Perhaps by now, you have heard Artificial Intelligence scrapping images from flickr, Facebook storing your information;giving you personalized advertisement without your consent, or your e-mail has been compromised due a massive data breach from services you're using. If any of those scenarios are familiar, you might want to re-check your digital habit.
As much as physical clutter, digital junk can also be a serious issue. These days we tend to store our information online even our valuable data because we're afraid of losing it physically. But there's one big question, do you trust your cloud storage provider with your confidential information? If you do, go ahead and use their service. If you don't, storing your scanned confidential information might not be the best option for you. I offer storing them physically or if you need, buy a high quality hard drives.
Additionally, we tend to store pictures and use questionable services online. This might not be a problem on the surface but it will be a problem if one day our prospective client or workers are doing a background check. Hence, listing all your possible digital presence might be a good idea. Start with your e-mail. How many e-mails do you have that's linking back to your other e-mails? I can attest, life is easier with lesser e-mails. However, always keep your work e-mail separate to your private life.
Pro tips : Pick an encrypted e-mail services such as protonmail or tutanota.
It is very important to never mix work email and private life because if something happens, intruders will gain not only your private information but also your work information. If necessary you can request your e-mail provider to delete your account if you don't need it anymore.
When it comes to pictures, it is advisable to delete old pictures once in a while. If you want to desperately keeping them, make an album or store it in a hard drives.
Another thing is, how many social media do you have? How many alt accounts do you have? Have you had difficulties in managing them? if so, it might be best for you to have only one account, one username and one digital presence. If you're not overwhelmed, then go ahead.
Also, only share information that you want to share and to the person you trust. Although, you can not control the second or the third party, you can control your information. So, having minimal online presence, will help you control and protect your information.
If you want to read more on why should you care about your information or privacy online, read more on User's point of view on security, pt. 1. It explains briefly on how internet works and giving you an example about security on the web.
The key point is, the more organized you are with your digital information, the better it is to track your information and services online. Hence, if anything happen it is easier to find the root of the problems.
To summarize my writing, here are several tips that I use to myself and some I gathered;
- Have minimal online presence
- Use pseudonym if possible
- Never mix your work life and private life
- Store your information possibly offline, cold storage unless you really trust your cloud service providers
- Regulate your information and delete unnecessary files
- Understand that sometimes it's not the third party but the second party whom will share your information. There is danger in human factors. Read more on The art of deception
- Use virtual network services and search engines that ensures your privacy
If you want to know the real application of social engineering and how easy it is to obtain someone's password, check this short experiment clip by Jimy Kimmel's show.