The concept of digital footprinting is a double-edged sword on the internet. Tracks of past activity help companies and businesses recognize suspicious users and strengthen website and software security. On the other hand, once you realize that every move you make online is being monitored and recorded, there could not be a more obvious red flag to online privacy is security.
Although an increasing level of tracking warns us of a potentially grim future in the digital world, understanding the footprints you leave on the web can help you minimize your online tracks. Once you learn to manipulate the technical intricacies of the web, you can maintain a positive digital footprint while anonymizing certain tasks that are not necessarily shady or illegal, but their performance depends on privacy. Companies use many different tools to ensure anonymity that is crucial for the efficient performance of important tasks. Digital footprinting affects both individuals and businesses.
Learn How to Avoid Digital Footprints
In this article, we will discuss the ways you can avoid harmful digital footprints. A bad footprint is not a reflection of bad internet behaviour, so the addressed tools and methods let us preserve anonymity, like in the good old days of the internet. The obvious network identity exposal is also a serious security threat – that’s why we address the benefits of residential proxies. If you are only interested in the proper use of these intermediary servers, check out Smartproxy – a great proxy provider with informative tutorials about proxy server use. For now, let’s get down to business, so we can avoid digital footprints.
Double Check Your Previous Actions
Researching your past behavior is a great way to recognize and deal with old digital footprints. Posts and actions from the past remain visible for a long time and can be easily discovered with the help of a search engine. Looking up data that is associated with your data or company name will help you find public information and social media posts that you might want to eliminate.
Forgotten and unused accounts may contain embarrassing public information from the past, so make sure to delete or deactivate them to reduce the visibility of our past actions. It is a good and sometimes necessary practice for internet users looking for a job opportunity in respectable companies. Employers often research potential employees, and a bad digital footprint can cost you a great career.
Related: 6 Ways to Protect Online Privacy
If you are already working in a company with an active online presence you must hold yourself to a certain standard. Don’t forget to pay close attention to privacy settings on social media, and always use residential proxies for tasks that depend on online anonymity.
Never Use a Free Proxy
While residential proxies from a legitimate proxy provider are necessary for big individual projects and business tasks, you should never use free, public proxies, especially in your workplace. While some web surfers might see public proxies as a great opportunity to try out the tool for personal projects, you can never know who is behind these servers. The best-case scenario is that you will send unimportant data packets through a slow and unreliable server. The real problems start when users perform tasks that involve personal data, or worse – sensitive company information.
Avoid the Sticky Honeypots
Honeypots are clever computer mechanisms created to detect malicious or unwanted connections to the system and redirect them to a decoy server or website. Their main goal is to attract hackers and other cybercriminals to feed them false information and track their smartphone or other device’s activity. However, some companies set up honeypots to recognize and sabotage competitor scraping. Once you get into a honeypot, you will leave a big, sticky digital footprint.
There are many honeypots that store IP addresses from free proxies – giving us another reason to never use them. Fortunately, we have great tools that help us avoid footprinting and get another chance at penetrating the system. If you target a website with rotating residential proxies, you will not expose your network identity and IP changes.
Because it is so easy to leave long-lasting digital footprints on the web, it is a huge cause for concern amongst internet privacy and humane technology enthusiasts. Without proper regulation, user tracking will only continue to grow under the disguise of convenience. Fortunately, we have tools like residential proxies that help us even out the playing field.