Most people are aware they leave a carbon footprint, yet the average person is unaware of his or her digital footprint. This electronic footprint is left behind after connecting to networks, unsecured USB sources and when using a credit or debit card for purchases. Even posting something online or letting a website install cookies on your device creates a digital trail of sorts. Digital footprints include personal information, login details, IP addresses and more. There is the potential for this “trail of digital crumbs” to come back to haunt you. Let’s take a look at how to safeguard your digital footprint.
Encrypt Your Data by Enabling HTTPS
Most web addresses start with “HTTP”. If there is not an “S” at the end of this string of letters, the website is not to be trusted with your personal information. Take a look at the URL bar at the top of your internet browser to ensure it has the green-hued lock. The online merchant or other service should have an “HTTPS” address to ensure the data you transmit is secure. It won’t take long to install the HTTPS Everywhere extension for your internet browser. Once this extension is installed, you can freely surf the web to your heart’s content without fear of your personal information being compromised.
Deactivate or Delete Social Media/Online Shopping Accounts no Longer in Use
If you no longer use certain e-tailers or social media websites, there is no sense keeping your account active. If you let these accounts remain open, there is a chance your data will be pilfered at some point down the line. Access your account settings on unused accounts and deactivate or even completely delete those accounts.
Concerned About Your Digital Footprint? Consider Using a VPN
Virtual private networks, or VPN for short, are an effective means of protecting your digital footprint and preserving your online privacy. In fact, VPNs even stop websites from implementing cookies that monitor your web browsing activity. Use a VPN to surf the web and your online activity will essentially take place in a bubble no one but you can access. Your IP address will be completely concealed so all of your online activity is hidden from others’ view.