Why Digital Footprints are Dangerous & How to Erase it

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This article will cover why digital footprints are dangerous and how to erase digital footprints from the web.

Now, everyone has a digital footprint, unless you do not have any online presence whatsoever. Some digital footprint is okay, but most are dangerous. They can track you, scam you, hack you, blackmail you, and much worse.

It’s almost impossible to get rid of all your digital footprint once you have some. Your doctors, dentists, and car dealers all have digital databases of information on you, for example.

But, in this article, I will teach you how you can significantly reduce your digital footprint.

Let’s dive right in.

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How Digital Footprints Can Hurt You

why digital footprints are dangerous

Hackers could exploit this information. There are temporary cache files, IP address leakage, in-the-clear DNS and WebRTC queries, traffic correlation, browser fingerprinting, accidental Clearnet leakage, and stylometry.

All these can build up into knowing exactly what device you use, what websites you visited, where you are, and overall, who you are. So, let’s jump into how you can fix this right now.

How to Erase Your Digital Footprint

Delete Old Email

Email accounts are a gold mine for sensitive personal information, and they may allow hackers to reset passwords on third-party sites that users have forgotten about.

This might allow them access to those services and additional information, which they could then use to conduct phishing attacks to harvest more information from the victims.

To delete previous email accounts, you must first log in with a valid username and password. However, not everyone remembers their email password for a ten-year-old account. As a result, you’ll need to contact the email service provider to request account credentials.

If an email account is not utilized for a certain period of time, some email service providers, such as MSN or Yahoo, will erase it automatically. Otherwise, you’ll have to log into the account manually to remove it permanently.

Delete Data Brokers

These brokers never ask for our permission or agreement before collecting our personal information, but they do so nonetheless to profit from it.

Some companies specialize in brand management that charge for annual “protection plans” that ensure the removal of personal information from data-broker services.

Delete Old Accounts

If you signed up for any forum or anything, delete all of those accounts if you don’t use them. It would help if you deemed small-medium-sized sites to be less trustworthy.

And most of all, if you have any social media account and want no digital footprint there, delete all of your accounts. 

To completely delete all social media profiles, you’ll need to log in to each one. All of the main social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, claim to remove your information as soon as you delete your account.

While we don’t know if this is accurate, the best thing we can do is remove the accounts and make sure no other accounts are active. It may take a few weeks for the content to be removed from Google search results once it has been deleted.

Delete Apps

We enjoy free apps, but we must remember that downloading them is still a transaction. We consent to provide these corporations our personal information, such as online habits and location data.

Once such information is public, it is gone, likely to be sold to other businesses.

Use Safe Browsers

If you wish to stay under the radar after removing previous accounts, I advocate using a platform like the Brave Browser for general internet browsing and using search engines like Tor (integrated with Brave) wherever feasible.

Both of these systems are based on the protection of personal information.

Use Ad Blockers

Although Brave Browser has a built-in ad blocker, if you aren’t using that, I highly recommend you download Fair Adblocker for free at the Google Extensions store. Just make sure to allow Defiel!

This will prevent you from joining up for promotions, newsletters, or phishing schemes that collect your personal information and use it against you.

Use VPNs

VPNs for erasing digital footprints

While erasing your local Web browsing history ensures that no one can see what you’ve been searching for, it won’t prevent your ISP from keeping track of your visits.

Everyone’s online traffic must pass via their Internet Service Provider’s servers to access the Internet. This allows your ISP to see which websites you’ve visited.

As a result, erasing your Web history locally does not prevent your ISP from accessing your whole browser history.

Depending on where you reside, your ISP may be collecting your web surfing history and the information from all of your digital communications to send it over to government officials.

It is critical to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) at all times to ensure that your online privacy is protected.

A VPN scrambles all of the data that comes and goes from your devices as it passes through the ISP servers. The ISP will no longer be able to see which websites you are viewing due to this.

Location Settings

Many of the applications we use nowadays will ask for access to your phone’s location or contacts before allowing you to use them.

For example, Yelp will ask for your location to find nearby restaurant options; nevertheless, Yelp will track your location as long as it is permitted. Switching from ‘Always Allow’ to ‘While Using the App’ is one approach to avoid this.

Delete Addresses

This is more difficult than it appears. Ideally, you should establish a commercial mail agency address and use it for all correspondence rather than using your personal address. Bills, bank accounts, credit card accounts, and even your driver’s license are all included.

Any of your bank accounts will report your address to the three major credit bureaus, and they should all be aware of your change of residence after a few months. Then you must file a dispute with all three organizations until your old home address is removed from your record.

Final Words

Conclusively, digital footprints are very dangerous, and getting rid of some of your digital footprints is highly advised if not all. I hope you found this cybersecurity guide useful and keep prepping.

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