Protecting your digital footprint

Your digital footprint is becoming significantly more prevalent in recent years. With a combination of Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, forums and more, it is now easier than ever to build a portfolio of an individual.

Your information is used to register for every online service imaginable. This information, while valuable, can be reasonably intrusive depending on the service you register for. There is a famous quote that is “If something is free, you are the product.”, and this applies to many scenarios in the digital environment. With a host of services, your information is gathered during registration to use for marketing, and often times sold to third parties.

Without proactive control over your data, you can quickly leave yourself susceptible for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT). OSINT is the method of harvesting publicly available information on an individual by digging into their social media, looking at common online usernames and aliases to find out as much information as possible about an individual. Findings from this type of OSINT can be used for blackmail, fraud or may even be sold to another individual to misuse.

Our advice is to be vigilant with what information you give out online. You wouldn’t put your confidential letters in a bin without shredding them, or at least ripping them apart – so why host all of this information to be publicly visible online? This information can be collated and used for identity theft, fraud or blackmail; all it takes is a dedicated individual with enough motivation to harvest your information. If you must use your personal information for services, make sure that this is set to private so you cannot be easily traced, or better yet, reduce which services you register for to make your footprint smaller.