Easy ways to manage your digital footprint

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Jordanna Kalkhof March 10, 2020

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Now that we’ve covered what your digital footprint is, let’s review a few easy ways to manage it. These simple steps can help minimize the amount of data you leave behind online.

 

1. Limit the data you share

Be intentional about who you share your data with. Only share personal information with sites and platforms that you trust and consider worth the risk. Stay away from online quizzes and forms that collect unnecessary information.

2. Delete old accounts and data

We have online accounts for all kinds of things. However, over time we stop using accounts that are no longer relevant to us. But even though we stop using these accounts, our data remains. Deleting old accounts will remove the data that was left behind, minimizing your footprint and protecting you from potential data breaches.

3. Don’t use third-party logins

Resist the urge to use third-party login buttons, such as “Login with Facebook”. Although it may save you the trouble of making an account from scratch, having all of your accounts linked through one organization creates preventable security risks – not to mention the holistic profile you’d be willingly forming for that company.

4. Use secure websites

Take note of whether a site is secure or not by checking that it starts with https:// instead of http://. If a site is unsecure, do not enter personal information.

5. Avoid public Wi-Fi

Public wi-fi hosts multiple privacy and security concerns. Transmitting personal data on this type of network is unwise. If you have to use a public network, consider investing in a VPN. VPNs protect your data through encryption, ensuring your information stays private. Ghostery’s latest privacy suite, Ghostery Midnight, includes a built-in VPN, in addition to the same tracker protection technology you’ve come to know and love.

6. Keep your software updated

Software updates often include bug fixes and address other vulnerabilities that may have been found in previous versions. Instead of choosing “Remind Me Later”, go ahead and do the update.

7. Update privacy settings for platforms and apps

Most platforms and apps aren’t private by default. Increasing your privacy requires reviewing their settings and changing them to match your preferences – limiting third-party access, location sharing, etc.

8. Limit social media sharing

Adjust who your data is shared with by making it friends only, instead of public and available to everyone. Some platforms only allow public profiles (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn), which is why it’s important to also consider the information you’re sharing within your posts. We’ll look into this a bit more next week, so stay tuned.

9. Block cookies and trackers

Cookies and trackers are pervasive in today’s digital landscape. They collect all kinds of information about you in the background of your browsing. Utilize privacy technologies that help protect you from these data-gathering culprits. The Ghostery Browser Extension is free and available for most major browsers. You could also go a step further and block trackers in your browsers and applications with Ghostery Midnight.

 

And there you have it – 9 easy steps to start minimizing your footprint and take control of your digital self.

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