Creating an account on social networks, sending emails, publishing posts – all these produce a lot of digital footprints, which the largest corporations, advertisers, special services, and cybercriminals hunt for. Any actions in the digital environment leave various traces. Some of them can be changed or deleted, but in most cases, we cease to control them.

In this article, we will examine what kinds of digital footprints are there, as well as will learn who controls them.

Service data

The service information that is required to access various services leaves its digital footprints. This is mainly payment and passport information. This type of data is controlled by the user, but the transaction history remains on the service servers without the possibility of editing it. For the secure transfer of payment data through public networks, it is recommended to use a VPN.

Open data

Various comments, posts, photos, or video materials that are posted on personal websites or blogs can be considered open data. The site owner decides for whom and for how long to provide access to the data.

Trusted information

Users entrust their data management to other services that make their own decisions on how to use and process client data. It can be various profiles, resumes, or accounts on social networks.

Random data

Random data includes information about the user, which is distributed by other users on various platforms, blogs, and social networks. Such digital tracks are not created by the person involved in the information and cannot be controlled by this person. There are cases when data is provided for one service, but as a result of its sale or merger, the data passes into the possession of another service.

Behavioral data

Various devices connected to the Internet can provide many details about user actions. Digital statistics can include device turn-on times, location, and browsing history. For example, a provider can track user activity on the network. To find out how to hide your IP address, read our previous articles.

Derived data

Many companies and payment services collect and process statistics about visitors of branded sites. They analyze different settings of the operating system and the user’s browser. Subsequently, each visitor is identified by a unique browser fingerprint. Further, based on this fingerprint, decisions are made on accessing the site, displaying relevant ads, etc. Read more about how to prevent fingerprint authentication here.