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Digital footprints allow hackers and ad companies to track what you are interested in and fill your browsing space with related content. Digital footprints from old unused accounts can be misused by the hackers to retrieve your personal information leading to identity threats and crimes.
Deleting your digital footprint from the internet completely is not possible. But there are easy ways to reduce it if you develop the habit of safe surfing.
Follow some basic rules to mask everything you do on the internet from getting exposed to marketing companies and cybercriminals.
Start from your Browser
- Delete all the cookies and cache from your browser regularly.
- Use search engines like DuckDuckGo and Browsers like Brave ot Tor which do not try to steal or monitor every information you search on the internet.
- Go through the settings page of your browser and spend some time exploring it. Many browsers have options that allow you to choose the level of privacy you want.
Use Professional Services
Sign in with services that search the internet for your details and delete them from all the databases and broker sites you did not subscribe to. Most marketers get your details from such services and staying away from them will prevent your information from getting exposed to numerous unwanted eyes.
Close Old Accounts
We create several emails and accounts over years and eventually forget about them. They have several bits of personal information about us starting from our mother’s maiden name to our date of birth. Hackers who are able to get hold of such details often use them as a treasure cove to get important data about you and perform various scams under your name.
- Make a list of all the old email IDs you could remember and delete them. Companies like Google will ask which account you want to log in to if you log out of your current account.
- Make a list of the other accounts shown there and try to delete them. The data and privacy sections of the Google account often have options to delete the account securely.
Some accounts get deleted automatically if they are left unused for a particular time or they are dormant for a few years. Try creating another email account in the same name to check if the account is still active. If so, find the login details and delete them.
Unsubscribe from Unwanted Subscriptions
Search your inbox for welcome emails. There will be a number of emails asking you to confirm your email address. Delete all the unwanted newsletters and magazines you have subscribed to unknowingly.
Nearly every website asks you to create an account to proceed further these days. You do not use many of them even once. Unsubscribe from all those unwanted listings which will prevent marketers of similar services from targeting you.
You might have a common username, which you use everywhere. Search for that username in the email address and find out how many new services you never knew existed, show up in your subscription. Reject all of them which will remove your name from nearly 50% of email listings.
Careful App Usage
Be careful with downloading free apps. Every time you download a free app, you give access to your
- And phone tracking
Since most browsing happens on mobile, the data gathered is sold for millions to several marketing companies who want to know what you are interested in and try to sell you the same.
When you give access to professional apps that try to track your location like a review site, always select the “only when I use the app,” option. It will prevent the app from tracking your location, where you are, and what you are always doing.
Login with Different Passwords
It is hard to remember passwords for every site. But it is better to use a password manager and avoid the “Login with Facebook” and “Login with Google” options. Once you log in with your basic email account or social media account, nearly every website gets the details about your name and other important details associated with the email account.
It is wise to log in with different emails and passwords for third-party websites used for shopping and gaming. Never give your real details to them and always use a fake id and masked date of birth details when you create an account with such sites.
Delete Old Social Media Accounts
Talk with your friends and family and find out whether they are connected to you on your old social media account. Make a list of the old social media accounts you no longer use and delete them. Spend some time on the social media profile page and mask your actual information like date of birth, mother’s name, and city you were born in.
It is not wise to reveal all real information about you on social media in the first place. If you have done so, change it now to stay on the safer side. Reveal your real details only on professional job sites like LinkedIn and ensure you connect only with genuine people.
Use Nuwber to check the people you are connecting with and verify their actual identity. Connect only with genuine people from real companies whose contacts will be beneficial to you.
Random Final Tips
- Explore the Account Settings pages of important sites like Google and delete browsing histories permanently.
- You can also find old email accounts or other associated email accounts from the accounts settings page and choose to delete them and even delete the private data stored about you permanently.
Think twice before engaging in such steps because doing them will make you lose several passwords and you will not be able to login to the usual sites easily. However, such measures can be taken if you fear any form of cyber-attacks or stalking.