Here’s a great idea offered by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Better Business Bureau: while you are doing your spring cleaning, don’t forget to do a digital spring cleaning too—that is, your computer, cellphone and Internet-connected devices.
The tips acknowledge that we all have information contained on our computers, cellphones and mobile devices that should be culled and discarded, just like our closets. While cleaning our closets and our sock drawer, take the time to clean your digital closets too.
Here are the seven tips they offer for digital spring cleaning:
- Fortify your online accounts and enable the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys, or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Usernames and passphrase are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media
- Delete unused apps and keep others current, including the operating system on your mobile devices
- Clean up your email: save only those emails you really need and unsubscribe to email you no longer need/want to receive
- Check that all software on Internet-connected devices is up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware, or implement automat updates
- Permanently delete old files using a program that deletes the data, wipes it from your device and overwrites it by putting random data in place of your information ‒ so it cannot be retrieved
- De-packrat your old digital devices you never use. Information still exists on them and could be stolen. Don’t wait: wipe and/or destroy unneeded hard drives as soon as possible. For devices like tape drives and thumb drives, remove any identifying information that may be written on labels before disposal
- Review the privacy and security settings on websites (and I would add social platforms) that you use to privacy settings that are consistent with your comfort level.
These are all great tips to follow for cyber hygiene. And since it is still snowing in the Northeast and Midwest, now’s the time to do it while waiting for Spring to arrive!