The news of Facebook’s massive data breach that exposed the data of nearly 50 million Facebook users to a consulting firm used by Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, has gotten a lot of people thinking about their online footprint – and how they should better protect themselves and, more importantly, their information.
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"The first thing to know is that we’re way too eager to disclose our personal information online and aren’t eager enough to protect it,” Eric Yaverbaum, a public relations expert tells FOX Business.
Yaverbaum says the first thing people need to do is to try remove public listings of their home address, their mother’s maiden name, their Social Security number and their phone number.
TIP # 1
Remove Public Listings
“If these are listed publicly anywhere, take them down. It may be too late to remove them from the internet entirely, but you can make them harder to track down,” he says.
Delete old email accounts
A person’s second move, which most forget to do, is deleting old email accounts that they no longer use which are linked to their social media accounts.
“It’s too easy to break in, and once inside, a malicious actor can easily gain control of your entire digital life. Don’t leave old accounts hanging around; they’re a massive security risk.”
Refrain from using your real info online
Titania Jordan, chief parenting officer of Bark.us, an internet safety solution for parents, says her top tip for protecting your child’s information is to advise them away from using their real information online.
“Encourage your children to refrain from using their real name, full name, date of birth, address, favorite color, school name, or any other piece of data online that can be traced specifically to them. Hackers can use this information to take over their accounts, steal their identity, and even worse, predators can use this information to find your children in real life,” she says.
Watch out for “People Finders”
Yaverbaum says one of the biggest treats that most people don’t think about are online “people finders” like Spokeo.
“These are search engines for human beings, and they link all of your publicly available information: your parents, your home address, court cases, divorce proceedings, college records. You have to manually opt out of those. Here’s a list. And if you own a domain name, your home address may be a simple Whois search away; try to strip personal information out of your domain name records.”