How to manage your digital footprint Don't take chances when it comes to your online reputation.

In the aftermath of the cyberattack on Toronto-based infidelity website Ashley Madison, where hackers obtained personal information from users looking for affairs, it’s understandable that people are becoming more concerned about their digital footprint.

The anonymous group of hackers, only known as “The Impact Group,” have followed through on their previous threats by releasing two names of married men who use the website.

One of the men is from Mississauga Ont., who reportedly paid $19 to have all of his personal information erased from the website, and said he hasn’t used the website in years.

While this example seems a little extreme, this massive security breach is enough to make anyone nervous about their own digital footprint – especially in a world where our social media presence arguably weighs as much as our resume does.

While managing your cyber footprint may seem daunting, taking control of the situation is the first step. It’s your reputation you’re trying to protect, after all. Read these 6 tips to help you keep your digital footprint in check.

1) Amp up your privacy settings

We know that you’ve probably been hearing this since you signed up for Facebook back in 2004, but you need to keep your privacy settings turned on and set to the maximum security. This goes for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any other form of social media you’re using because you never know who’s searching for you. Also, keep up-to-date on the current privacy policy on social media platforms because they change constantly.

2) Keep a list of your social media accounts

Technology changes so quickly that it can be hard to keep up with the newest social media platforms and it can be easy to forget about the old ones. That old Myspace account from Grade 7? It’s time to get rid of it. It’s best practice to delete your un-used sites because it’s best to have as little information about you online as possible. Keep a list –usernames and passwords included – of all the social media accounts you have so you always know where your information can be found online.

3) Watch what you and your friends post

We like to follow this rule of thumb: if it’s something you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see, don’t post it. This rule works for most web content, however, you can’t control what your friends post. If your pal is posting inappropriate content to your social media accounts, have a chat with them about how it makes you look unprofessional. If the problem continues, delete them as a friend.

4) Google yourself – often

You’d be surprised at the amount of people that simply don’t Google themselves. Don’t you want to know what the average person can dig up about you by searching your name? Google yourself, see what comes up, and act accordingly.

5) Keep a separate email

This may seem slightly shady, but if you’re on dating sites or buying things online that are out of the ordinary, create a separate email address. Do not use your work email for anything you wouldn’t want your boss to see.

6) Invest in your protection

It’s impossible to have your information 100% safe in the digital age, but there are tools you can purchase (although some are free) to help keep your information private. TechRepublic weighed the best apps for online privacy protection and you can read their top picks here.

Among the current cyber security chaos, we hope these tips can make you feel a tiny bit safer about the standing of your digital footprint, or at least more aware about what you post online.

Atlas Communications is a Toronto social media marketing company specializing in social media branding, lead-generation, and results-driven campaigns for companies of all sizes. Contact our agency today for all of your social media marketing needs!

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