5 Tips For Reducing Your Digital Footprint

Tips For Reducing Your Digital Footprint

Data is the new currency that controls the tides of the digital world in which we spend quite a portion of our lives. We enjoy the convenience of online shopping, quick bank transactions, interacting with content, watching movies, and even gambling. All from the very seat of our comforting home. However, the price we pay is our privacy. Unbeknownst to you, tidbits of your data, including even the most sensitive information like billing details or security numbers, could be floating around in the furthest corners of the web. The scale of the digital footprint of just one person could exceed your imagination. Fortunately, more and more people talk about these concerns and take action against data brokers. In this article, we’ll overview the 5 tips for those who want to minimize your traces online and reclaim the privacy that was so sneakily stolen from you.

Reducing Your Digital Footprint

The best part is that they’re not difficult to follow, so you don’t need an IT course beforehand. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it.

1. Use an ad blocker- Reducing Your Digital Footprint

ad blocker- Reducing Your Digital Footprint
Reducing Your Digital Footprint

Ad blockers do more than swiping annoying advertisements off your screen, facilitating a seamless browsing, shopping, gaming, or streaming experience. They also disable trackers. Whenever you browse online, websites with any transactional interest collect the digital profiles of their users. In fact, in-page and browser-based trackers are the ones that follow your online movements and report the information back to advertisers or sellers.

Investing in a capable ad blocker, like Total Adblock or uBlock Origin, will reduce the unwanted digital footprint through advertising content removal. Moreover, the user data that companies are after plays a role in things like price discrimination. So, an ad blocker with an anti-tracking feature is an overall win.

2. Connect to VPN servers when browsing

Every step you take, snoopers, like your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or mobile carrier, watch all that you do. The websites you visit and the files you download. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are often loaded with cybercrooks and overly curious hackers. Basically, your data is exposed to numerous prying eyes whenever you venture online.

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) bridges a protective tunnel between the internet and your device. A reliable service employs AES-256 encryption, upon which even banks and militaries rely to secure sensitive data. Thus, you’re concealed from potential snoopers whenever you connect to a VPN server. It, in turn, dramatically reduces the digital footprint and chances of your online behavior and unwanted information falling into the wrong hands.

3. Delete old accounts & emails- Reducing Your Digital Footprint

Email- Reducing Your Digital Footprint

Old accounts and emails are a snack for hackers. You may have created an account for an online store to make a one-time purchase. Then you forgot about it, naturally. However, it contains information about you and billing details. All this data is a sitting duck for a cybercriminal and easy to break into since you haven’t updated a password in who knows how long.

Besides, many assume that deleting a mobile app also deletes the account. It’s a wrong assumption. After a while, almost every user has unused and forgotten accounts or emails lingering around the web, just asking for that data to be harvested. So, if you wish to remain discreet online, delete old accounts.

Also Read: Top 5 Benefits of Using a VPN for SEO

4. Create unique & strong passwords for every account

Unused accounts and emails are just one side of the coin. Even the ones you use actively are at risk of getting hacked. For this reason, people are encouraged to regularly change their credentials and, better yet, store them safely with applications like password managers. After all, most of us don’t bother creating particularly complex passwords and use a different one for each account. Alas, that’s the danger we impose ourselves.

A regular password with around 7 letters and a symbol or a number can take up to only 1 minute for a hacker to crack, according to Tech.co. Once they access your account, you won’t even know until the identity theft happens. Yes, a hacker can steal your identity just by getting into one of your accounts, depending on the information it holds. So, strengthen your online privacy with a small step like creating a complex password, and you’ll run lower risks of getting data stolen.

Also Read: Six Benefits Of Using A VPN while Streaming

5. Initiate your information removal from data brokers

By now, you realize that probably several dozen data brokers hold your information, and you don’t even know who or what kind of data we’re speaking about. But let’s clear up the mystery behind data brokers. These are companies that collect your information from a variety of sources to sell it out to other businesses. Unless you request data removal from them, they’ll continue to distribute your information without your consent.

Unfortunately, you’ll need to seek out lists of online data brokers to inquire about your data and request its removal. On the other hand, you can rely on software that does the job for you, like Incogni or DeleteMe. They contact data brokers on your behalf and negotiate information removal, which can take a few weeks, if not months. While such apps have a limited list of companies, they save you significant time.

Reducing Your Digital Footprint -Bottom line

Our online ventures leave traces, like footstep imprints on the sand during a beach walk. Except they’re far deeper. Gradually, more people realize the price of their private information circulating the various web layers. If you’re one of them, you must take matters into your own hands and start reducing your digital footprint from this moment. From doing a spring cleaning with your old and unused accounts to taking the initiative to remove your information from data brokers – the road may be long but worthwhile.

What matters most is taking care of your current credentials and creating complex passwords unique for each account. Likewise, relying on software to cover your tracks is commendable. Ad blockers will disable the intrusive trackers, while a VPN overall keeps your online sessions utterly private. And, finally, you can always entrust data removal software to have those dragged conversations with data brokers for you.

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