A (Digital) Spring Cleaning

Written by on 3/15/2018 5:10 AM . It has 2 Comments.

a digital spring cleaning

Spring is a great time to clean your home, and it might be the first type of spring cleaning that comes to mind. But it’s also important to clean and organize your digital life, too -- especially with data breaches and identity theft becoming so rampant.

If, by some miracle, you weren’t one of the 140-plus million Americans impacted by the Equifax data breach, the odds are good you’ll be caught up in one eventually. Identity theft, stolen data, and viruses happen all the time.

Keep yourself and your family a little safer this year with a digital spring cleaning.

Secure Your Digital Life

Just like you organize your home during your annual spring cleaning, you can organize and secure your digital life, too.

Check your internet router. Make sure the password is strong and that your name or address aren’t used as part of the router’s name. A weak password can be hacked, and your name/address give away too much personal information.

Turn on two-step authentication/verification wherever possible. Some online accounts like bank accounts, social media, and email programs give you the option to use two-step authentication to login. You enter your ID and password, and then enter in a special code that you receive as the second step. This makes sure it’s really you logging in to the account.

Have a better password system. Every account you use should have it’s own password. Yes, it’s a hassle but if a hacker figures out your password, they can only get into that one site. With the same password for everything, they can go wherever they want. Also, make your password longer and use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Keep a written list, in a secure place, so you don’t have to try and remember all those passwords.

Clean Your Machines and Files

Viruses and malware might enter through an email or because you went to a compromised website, but once they get in your equipment and files, things get worse.

  • Update software. Many new updates are done to fix security issues. Using the old, outdated version makes you vulnerable. This includes operating systems, web browsers, apps, and document readers.
  • Delete unused apps on your mobile device. If you’re not using them, let them go. Check how your remaining apps use location services, camera, microphone, and Bluetooth. Turn those things off if you’re not using them in the app.
  • Unsubscribe to emails you don’t read or want.
  • Delete or archive old emails. Clean up your inbox and get rid of what you don’t need anymore.
  • Delete or archive old files. Get rid of any duplicates or things you haven’t thought about in years.
  • Backup the data on your computer and keep it backed up regularly. You can save it to the cloud or on an external drive.
  • Empty the trash/recycle bin on your computer and other devices to permanently delete old files.
  • Get rid of old electronic devices safely. It’s not enough to wipe the data. The memory card/hard drive needs to be destroyed too. Make sure you’re dropping off old equipment at a facility that does that.

Tidy Your Social Media Profiles

While you’re securing your digital life, take a few minutes for some social media cleaning.

  • Check your privacy settings and make sure you’re not sharing information you don’t want people (especially strangers) to know.
  • Update your information to current details or to remove info you don’t want anyone to know.
  • Delete old images that you’d rather not have available to the public.
  • Unfriend people you don’t know or haven’t met. Sometimes we friend or follow people just because, but we have no idea who they are, giving them access to our personal lives.

With the world becoming more digital every moment, there’s no way to prevent every attempt at identity theft or hacking. But that doesn’t mean we have to make it easy on anyone. Skip your home spring cleaning for a weekend and focus on your digital life to better protect yourself and your family. When you want to protect your home and family with a good insurance policy that fits your budget, contact us at Charlotte Insurance.

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