It’s believed that everyone in the world has a twin in real life. Whether you believe it or not, one thing is certain for sure: all of us who did something online as simple as creating an email account or a social media profile mostly likely have a twin in the digital world. We all have digital identities which are more valuable than we think.
The concept of digital identity can be explained very easily. Basically it’s all your personal data that exists online and can be traced back to the real you, such as pictures and videos you’ve uploaded to your social media accounts, posts you’ve written or commented on, your online bank account, browser history, etc.
We voluntarily share our personal information which helps in creating our digital identities. It’s been estimated that there are more than 4.2 billion digital twins thriving online. This number may mean nothing to you, but if you take a look at it from a cybersecurity perspective—that means that there are 4.2 billion opportunities for identity exploitation.
In case you didn’t know, your digital identity is very valuable. There are many outsiders who are interested in stealing your personal information and will definitely try everything just to get their hands on such valuable information.
When you think about someone stealing your information, your mind always goes to a hooded hacker behind a laptop. Even though cyber criminals are a threat, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can be just as malicious. In case you didn’t know, they can collect your personal data such as browsing logs, location data, etc and sell it to ad companies who would pay for such useful information that will help them define their marketing objectives.
Many apps have been found guilty for such practice, including the popular game Angry Birds. You should understand that even big companies can make money at your expense, not just individuals.
How to take control of your digital identity
Nowadays it’s very hard to go online without leaving any traces. As long as your online twin exists, someone will want to take advantage and exploit it. Despite the fact that our digital identities are here to stay, we have some tips for you to follow and decrease the chances of that ever happening.
Choose a browser that will allow you to visit, search, and shop safely on any website while protecting your privacy. DuckDuckGo, Qwant and MetaGer are among the best private search engines that won’t track or sell your data.
A password manager will help you encrypt all your passwords. It will allow you to store them in one place, so you don’t have to remember multiple different passwords. Most password managers also have a feature that checks for weak or duplicate passwords.
A virtual private network is software that can establish a secure connection between you and the server, encrypts your internet traffic and protects your online identity at the same time. This means that your internet service provider won’t be able to read your personal information.