November 14, 2022

What is a Digital Footprint? And Why does it matter?

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Digital Footprint

Your digital footprint is your online identity. It’s a trail of unique data you create and leave behind about yourself when using the Internet. It can include the information you personally share on social media as well as information posted and collected about you from apps you use, the websites you visit, emails you send, and information you submit to online services. 

This information is often referred to as Personally Identifiable information (PII). It is data that can be used to uniquely identify you; patterns, behaviours and vulnerabilities online as well as in real life. Examples of PII are, your full name, birthday, email address, usernames, passwords, social insurance number, passport, credit card information, home address, mother’s maiden name, high school you went to and other commonly used verification questions. 

Why does it matter? 

Cyber criminals use PII and other public information available about you to gain access to your sensitive information. The most common method is phishing. In this scam a hacker or cybercriminal will exploit or trick their victim to click a link, open a malicious attachment or provide their user names and passwords with the aim to get access to more sensitive information. 

The more information available about you online the more effective the phishing attempt will be. This is because the criminals use social engineering to create a more targeted message specifically designed to trick you into believing the phishing attempt is legitimate.  

The resulting crimes from phishing can include identity theft, fraud, corporate espionage, online harassment, invasion or privacy and stalking.

What do I do about it?

It is important to monitor your digital footprint with the aim to reduce the amount of PII available online. This would reduce the amount of information that cyber criminals can use to identify and target a phishing attack against you. At a basic level you can google yourself or set up google alerts.  You can also review the website to see if your email address has been involved in any recent breach. 

If you are uncomfortable with the amount of information available and your ability to monitor it there are advanced cyber and credit monitoring options available. Schedule a free consultation call

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