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Removing Your Digital Footprint?

phone in hand

If you don’t know what a digital footprint is, I will give you a layman’s definition.  A digital footprint is your presence in computers, in databases and on cameras.  Do you want help removing your digital footprint…or at least shrinking it?

While most of the world is throwing themselves into devices that make their world easier, some have begun to realize that with all this convenience comes drawbacks.  For every thing that your computer does to “remember” you, there is a database where that information is stored.  If a hacker cracks that database or they choose to sell your information, you lose control of it.

Supermarkets are a prime example of this.  Let’s say you sign up for a rewards card.  You save a few cents on gas and get a few coupons.  In exchange, they have your name and personal info, your food preferences, every credit card you have ever used to pay for gas or groceries.  And all that information is available all over the country, just in case you travel.  That bothers me.

  • I shop at my local grocery for most of my shopping, and
  • I have gone back to cash.  I don’t have to worry about a cyber thief stealing that.

Another place to watch is online.  Obviously if you are trolling around in chatrooms you are in jeopardy.  But what about Facebook?  Or Twitter?  These sites are a treasure trove of info.  Even if your security settings are high, pictures that anyone can see show you fishing or golfing.  A savvy scammer can come up with a con with those things as the bait.  Or maybe your grandkids?  Did you know there is facial recognition software on FB that if anyone is labeled in a pic ANYWHERE in FB  it will be identified in a pic that’s posted.  It’s suppose to make posting your pics easier ,but if I post a selfie of me at my kids soccer game, and label me, if I am at a bar with friends, someone could take a picture of our group and put it in FB, and it would give them our names and profiles.   How creepy is that?  It will also identify children.  Imagine a predator in a park taking pics, to get the child’s name off Mom’s FB page?  I’m not saying that you can’t be on the computer, I just want you to be aware of how easily information is spread these days.  It is important to be aware and vigilant about the sites you frequent and and the amount of info you make available.

One of the easiest hacks anymore is wi-fi.  Anything that is wireless can be attacked.  Wireless printer, hotspots at a cafe, just to mention a few.  Never do banking or go to your credit cards sites from a hotspot.  You have no idea who else is on there, and you are very vulnerable there.

Be aware of your digital footprint and start to downsize.  Be responsible for yourself.  I don’t want people in my business so I don’t put my business where everyone can see it.

 

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12 Comments

  1. This is scary stuff. I guess many people are still not aware how hackable we are and how much personal information can be found by strangers.
    Thanks for sharing your warnings with the www community.
    Cheers,

    Raymond

    • It can be very scary. The things that make life easy and convenient are also making us very vulnerable. I just want people to be aware of the risks. Thanks for the note.

  2. Very Good Website about Digital Footprints. As you said, many people do not think about how in a sense much of the personal information is going to where the whole world in a sense could have access to it. Many people should come to your Site and get theses Facts. Nice Job!

    • I don’t think people should give up all their toys, but we should be aware of how many doors they leave open in our lives. Here’s hoping people do a bit of research on their own devices.

  3. “I don’t want people in my business so I don’t put my business where everyone can see it.”

    AMEN.

    I do not understand why it is so hard for people to get this. When you put your business online, it’s like exposing it to the public. Anyone can take that information and use it for anything.

    My favorite example of this is employers who check out their employees social media page. Employees often complain they have no right to do this. Perhaps, but maybe if you didn’t put up pictures of yourself drunk off your rocker, or you didn’t complain about how stupid your boss/coworkers are, you wouldn’t have gotten fired.

    If you need to vent, keep a journal. A real, handwritten journal. Go back to putting pictures in albums and sharing them by inviting your friends over. You can’t get fired for that.

    • Well said. If it’s on the internet…it’s NOT private. If it’s on a cell phone…it’s NOT private. If it’s hooked to wi-fi or bluetooth…NOT private. We share way too much with way too many people. I am getting back to the real people in my life. When I am good with them, I may engage online more…but probably not.

  4. Honestly, I try to avoid all social media minus the stuff for my website. My personal facebook account I hate, I just feel like absolute crap once I’m off it. The creator of fb himself said we’re all idiots for putting all of our personal info on there.
    Great post, more people need to see it.

    • I have segregated FB. my page is close family. My fan page is where I share articles, funnies and info. Twitter and google have my personality but few details about my real life. I dont share what we do on weekends or my kids activities. That doesn’t need to be on the interwebs. I hope people start taking responsibility for their own information.

  5. Thanks for the information. Its scary to see even the way adds seem to magically know what you have been thinking of buying. There is little known about info gathering and how it is used. The more we are aware the better.
    Thank you again.

    • Yeah, the algorithms that are used to gather info on spending habits and shopping trends is scary. Everything is tied together and you never know how…

  6. Great article! Sometimes I do worry about my personal info being hacked online. These days, it appears that many people are relying on the internet to make their lives easier eg. online banking, dropbox etc. Gadgets are so popular now.

    • Gadgets and apps are very in vogue…we just need to weigh the benefit with the risk involved. I appreciate online banking, but I won’t do it on a phone that relies on hotspots, which tend to be very unsecure. I wont play an online game that has a credit card assigned to it, on a hotspot. We need to be more knowledgeable and protect ourselves. Regulations in an industry are always way behind the criminals, so we need to protect our own ass-ets.

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