Digital footprintsThere are eyes and ears everywhere, and the internet is no exception. Every online activity you do can be traced and added to a collection of data known as a digital footprint, a data-driven representation of you. While the risks associated with digital footprints may seem confined to individuals, the reality is that when an employee creates a digital footprint, the business itself can become vulnerable.

Hackers can use your employees’ digital footprints to target your company. It is a scenario that is increasingly common, so understanding your company’s digital footprint and how to use it is essential. If you have any questions about digital footprint, you can contact our specialist Forensic Services team to help.

Understanding digital footprint

There are two main types of digital footprints: passive and active.

Passive digital footprint

This is information recorded without the user’s knowledge and often harvested in the background of normal activities. For example, when a user accesses a database and inputs a username, several other pieces of data are automatically collected without their knowledge, including IP address, location, browser choice, and date of creation. Passive data is not publicly searchable, and so while it can be unsettling to know this information is being collected, it poses relatively little threat to your daily operations.

Active digital footprint

Active digital footprints consist of publicly searchable information that you have actively shared, such as social media posts, comments, and other writing online. With so much of the data being readily available, it may have a large impact on one’s employment prospect, as mistakes made online have been recorded and can be found.

Worryingly, the digital footprint has begun to include psychological data such as social media likes, preferences, fears and tendencies, letting others build a complete profile of you. The more information the hacker has about you, the more they are able to make you do what they want.

When the active digital footprint of a business is used by criminals to gain access to private systems, it is known as a social engineering attack. Rather than using technology to target your company, social engineering uses people, like your employees – tricking them into giving away confidential information and access to protected systems.

Social engineering is less of a technological inadequacy and more of a human one. It is the process of tricking people into giving away confidential information and access to protected systems. Awareness of how hackers manipulate human interactions can be enough to stop them in their tracks, also, understanding digital footprints is the first step to this.

Trust Blackhawk Intelligence

At Blackhawk Intelligence, we have specialist teams covering four key areas:
• Forensic Services
• Litigation Support Services
• Corporate Intelligence Services
• Investigative Services

Our Corporate Intelligence services cover online security, protecting your business from fraud and cybercrime. Our expert cyber-security teams work hard with you to create a security strategy that works for your business.

We’re experts at turning data into results. To find out how to protect yourself from digital threats, give us a call on +44 (0)20 8108 9317 or fill out our Online Form.

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