If you’re anything like the average internet user, you probably spend around 40 hours of your time on the internet per week. This means that you are leaving 40 hours’ worth of a digital footprint.
For those unaware of what a digital footprint actually is, it essentially refers to the data that you leave whenever you use the internet – websites you visit, searches you make, messages you send, and much more.
If you don’t take the necessary steps to manage your digital footprint, then this digital footprint can be used by “data brokers”, who will sell it on to companies and individuals.
Not only can your data then be used to show you intrusive targeted ads, but it can also fall into the hands of cybercriminals, who will use your data to target their attacks either through identity theft, phishing, or tailgating.
With this in mind, in 2023, it is more important than ever to take your digital footprint back into your own hands and fight against what has become an inevitable side-effect of being online.
There are multiple tools that can help you in this fight, but to help you out, we’ve listed 5 of the very best for deleting your personal information and taking back control:
1. Firefox For Secure Browsing
If you’re looking for a more proactive way to protect your data and create a minimal digital footprint in the future, then you will need a strong search engine that specializes in data security.
This is undoubtedly Firefox, which is recognized as one of the most secure search engines for data protection and data deletion.
2. Incogni For Data Removal
If you want a concise and easy way to delete your personal info, then you can’t do better than Incogni’s broker-opt-out techniques, which can help to protect you from hackers, invasion of privacy, and shadow profiles.
On the very first day of signing up, removal requests are sent to every applicable data broker, and by the end of the first quarter, all data brokers should have removed your data – and for the ones that haven’t, Incogni follows up and makes sure the personal information is removed.
3. Proton Mail For Keeping Your Emails Private
There’s a big difference between a good private email service and a regular one. Private email tools go above and beyond to ensure that the contents of your emails are not being turned into valuable data.
Even reputable email services like Gmail will scan your emails for keywords in order to target specific ads toward you.
A private email platform like Proton deploys a lot of different tools to keep what needs to be private, private – and to stop your emails from being turned into valuable data. It’s free to use if you require less than 150 emails per day, and includes neat features like ‘self-destruct’ for sensitive messages.
4. Nord VPN For Private Browsing
VPNs shield your IP address, which offers a lot more security when you’re browsing the web. There are a lot of good VPNs out there, but one of the highest rated is Nord.
This is because Nord not only protects your web traffic, but actively watches and scans for malicious sites. It also offers ad blocking, which can protect you from targeted ads that have been created from your own data.
5. Zoho Vault For Safe Password Management
Password managers are incredibly valuable if you’re practising good internet hygiene through different passwords for different logins, but, for obvious reasons, you’ll want to make doubly sure that you’re picking the most secure platform possible. If not, you’re putting your personal details in a perilous position.
Zoho Vault comes with a 4.5 star rating from PCMag. It’s a novice-friendly, economical option for keeping your log-in details secure, and enables that all-important multi-factor authentication that keeps your accounts doubly secure.
6. NextDNS For Encrypting Your DNS Traffic
DNS attacks can be very costly, and they can compromise a lot of sensitive information – particularly for enterprises.
The trouble is, DNS traffic is inherently vulnerable to attack, and there are a lot of different ways an attack can be carried out.
Ultimately, they expose an individual or company’s online behaviour to a malicious third party, enabling them to leverage insight into the types of sites you visit, and your interests.
Encrypting your DNS traffic makes it unreadable to third-parties, and an industry-leading tool like NextDNS is incredibly easy to use.
It allows for 300,000 queries a month at no extra cost, which is more than enough to cover typical demand from individuals and SMEs.