What is a Digital Footprint?

Cyber SecurityAnti VirusSafe & Security

A digital footprint is a unique data trail of a user's digital media activities, actions, conversations, or transactions. This data trail may be found on the Internet, computers, mobile devices, and other mediums. A user's activities and gadgets can be tracked via a digital footprint. A person can leave a digital footprint actively or passively, but once shared, a digital footprint is nearly permanent.

Users of technology are regularly engaged in digital activities, either actively or passively. However, no matter what they do, a data trail is always left behind that indicates the users' activity. Those activities can be traced back if necessary.

This digital imprint might be intentionally or passively shared. Users deliberately publish their actions in active data trails, such as social media activity, online chats, phone conversations, or blog postings. The data is provided openly or semi-publicly in this case. The footprint in the passive data trace is formed accidentally.

The users do not share the data in this case, but a trail is left behind that may be utilised to track back the users' activity. It covers activities such as Internet searches, website browsing, online shopping, online forms, and online surveys.

Active Digital Footprints

An active digital footprint is one in which the person has voluntarily published information about themselves, for as through posting on social networking sites or engaging in online forums. Any postings made by a person who is signed into a website using a registered username or profile become part of their active digital footprint. Completing an online form, such as subscribing to a newsletter, or choosing to accept cookies on your computer are two more acts that add to active digital footprints.

Inactive Digital Footprints

When information about a user is collected without the person's knowledge, it is referred to as a passive digital footprint. This happens, for example, when websites track how many times people visit, where they come from, and their IP address. This is an unnoticed procedure that users may not be aware of. Other instances of passive footprints include social networking sites and marketers profiling you and targeting you with specialised material based on your likes, shares, and comments.

Importance of Digital Footprint

Digital footprints are significant because −

  • A person's digital reputation, which is now as significant as their offline reputation, may be determined by their digital footprint.

  • Before making a recruiting choice, employers might analyse their potential workers' digital footprints, particularly their social media accounts. Colleges and colleges can now investigate the digital footprints of prospective students before accepting them.

  • Words and photographs you upload on the Internet might be misconstrued or manipulated, resulting in inadvertent offence.

  • Content designed for a small group might easily spread to a larger audience, jeopardising ties and friendships.

  • Cybercriminals might take advantage of your digital footprint by phishing for account access or constructing fraudulent identities based on your information.

Updated on 23-Mar-2022 06:37:24