Who hasn’t Googled themselves?
It’s always interesting to find out what kind of information a search engine associates with our name. Thinking about it from a malicious perspective: if a scammer were trying to build a profile on you, how much data could they get from a simple internet search? Most likely, they would identify which social media sites you’ve joined; they would know if you have a personal blog; they might even find pictures of your face. These are all part of your digital footprint—a trail of information associated with your internet activity.
The amount of harm this could lead to depends on how much information you allow to be public. If your social media accounts are set to private, scammers won’t have access to your friends, family members, or anything you post. Private social media accounts are one way to cover some of your digital footprints. Here are a few others:
- Control who can access your private information.
- Censor yourself. Remove any sensitive information about yourself that you have in your profile.
- Create strong, memorable passwords. Avoid using common words, as password cracking tools can use every word in the dictionary to try to access your password.
- Keep all your software up to date. Outdated software could house a wealth of digital footprints. Without the latest updates, cybercriminals could gain access to this information.
- Set a password or lock pattern on your mobile device. That way, your device can’t be accessed by other people if you accidentally lose or misplace it.
We all leave behind a trail of data that can easily be uncovered. It’s essential to take measures to hide as much of that trail as possible, so it doesn’t lead to security incidents like identity theft (where a scammer uses your personal information to open fraudulent accounts or apply for loans).