What does the internet know about you? What have you posted on social media that is visible to everyone? Are you leaking too much data? Google Yourself – “Googling” yourself sounds like something Vanity Smurf would do in admiration of his self-image. But it is something you should do too, not because you are vain, but because it is a great way to see what information is publicly visible online.
Do a Google search for Your Name, what results do you get? I’ll wait.
This information could potentially be viewed by anyone. A stalker, a cyber-criminal, or a potential employer. The data available could lead to an unwanted altercation, your identity being stolen, or not being hired for that job because of a silly social media post.
How to Search
There are many ways to search for data on the internet. Google, which is by far the most popular search engine, is a good start. Mix it up and use Bing or DuckDuckGo as well. Different search engines will provide different results. It is a good idea to cast your net widely.
Here are some basic search terms to try:
Your Name – Without inverted commas. This will bring up search results containing ‘Your’ and ‘Name’ but not always the exact phrase.
“Your Name” – With inverted commas. This will show search results containing ‘Your Name’.
Your Name Town – Will bring up search results containing Your, Name, and Town
“Your Name” + “town” – Will bring up search results that must include ‘Your Name’ and ‘Town’
site:example.com Your Name – Search for the terms on a specific website. You could use this to search for articles in your local newspaper that contain your name.
Other terms to search could be your Phone Number and Email Address. If you can find those in a Google Search, that means anyone is able to.
We live in a world where we are increasing losing our privacy. Whether it is due to another high profile data breach, swapping privacy for monetary value (rewards cards), or just failing to keep our own social media accounts locked down. Someone else is making a living from your data. You could become a hermit, and move into the forest or you could take some steps to reclaim your privacy.