What’s a web footprint? We’ll talk about it in terms of how much someone can learn about you with simple open-source research also called OSINT or open-source intelligence. The first step in stealing your identity, money, bandwidth, or anything else is OSINT.
Before we can control our web identity(ies), we need to find them. A good, yet tedious, rule is to keep all of the sites you have an account with written down somewhere. I’m a big fan of Evernote, which I’ll get into further in another series of posts about efficiency.
Now that we’ve got the idea to write all these sites down it’s time to do some OSINT on ourselves. Pick your search engine of choice and type your name in. Not just your birth name but anything you go by online which could range from a handle to a normal nickname. Find everything you can and take notes.
Finally, hit up some of the “people” sites like peoplexy.com, pipl.com, or similar. See if you can find out where you live, work, etc. You can request that your information be removed from a lot of these sites, though you better be ready to jump through some hoops and waste a lot of time.
Now with that, we segue into controlling this footprint. Lifehacker had a good infographic showing how to delete yourself from the internet. We can utilize some of these techniques to limit our presence. They also have an article about doing the same. Another incredibly useful site is justedelete.me which will help you delete accounts as you go.
If you have any questions or would like me to do some research on you just shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Good luck!