This week, we're taking a look at digital footprints, cybersecurity, cookies, privacy policies, VPNs and other stuff that might sound scary. Actually, ignoring these things is what can be truly frightening. The good news is, there are practical steps you can take to protect yourself (and your website visitors).
What is a digital footprint?
A digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. An "active digital footprint" is created when you deliberately submit information. The most obvious example is sharing information on social media, but email also contributes to your active footprint. A "passive digital footprint" is a data trail you unintentionally leave online. Websites that install cookies on your devices, apps and websites that use your geolocation, and social media that uses your likes, shares and comments to profile you are examples of a passive digital footprint.
How much of your daily life relies on technology? How much of your personal information is stored either on your own computer, smartphone, tablet — or on someone else's system? Cybersecurity is the protection of networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information.
Have you ever connected to a public Wi-Fi network and wondered if someone, somewhere might be able to see your online activity? It's an entirely reasonable concern, considering the forces arrayed against your privacy. With a virtual private network (VPN), you can protect your information from prying eyes and regain a measure of privacy online. One note: Be aware that a VPN can slow down your internet connection. Not a dealbreaker for everyone, but important to know if you rely on fast internet speed.
Two-factor authentication adds an additional layer of security to the authentication process by making it harder for attackers to gain access to a person's devices or online accounts because, even if the victim's password is hacked, a password alone is not enough to pass the authentication check. Biometric scanners for fingerprints and retinas or faces are on the upswing thanks to innovations such as Apple's Face ID and Windows Hello. But in most cases, the extra authentication is simply a numeric code; a few digits sent to your phone, which can only be used once and expires after a short amount of time.
November 4 Website Checkup Design, navigation, layout, user experience, calls to action, SEO, keywords — lots goes into making a great website. How does yours measure up? We'll list what to look for (and how to fix it).