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Spring clean your online presence

With search engines improving all the time and the widening adoption of Social Media into our day to day lives, it’s becoming easier for people to search for you on the internet. Why does it matter? Well, there’s the obvious concerns such as future employers running background checks but what about your current employee, friends, family, exes and the one that worries most people online – criminals.

With search engines improving all the time and the widening adoption of Social Media into our day to day lives, it’s becoming easier for people to search for you on the internet. Why does it matter? Well, there’s the obvious concerns such as future employers running background checks but what about your current employee, friends, family, exes and the one that worries most people online – criminals.

With just a small amount of personal information such as your full name and knowledge of your whereabouts on Facebook, Twitter or any of the other big social networks that the general public use to tag themselves into, a criminal could find and attack your home or even your business with less risk of you being there.

With personal details so easily accessible (and often easily shared), a criminal could steal your identity or even guess your password if it isn’t particularly strong.

Putting the security risks to one side for a minute and you still have another big reason to spring clean your online presence – complexity. If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of online accounts and it can be hard to keep track of them. Plus, not all websites prompt you to update your details or password regularly.

 

So where do I start?

The thing to do to begin your clean up operation is to make a list. A list of all the online accounts you use that you can find. There are a number of ways to do this, however this is the approach I use:

1. Start with your emails by sorting through your newsletters, account updates and junk mail to find references to accounts you have open. Quick tip – try searching for emails with specific phrases such as “password reset”, “newsletter” and your full name.

2. Take a look at your favourites on your browser and add those to the list.

3. Take a look at your saved passwords list on your bowser and add those to the list too.

4. Finally, use an account removal directory site such as http://justdelete.me/ to identify potential accounts you hold.

 

OK, now what?

Well, now is the time to start going through each potential account on the list and removing the ones you don’t need. The website http://justdelete.me/ is a great resource for this and covers most, if not all, of the accounts you are likely to be using, so I won’t go any further into this here.

Also, unsubscribe from all those unwanted newsletters and subscriptions you found amongst your emails in the first step.

 

Done, what’s next?

Once you’ve removed the accounts you don’t want, (or at least removed your personal details from them) now go through each account you want to keep and update your personal information and passwords. You’ll want a different password for each account. To make management of this a bit easier, you may want to save each password into your browsers password tool, or check out Lifehacker’s post on the five best password managers. Don’t save your password into your list or anywhere else that isn’t secure.

Now might also be a good time check through each account and update any privacy settings that are out of date.

 

Extra steps

You’ve updated your online accounts that you are aware of, you’ve secured them with updated passwords and you’re personal information is updated, hidden or removed where necessary. The final step is to check for any other material referencing you or your details. Search for yourself on Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN. You may want to logout from each website first to see exactly how you’ll appear to general users. Remove any content you don’t like. Most companies such as Google, Yahoo and Bing offer a way of removing unwanted content and you can read a useful article on “un-googling” yourself at wikiHow – http://www.wikihow.com/Ungoogle-Yourself.

 

Improve your personal web profile

You can control how people see you to some extent and build a great place to showcase you portfolio with your own domain. By registering a new domain with us such as www.yourname.com, you’ll get a bespoke profile based website to show off your skills, contact information, portfolio and even videos and photos of your work. You can also use this new domain to send professional emails by setting up an email account such as [email protected].

 

Click here to get your own domain now!

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