Digital Spring Cleaning


Spring has finally sprung here in Davis.  Now is the time to do your spring cleaning.  Merriam-Webster defines Spring Cleaning as the act or process of doing a thorough cleaning of a place.  Most people associate spring cleaning with their homes.  However, now is also a great time to do some 'digital' spring cleaning.  Like cleaning your home, the work won't be fun, but you'll improve your security and your devices might run faster.

Here are some tips for doing a spring cleaning on your cyber life

  1. Review your online accounts
    1. Delete any you no longer use
    2. Any accounts you plan to keep using, delete saved information such as credit card data or documents
  2. Update your devices
    1. Update apps and operating systems on anything that connects to the internet (i.e. cell phones, tablets, computers)
    2. Delete apps and browsers you do not use
    3. Check browser settings.  Clear old data such as stored passwords, and history
  3. Purge Files
    1. Delete old emails and files. Empty the trash and/or recycling bin when you are done
    2. Unsubscribe to newsletters you never read and other email alerts
  4. Check your security
    1. Make sure all devices require a password, passcode or fingerprint to log in
    2. For critical accounts (banking, email, social media), turn on two-stop authentication
    3. Review passwords.  Are they long and strong?  Change any that aren't. Use different passwords for work and non-work accounts
  5. Clean up your online reputation
    1. On social media, review and update your profiles
    2. Review privacy and security settings on social media and other sites
    3. Delete old photos, etc that no longer portray who you are now.  Especially if they are embarrassing
    4. Review friends on social media and contacts on phones and PC's.  Do they still belong?
  6. Back things up
    1. Make sure your important files are fully backed up and that you can restore them. As a reminder, any files stored on your local work computer, such as your Desktop, are not backed up. All important files should be saved to a network drive such as your H: or U: drive.

Adapted from an article by the University of California, with information from the Better Business BureauThe National Cyber Security, and MS-ISAC Center for Internet Security.