How to delete information about yourself online

Today, the Internet is not only a source of information from around the world but also a repository of everyone’s personal data, from social media posts to browser search history and online purchases.

All of this information creates a digital portrait of you, compromising your online security. In particular, the data can be used in fraudulent schemes or sold on black markets to cyber criminals. In order to minimize the risks of data used by hackers, first of all, it is worth finding out what the world wide web knows about you and whether there is any confidential data among those data. Although it is quite difficult to delete all information about yourself on the Internet, by following the following tips from ESET specialists, you can significantly reduce the amount of it on the network.

1. Search for personal data in the browser.

It is worth starting to delete information about yourself on the Internet by searching for data in a browser, in particular Google. To do this, enter your name in the search engine and check the results on the first pages, then try to match the name with a phone number or home address.

2. Submit a request to Google to remove information about you from the Internet.

Use Google’s new tool to remove personal data from search results. In particular, thanks to the new capabilities, the company can remove government identification numbers or photos, bank details, contacts, as well as medical records. However, Google will not delete the personal information contained in the news or public databases.

3. Adjust privacy settings in the apps you use.

By browsing social networks, fraudsters can obtain a lot of data about the user and use it later for malicious purposes. To avoid this, you should review the security and privacy settings in each application. For example, social networks Facebook and Twitter have settings that allow you to protect your data and contacts from being displayed in search engines. In addition, it is worth checking who exactly can view your posts and personal data, what information is available to them, and removing unfamiliar and suspicious accounts from your friend list.

4. Check the sites you are registered on.

Every day, everyone visits dozens of sites and creates new accounts on them, providing their personal information, including name, date of birth, email, and phone number. After that, most users may not use all the accounts created. To find the sites you signed up for, enter phrases like “unsubscribe” or “welcome” in the mail search and delete the ones you don’t need. In case you want to remove a specific mention on a certain web resource, send a request to the official address, which is usually located in the “Contact” section of the site.

5. Delete unnecessary information.

Many users are used to sharing all the details of their lives on the Internet. To limit access to personal information for anyone, it is worth reviewing your social media pages and deleting old posts made many years ago. You should also delete all the photos in which your loved ones appear, so as not to share their personal data.

6. Don’t share too much about yourself online.

After deleting information about yourself on the Internet, you can continue your virtual life on social networks in the future. However, take care of privacy in the settings of each social network, in particular, choose the type of users who can see your posts. Also, in the future, avoid sharing unnecessary content that you may later regret.

7. Use a VPN.

For even more privacy, turn on a VPN, which will provide an extra layer of protection by encrypting your connection and hiding your location. First of all, it will help prevent hackers from gaining access to your personal information.

Is it possible to have complete control over the data about myself online? It depends on your internet activity. If you have a limited social media presence, you can probably remove most of your information and reduce your digital footprint.

If you’re active on many social networks and don’t keep track of entering your credentials on most sites, it becomes more difficult to remove your information from the Internet. Despite this, you can still restrict other users’ access to your personal data by following the advice above.

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