Computers and Mobile Devices Need Spring Cleaning Too!

For many people, spring is the perfect time to say out with the old, and in with the new! They clean the house, donate old clothes and even reorganize a room or two.

But spring cleaning doesn’t just apply to your home—it applies to your computer and the internet as well! This year, add ‘digital cleaning’ to your spring rituals in order to protect your personal information and get rid of all that cyber junk. Don’t worry: cyber cleaning is easy!

Here are a few tips[1] on how to clean up that virtual desktop:

Keep Anti-Virus Software Up-to-Date: Make sure all anti-virus software on your computer, tablet or mobile device is up-to-date in order to reduce the risk of infection from viruses and malware.

Do A Password Change-Up: How long has it been since you last changed your usernames and/or passwords? This spring, be sure to change your passwords and usernames in order to keep yourself protected. You may even want to enable additional authentication tools like biometrics, security keys, or a password manager program.

Get Rid of Those Old Apps: Is it time to get rid of Angry Birds? Remove apps you don’t use regularly, because they take up storage on your mobile devices and can pose security vulnerabilities. Haven’t defeated the bad piggies yet, therefore, you just can’t part with the app? We get it; just make sure you have the most updated version of the apps you have installed, in order to keep your devices running fast and free of bugs.

Update Operating Systems and Internet Browsers: Quit hitting ‘Remind Me Later!’ Update your phone, tablet and/or laptop as soon as you can. This will protect you from vulnerabilities that may have been identified in older browser versions and within your software and applications.

Do an Inbox Clean Out: Sort through your online clutter by cleaning up your email! Keep the emails you need, and delete the ones you don’t. While you’re at it, unsubscribe from any email lists that you don’t need or want anymore.

Back up Files: Save copies of your personal files and data to a safe cloud computing site, or to another password-protected external drive or device. This will save you from a future meltdown if your files get lost! It’s important to remember to back up your files before you get rid of a device as well.

Lock in Social Media: Now is the perfect time to double check the security and privacy settings on your favorite social media websites. Make sure you’re as public or private as you want to be, and don’t be afraid to limit the amount of information you share!

STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Has put together a video to help you through a few steps in the cleaning process, and Stay Safe Online has created a digital spring cleaning checklist to make sure you don’t miss any important steps.

Happy springtime!

Last updated: April 19, 2017