It is more important than ever to protect your digital footprint in this new digital age. You may not realize it, but your digital footprint is probably a lot larger than you think it is. A digital footprint is a trail of data that you leave behind while using the internet. This includes the websites you visit, emails you send, even walking around with your phone in your pocket. You might not be aware that someone could be collecting information about you. Not only affecting your digital footprint but your life.
According to a study by the University of Maryland, a data breach takes place at least once every 39 seconds. As a result of this, data protection laws are introduced to give you control over your digital footprint. Empowering you to know how your data is being used, by whom and why. It is your responsibility to protect your digital footprint from an attack and to be aware of what can happen if a data breach were to occur. Here is a list of five reasons why you need control over your data:
1. Identity Theft is Expensive. Really Expensive.
Having your identity stolen is a frightening situation, which is why it is crucial to have control over your digital footprint. Identity theft is when an individual or a group uses your personal or financial information without your permission. They could steal anything from your name and address to your social security number. These individuals can use your information and data to buy things with your credit cards, pretend to be you if they become arrested, or worse. From the Javelin 2021 Identity Fraud Study, it was reported that total identity fraud losses reached $56 billion (USD) in 2020, with 49 million people affected. Unfortunately, victims of these identity theft scams lose $1,100 on average. Without data privacy, anyone is vulnerable to these personal attacks.
2. Cyber Criminals are Looking for You
Having a public social media profile can make you extremely vulnerable to crime. For instance, posting your travel schedule ahead of time makes it much easier for thieves to find an empty house. Young children that have access to public social media profiles are at a much higher risk for cyberbullying and online predators. Especially when apps enable service locations, it allows for anyone to see where you are located at any time. Location-based services can put your loved ones at risk, which is why it is so important to protect your digital footprint.
3. Do You Know Who Has Access to Your Digital Footprint?
It is important to be aware of what access you are giving away when you sign up for anything online. This is especially relevant to users who agree to the terms and conditions of a company without reading them. A Deloitte survey found that 91% of people agree to the terms and conditions without reading them. And for younger people (ages 18-24), 97% revealed they do not read the terms and conditions. The problem with this is individuals and groups constantly exploit our personal information for financial gain. Lurking through your information that you sign away when you agree to the terms and conditions. It is important to own your digital footprint so it can not be used against you.
4. It’s Your Future That’s on the Line
Another downside of having a public social media presence means you are vulnerable to your next employer or admissions counselor seeing everything you’ve ever posted. Social media screenings are becoming increasingly popular, and according to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media screening techniques during the hiring process, and around 40% of employers use social media to keep an eye on current employees. Earlier this year Kaplan Test Prep reported that roughly 36% of college admissions officers conduct social media screening for applicants. It is in both the admissions and employers’ best interest to make sure that the individual behind the application fits in with their core values and would represent their organization well. It is important to realize that your digital footprint will stay on the internet forever. And your future employer or dream college admissions officers will most likely be able to find it.
5. You Are Being Manipulated
Targeted advertising has its benefits, but over the past decade, targeted ads have become increasingly more invasive than ever before. The massive amounts of data used to source these ads are being collected and processed without knowledge or consent. Targeted ads can be used to manipulate you when you are at your most vulnerable. This can have extreme consequences, which the American population witnessed firsthand during the 2016 presidential election. As reported by the Observer, the Guardian, and the New York Times, it is has been revealed that Cambridge Analytica had gained access before the election to 50 million Facebook users through highly questionable means. Cambridge Analytica was able to create psychological warfare tools that manipulated American voters with targeted Facebook ads. It is crucial to understand secure your digital footprint, and what information is being fed to you via social media channels.
Now that we have covered just a few of the many outcomes of a data breach, it is important to do the work to protect yourself from an attack. If an individual were to attempt to secure their data without any outside resources, it would be extremely overwhelming. The solution to protecting yourself from identity theft, manipulation, and cybercriminals, is to Privatyze your life.
Privatyze aims to provide anyone who uses the internet the resources to have complete control over their digital footprint and to protect themselves from a data breach. With the help of Privatyze, you can claim your life back and have control over your digital footprint. Without Privatyze, you are vulnerable to a number of risks that can put yourself and your loved ones at risk.