Increase Online Security with Some Digital Housekeeping

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When it comes to staying organized, many of us rely on digital organization. Your computer, tablet, and phone are also your address book, planner, journal, and file storage. Face ID, fingerprints, and PINs make you feel like your information is secure, but sometimes that sense of security is a false one. It’s easy to think that your information is safe, and most people, unfortunately, don’t realize how vulnerable they are until something bad happens. A little digital housekeeping is an easy way to protect your privacy online and increase your online security.

Address Your Email

Most of us let emails pile up. Even if we are able to keep on top of our unread messages and delete the junk, plenty of emails sit in our inbox indefinitely. While some may be useful for reference, most of this virtual mail stack is just sitting there, waiting to cause a problem. If a message contains personal information, identifying data, or financial details, it’s even more important to clean it up. If your email is ever hacked, all that information is there. Take some time and do an email clean out. Get rid of old messages and folders that you don’t need, empty your trash and junk mail, unsubscribe to emails that you don’t want, and purge anything that isn’t necessary.

Check Up on Your Social Media

Did you change your privacy settings to share a particular article? Now is a good time to check your settings and make sure your privacy is still what you want it to be. Look at your settings for tagging, privacy, sharing, friends, and connections. Look back and make sure that you are happy with the information you’ve put out there. If you’ve recently changed jobs or relationships, you may want to clean that up on your accounts, too.

Understand Mobile Threats

Phones and tablets are big targets for cybercrime. Phishing is traditionally an email strategy, but mobile users are being targeted on more fronts. Users can run into phishing scams via text message, apps, web pages, and emails. Phishing has become more sophisticated, making it harder to verify on mobile. Many fall victim to clicking a link in a text, even if they believe they are very email savvy. In addition, we’ve become so quick to skim app permissions before accepting them that we put ourselves and our information at risk. When it comes to digital housekeeping, treat your phone like you would your desktop or laptop computer, looking at everything with a critical eye, before you have a mess to clean up.

Make Sure Your Hardware Can Protect Your Privacy Online

Once every few months, do a deep clean. Update the apps and security settings. Make sure your hardware, operating systems, and home networks have been scanned for malware and infections and updated to the latest versions.

Do a Digital Cleanout

This can be a hardware cleanout, where you get rid of old thumb drives, external hard drives, and data CDs. Wipe them clean and dispose of them through a service that has the capacity to completely destroy them. Letting them sit around takes up physical space and leaves any information still on them available. Close and delete accounts on websites you no longer use. Make sure you do a true delete – instead of just removing the app, go into the settings and delete and deactivate your account.

Many of us don’t think of our digital lives as something we have to tend to. But all it takes is one breach to uncover all the mess that was hiding on your devices, and that’s not a risk that we should be willing to take. Clean up your email, your accounts, your hardware, and you’ll have a much better chance to protect your privacy online. AccuShred is your trusted data protection resource, and we’re happy to share these tips to help you stay secure online. For information about our shredding services or for answers to your data protection questions, contact us today.