A digital footprint is defined as a trace you leave when using the internet. Like the email you sent this morning, the comment you left on a post on Facebook or on Twitter – all of this information is recorded on the Web and even accumulates and expands on a daily basis that has a negative impact on being left your digital tracks.
All the information you leave on the web can usually be seen by everyone, unless it’s a private one that only cybercriminalization or an expert of the kind can find it. In short, a user can search with great ease in finding out how another person behaves and what digital traces he has left that can identify his personality. So keep in mind that with photos uploaded to instagram and all social media it’s almost easy to know your personal life.
It is important to know your actions on the internet as they can create an image for you that you may not want to portray in the world watching you.
Can a tweet you post at some time look hilarious or have an ideological connotation but actually reveals your personal views and the behavior of your character. Sure, the photos you published in instagram may be particularly sexy, but they complement the frame of your personal life that is accessible to everyone. It does not matter for how long this thing happens, but the amount that your digital footprint reveals.
Other aspects of our digital footprint can be found in government databases and are probably collected by your ISP at some unsuspecting moment without getting it rewarded, whether or not these data will be used for a specific purpose, simply stored for use when needed.
Although this data is collected legally (at least most of the times) to create your profile that can then be used to target an advertiser to an advertisement to you according to your preferences, such as for goods and services, but it must be understood that a cyber criminality can easily exploit this information that reveals aspects of your personal life to use them for a fraudulent purpose.
There are ways and means that people can use to limit this real risk of digital footprint, but before you try to cover your digital footprints, you must first understand the extent and gravity of the issue. There are two types of digital footprint: “passive” and “active”.
Passive digital footprint
The first consists of information that technology companies collect in the background, such as browsing data, IP addresses, and purchasing habits. This is often collected without knowing it, and is used to target ads, create customer profiles, and more. There are several ways to minimize the large extent of this type of footprint, such as the use of proxy servers and VPNs, or the use of the Tor Browser browser that offers anonymity when surfing the web.
Fortunately, this data is not usually public to search by anyone, so they do not pose a major problem in your everyday life – unless you are a particular target of private companies such as Google and Facebook to monitor your online activity.
Active digital footprint
The other kind is the “active” digital footprint, which is the publicly detectable information you share on the web, including Facebook updates, emails sent to someone else, and Facebook, Twitter, and all means of social networking. We rarely pay special attention to this type of digital fingerprint, but some cases can become a major headache.