Surveillance comes in many forms, and information can be found in just a few clicks. Private corporations, criminals, and even law enforcement can find things you have posted, written, video logs, chats, and even your private phone conversations. As private investigators specializing in electronic surveillance and debugging countermeasures, Barefoot Professional Investigations has resources for you, and they understand what is at stake better than most.
Your Digital Footprint
You leave a trail of virtual breadcrumbs with every keystroke and mouse click you make while connected to the World Wide Web. Most people are super conscious of security when it involves their children and banking details, but what about IP addresses, locations, buying habits, or chat conversations? They may not be as private as you think.
Before your online activities come under scrutiny from your employer or other professional activities, it’s useful to know how they’re discovered and tracked.
Active digital footprints are consciously left by the actions you take online. Signing up for a newsletter, allowing cookies on a website, posting to social media, and allowing push notifications are all examples.
Passive digital footprints include traces that are left without our knowledge or consent. Sometimes they stem from observing activity. Advertisements change based on something you searched, websites use geolocation to find your closest store, and cookies are sometimes used without asking.
How to secure your digital footprint
Securing your digital footprint isn’t as difficult as it sounds; the most important step is to get started, today. Learn how to secure your online activity, limit the data you share, and be cautious about what you are sharing in third party apps and tools (Facebook Messenger, What’s App, etc.)
Create a strong one, avoiding things that are associated with your credit profile, dates, and names. Keep each one unique for each one you create. Use an alphanumeric password and include special characters. Password managers with master passcode can be helpful.
If it’s not secure don’t enter! HTTP is an unsecured website where any data provided can be shared on the web. Keep your subscriptions in hand- delete old social media and newsletter subscriptions. Avoid linking websites and social media accounts, it’s not secure and not wise. Protect your family and yourself with internet security and identity protection products.
Review & protect your digital footprint
Enter your full name on several search engines (Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter) and see what comes up. Make notes of those that are not favorable. You may contact the site and request the information be removed, log in and take the information down, or reach out to the web host if it’s controversial or inflammatory content.
Next, set up alerts so that you’re notified every time your name is mentioned online. Tools like Talkwalker and Mention are available; Google Alerts has proven to be unreliable. If there’s more negative content than you can manage, begin creating favorable content in platforms that frequently show up in the search results: A profile on LinkedIn, a YouTube account with neutral videos, FourSquare, Pinterest, Apollo.io, etc. If you volunteer or participate in charity work, consider publishing a press release for local news sources.
Check your privacy settings on every device you use. It’s essential to be aware of the terms of service; some content posted on social media can be redistributed without consent and viewed by everyone. Do not allow anyone you do not know access to your computer or accounts to prevent damage to your footprint. Logging off websites and deleting unused apps helps clear the data used in the visit. Cleaning catches and browsing history regularly removes some passive data available.
Get help with your digital footprint
Even using every trick in the book, data leaks out and hackers become smarter. Sometimes you do not understand the lingo involved in the upkeep of your digital footprint. Barefoot Professional Investigations is here to help with your plight. Safeguard your digital footprint and take steps to improve it.