So the world has become smaller, faster and sharper, all because of the Internet revolution. It’s a great achievement for mankind that today you can find out information on which direction to go to catch a movie to what is happening right now in another country.
However amazing this information explosion may sound it might have a small hint of fear somewhere as there is a lot of information floating around about the things you may have not even thought about and may be about you and me. This situation has given birth to many related crimes or has shown a path to crimes easily.
And this information will just get better with time, unless of course you decide to keep yourself healthy, yes literally but on the Internet world primarily. Here are some tips to safe guard yourself from any unwanted information related to you floating around in the web world.
1. Google yourself: sounds weird, or like a self obsessed person? No don’t panic this exercise may save you a lot of trouble online. Search your name, number or even address once in a month if you are extremely active on the Internet, or once in 3-4 months of you are averagely active. What you see in the search results will give an overview of how much of your activity is actually traceable through google. Most of the times what you will be able to see will be profile links or info posted on websites where you have accounts like professional websites, Facebook, linkedin, twitter or many old profiles made on other networking sites. To keep things simple as per your preference you could change your privacy settings on that website to stop showing your profile in google search also delete the ones you do not need anymore.
2. Choose friends wisely: we all like it when we have hundreds of connections or friends or followers online, it’s a great compliment but it can for sure backfire if too much information about your self is online. Don’t be in a rush to add people you may not trust, because you end up sharing almost every details about you online these days starting from who you are married to, where you had a meal 5 mins ago and where you are headed now. And this can be dangerous information in hands of unwanted people and they can misuse the same. Always have a look at the senders profile and his activity. Incase you are uncomfortable feel free to decline the request, or drop in a line to see how you know them. And it’s not rude to decline a request from someone you do not know.
3. Spring clean your contacts: so you have friends added 5 years ago when you first made your account on a networking site, it’s been years since you last heard from that friend but he/she is still on your list.now you never know if that friend/contact is alive or dead, married or a murderer, has either started selling steel or drugs or even worse has given the password to his/her friend,colleague,etc who still has access to all your vital information and can probably track you down in flat 5 mins. So as a 3-6 monthly ritual make it a practice to get rid of your bogus contacts who you barely interact with, or limit their visibility on sites like Facebook. This way not only will you land up with a concise contact list but also make your news feed lighter and your online interactions more productive.
4. Revamp your information: for the best use of your online info, one must keep a check on how much and what kinds of info you are sharing via a particular site. Whether there are photos, phone numbers workplace info, whatever it may be share only what is necessary and relevant to a particular forum or type of audience. If you have inactive email Ids or accounts at sites delete them and get rid of your unwanted online baggage.
5. Privacy is the key: its good to show off all you got but considering the strong growing influence of your online image on your real life image, it will be wise to limit some of your info to only a bunch of people. Everyone on your list dies not need to know everything. Make customer lists so that only your chosen audience knows or can see such updates. Don’t be guilty of blocking or limiting people, privacy is your right!
6. Divide & rule: if ypu have more than one email accounts divide your subscribed mailers between them. Like you could make one account only to recieve notification from public sites like facebook etc and one account strictly for personal information like bank info or other important sources. This way your information will be distributed as per priority.
7. Make a note: as cliched as it may sound this one works wonders in time of need. Make a note of all your online accounts usernames & passwords and keep it safe,you could use your personal coding system to make it safer. This information comes in handy when there is a critical situation like a crash or hacking incident.
Have healthy online footprint!