It’s never too late to “spring clean” your digital presence

While many people de-clutter their homes as part of their spring cleaning routine, most probably forget to include a cyber clean-up on their to-do list. De-cluttering your home can make it look cleaner and feel more spacious. Similarly, cleaning up your online presence and networks can help you stay safer and secure all year round.

If you take care of long overdue digital maintenance, you’ll be less likely to lose valuable personal information or become a victim of identity theft. It will also make your online life more manageable. According to The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the bulk of digital cleaning falls into four buckets: keeping a clean machine, staying secure, cleaning up your online reputation and purging files.

Start with keeping your machines and devices clean of malware and up-to-date on critical software. Having all software current is one of the best security measures you can take. This includes security software, Web browsers, document readers, operating systems and any other software you use regularly. Update operating systems on your mobile device and delete any old or unused apps.

Next, create better, stronger passwords that are unique to each account. Having separate passwords helps to thwart cybercriminals. Write passwords down and keep them in a safe place; and password-protect your phone.

You should also consider cleaning up your online reputation. Review your privacy settings, delete old photos and comments and update your social profiles to better represent who you are now.

Finally, make sure you are disposing of devices properly. Wiping data isn’t enough to prevent someone from accessing pertinent information. When you dispose of old electronics, look for facilities that shred hard drives, disks and memory cards.

You can find more tips on managing a secure online life by visiting NCSA’s STOP.THINK.CONNECT. site at http://www.stopthinkconnect.org/.

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