads and Pop-ups
We all have faced this. Our internet keeps showing us the same advertisements and pop-ups, and it is so irritating. It is so much annoying every time the device goes ping, and it’s the same ad as always. That is because the internet records all our interests and then shows endorsements accordingly.
This is way too much maddening when the phone keeps showing you the same ads again and again, or every time you search and visit a site, a pop-up, that you are not at all interested in, pops up. Hence something must be done for this so that these cannot annoy us anymore.
How Can You Dodge or Prevent it?
We know that digital footprinting can cause a lot of troubles and is responsible for many irritating activities. So in order to get rid of it or to dodge it, we can simply follow some methods. These methods are as follows:
- Privacy settings in social media
- Browsing history
- Antivirus software
- Do not always add actual data
- Unsubscribe to the mailing list
- Strong passwords
- Regular update
I. Privacy Settings in Social Media
The most important way that you should always make sure of is that you should have proper privacy on all your social media accounts. Make sure that you check all the privacy settings are good enough for your safety, and that you cannot be traced at all.
The reason behind this is that privacy settings allow us to be in charge of who can see our information and who cannot. You should also make sure that location settings are also carefully dealt with as your posts can reveal your current location. So choose who can see your site.
II. Browsing History
Cookies in your systems can lead to stalkers. These cookies let the sites track your activities on the internet, and other sensitive data such as passwords (when remembered), and even online history. So as these sites can track online history, therefore it is important that our history is clear.
It is suggested to remove all the browsing history that contains sensitive data about us and also information about us that might reveal our identity, interests, and hobbies so that you cannot be tracked in this way.
III. Antivirus Software
By using anti-virus software, you can prevent any kind of viruses from getting through your systems. These viruses could get in your system and then trace all your information, even before you know it. Hence viruses play a vital role in tracing our digital footprints.
In fact, they make the job of digital footprinting easier. Due to this reason, it is important that we install the latest antivirus software so that we can be prevented from such kind of threats of tracking and hacking.
IV. Do not Always Add Actual Data
Another important fact or step to prevent digital footprinting is that it is not always necessary to enter the correct credentials everywhere. In some places, you can also use fake information (but make sure it is not illegal, and you do it only in sites which are not authentic, such as in games).
For example, when using Facebook, it is not any law that you should always make it by your own name or add your birth date or exact address. You can add a different one but make sure it is not someone else’s identity because using a real person’s identity is a crime.
V. Unsubscribe to the Mailing list
Sometimes you subscribe to a newsletter just for fun or by mistake, which you do not know anything about and are not sure of its safety. But then, later on, it starts to send spam emails; at this point, you should realize that this is not safe for your system.
What you have to do, is that go to their latest mail which these bugging senders sent you and try to look for the unsubscribe button. Click on the unsubscribe button, and you are saved. This is important as these spams can lead to tracking and keeping your records of digital footprinting.
VI. Use Multiple Search Engines
Another way of preventing yourself from digital footprinting is by using different search engines always for different things. This step is more workable in businesses as they can afford to have so many search engines, but in homes, this not much applicable.
But, if it is possible, try to use multiple search engines as these search engines are the most common method of creating digital footprints. Whatever we search in them, they feed it in their systems and then they will know all our information, especially our interests and hobbies.
VII. Strong Passwords
Passwords are the most common way of security on the internet. People apply passwords everywhere. But do you know how much these passwords are reliable? I think you do not! These passwords can easily be guessed if they are not strong. If passwords are not strong, then digital footprinting becomes more easier.
A strong password is one that contains minimum 8 characters and has letters with uppercase and lowercase, along with numbers and symbols. Such passwords are difficult to crack, and thus, it is difficult to track it and hack it. Therefore prevents digital footprinting.
VIII. Regular updates
Last but not least, it is essential always to keep your systems and devices updated. Whenever they ask for an update, try to do it at that time only. By upgrading it, the chances of creating digital footprints become very rare.
In fact, the footprints created in the past are also deleted. So it is a very effective way not to let any prints be left behind you. Also, when you update the system, the new system is more secure, and thus, it prevents digital footprinting more impressively.
The internet is dark heaven, where everything seems good on the outside but is dark inside. Digital footprinting also similarly looks harmless on the outside but has many problems overall. But now that you know how you can fight it, then there should be no problem to do so. Just follow the steps above, and the chances of digital footprinting will minimize.