Unshakeable Salt Ltd provides Information Security ‘advice and guidance’, not only to businesses, but also as part of of (ISC)² Safe and Secure Online. Part of that advice includes ‘reducing your digital footprint’, such that there is as little personal information about you and your family available for misuse.
Reducing your digital footprint
Proactively, everyone should be aware of;
Set the privacy settings of Operating Systems, Devices and Application not to share with anyone unless you explicitly want them to have the information.
Don’t over share
Think before you post, have you set the distribution to only those who you desire to know.
Watch for geo tagging
Check to see if your photo taking application is including the geographic location of where the snap was taken. Also check the App too – as your photos may be anonymised, but it’s amazing what extra information the Application may add to your photo. Finally, be wary also of the network operator adding a tag. That ‘Free WiFi’ at the airport may automatically tag you as being about to board a flight for a holiday away.
Tell your friends and family not to tag by name
Even if you do everything right and lock your privacy down, it all falls apart is someone else doesn’t. You’ve done all the good stuff, but they then ‘tag’ and name you as being with them. Suddenly you’re not private any more.
Where possible, delete old accounts of anything you don’t use anymore. For accounts you can’t delete, fill in the required fields will false information — nothing real about you!
Minimise your use of Social Media and deactivate/delete those accounts that you don’t use frequently. Just go to your account settings and there will be an option to “deactivate” your account — ideally permanently. Don’t forgot those old legacy sites that just aren’t ‘hip’ anymore;
Delete old emails (including that archive folder!!) that may contain any personal or sensitive info about you (like passwords or account numbers you forgot etc.)
Unsubscribe from the email list you can identify and trust, add all the others to a ‘Junk Filter’. Turn off any notification and text message alerts.
Deactivate and delete old email accounts. Don’t set up forwarders, just get rid of them.
Forums, Message Boards and Chatrooms
You might not be able to delete old postings, but remove all personal information about yourself in your profile. If you cant remove everything (because the software won’t allow it), then put ‘fake’ data in there. Once you are done, even change the email to something fake.
Go forth and find yourself
Search for yourself online: There could be old accounts, profiles and other information out there that you forgot about. How about those photos of you that exist online, search google images. Try searching for profile pictures of yourself !
Did you know that you can can request for search engines to remove any information about yourself that you don’t want out there!