Trackers out in the woods can quickly learn your habits and follow your trail based on the clues you leave behind -- footprints, broken branches, and other physical signs. In much the same way, you grow your digital footprint every time you use the internet.
A digital footprint refers to the trail of data or information that individuals leave behind when they use the internet, social media, or any other connected digital device or service. This data can include information such as websites visited, online searches conducted, social media activity, online purchases, as well as other interactions.
Your data trail is composed of both active and passive data. Active data includes information that individuals willingly share online, such as social media posts, comments, and messages. Passive data refers to information that is collected by third parties without individuals’ knowledge, such as cookies and tracking codes.
Your digital footprint is created as soon as your start using the internet, and it grows as you continue to interact with digital devices and platforms. Every online interaction leaves a trace of data that can be collected, stored, and used by companies, governments, and other entities for various purposes -- and often that data is sold and resold by data brokers who profit from your activities.
DigitalStakeout's Digital Footprint Protection service minimizes your Digital Footprint.
The Risks of an Online Footprint
Why should you be concerned about your digital footprint? Here are some risks and dangers associated with an unmanaged digital footprint:
Privacy concerns: An unmanaged digital footprint can lead to privacy concerns, as personal information may be shared unintentionally. For example, a person might share their location on social media, revealing their home address, or they might inadvertently disclose sensitive information in a post or comment.
Reputation damage: An unmanaged digital footprint can also damage a person's reputation. This is particularly true for professionals or job seekers, as employers often search for information about candidates online. If a person has posted controversial or inappropriate content, it could impact their job prospects or their current employment.
Cyberbullying: An unmanaged digital footprint can make a person vulnerable to cyberbullying. This includes negative comments, messages, or posts directed at a person. Cyberbullying can be particularly damaging, as it can be difficult to escape, and it can be shared widely across the internet.
Identity theft: An unmanaged digital footprint can increase the risk of identity theft. If personal information is shared online, such as a person's full name, address, or date of birth, it can be used by fraudsters to steal a person's identity and commit financial crimes.
Proactive Online Threat Detection and Protection
Although all the risks cited above are concerning, they can be mitigated through ongoing monitoring of your digital footprint and taking steps to minimize it. Doing this proactively eliminates the transactional spread of your information by data brokers and the access to your data trail by malicious actors with bad intentions.
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