If you use the internet in any way, your personal data is all over the place. You can see this by typing your own name in Google — you leave small footprints of yourself on social media platforms, email accounts, online purchases, and so on.
Types of sensitive information
Consider how frequently you update your social media accounts. Suppose you’ve never logged into any of those previously-created online accounts?
Some of your most private details are out there in cyberspace. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Your full name, phone number, and educational background, as well as your home address
- Number of a bank account and login information
- Records of medical care
- Number assigned to an individual by the federal government (SSN)
- Insurance statistics on health
- Specifics about your identity
People or groups who hack into a system do so by finding and exploiting security flaws. Hackers are becoming more and more skilled as technology advances. Fraudsters build robust data profiles by collecting data from public sources (such as your profiles on social media).
As a result, service providers’ security teams must constantly upgrade their security infrastructure to keep their network addresses safe. In order to launch an attack on a targeted network address, hackers can use backdoors to gain command and control (C&C) of the network address without being detected.
There are several ways to find IP addresses on the C&C server list, including using a web blog URL to decoder the encrypted message. After that, they’ll be able to alter their IP addresses to avoid being discovered.
They can then go on a rampage and cause crime. A person’s name could be used in contracts, your social security number could be used to file a false tax return, property could be obtained illegally, or money could be stolen from your bank account.
The worst-case scenario is that you’ll be stalked and harassed at home and at work by people who are out to get you. It’s possible that things could get nasty! By removing yourself from the internet, you lessen your data footprint and make it harder for hackers to infiltrate your life.
How to delete yourself from the internet world
Most of your online personal information footprint can be erased, even if it’s a difficult task. Employers, for example, expect to be able to find you online and may conduct a background check in part through online searches. However, here’s how to remove yourself from the internet if you’re determined.
Because your online footprint is largely determined by your social media presence, you should delete them instead of simply logging out or discontinuing to use your accounts. Almost all social media platforms have a formal procedure for closing your account.
As an illustration, take a look at our guide on deactivating your Facebook account. Delete all your accounts from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit and other sites you’ve used. Most services will delete your content completely after a certain period of time, usually 30 days.
If you don’t want to delete all of your social media accounts, you can make them private on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook.
Remove your profile from people-finding and data-gathering websites.
People-finding sites, also known as data collection sites, are in the business of storing enormous amounts of data about everyone, and a quick search shows that sites like Spokeo, Whitepages, and BeenVerified probably know who you are (and will sell that information to anyone who wants it).
Only half of the issue has been solved because these data vultures don’t just sell information directly online — their primary business model is to sell huge amounts of data to big organizations.
You can unsubscribe from these sites one by one (many have opt-out pages, but it’s a stiff process. You can also use a service like Privacy Duck or Delete Me to help you with this. Be alerted, it is not inexpensive.
The annual fee for Delete Me is $129, while the annual fee for Privacy Duck is $500. For this reason, you’ll need a subscription that you can keep up with because deleting your content from data collection sites is not always permanent.
Additional legal options may be available to you if you live in a certain location. Using YourDigitalRights in California, you can send data deletion requests to a number of different organizations.
Delete your online shopping accounts
The same is true for online merchants. Every website where you have made a purchase keeps a record and a profile of you, so you should go to each site, such as Amazon, Best Buy, eBay and anywhere else you have created an account and request deletion.
Many retailers’ websites don’t include a link to this page. Contact customer service if you are unable to find one. You can deactivate and delete your Amazon account, for example, by contacting Amazon customer service.
Remove old forum posts, comments, and discussions
If you’ve made it this far, your online presence is probably quite bare at this point. But don’t forget about your online presence, such as comments, discussions, and forum posts, which may still be visible to search engines.
But removing them will be difficult because there is no standard way to remove comments from a forum or from the bottom of any article. Your only option is to contact the owner or manager of the website and request that your content be deleted.
Deactivate your email accounts
Last but not least, you’ll need email to communicate with websites from which you’re trying to unsubscribe. However, deactivating and deleting your email accounts is required if you truly wish to erase your online footprint.
There are a variety of ways to deactivate an email account depending on the service but
In the 21st century, it’s impossible to exist without having an email account. It’s possible to stay with just one account and a single connection to the internet.