I spent the entire weekend spring cleaning. I went through my closet and dresser, and even tackled under the kitchen and bathroom sink—seriously, how can one person have so many half-used hair products? After I got home from donating eight (yes, eight!) bags full of items, I snuggled up with my laptop to watch Netflix and check email. Still half in cleaning mode, I realized that although my apartment was now tidy and organized, my inbox was a total mess. It got me thinking, “How do I organize my digital life”?
At LifeLock, we encourage people to be responsible and mindful of where and how they share personal information online. Part of being responsible is also staying organized and properly securing online accounts and files.
In today’s ever-evolving world of technology and cyber threats, keeping your digital life organized and secured is perhaps as, if not more, important than keeping your closet tidy.
Here are five digital-spring-cleaning tips to get you started:
- Securely get rid of old devices
Old smart phones, hard drives, laptops and tablets can all contain sensitive information. If not securely and properly disposed of, these devices could be compromised and make you vulnerable to identity theft.
- If you’re donating or recycling old devices, use the reset function to restore the device to its original, factory setting. Remember to remove SIM cards and hard drives, and scrub old data to securely wipe your storage prior to donating.
- Check with your local electronic store—it likely has recycling receptacles available for these devices. Alternatively, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website has a directory of stores that offer similar recycling options.
2. Change your passwords and enable two-factor authentication
Passwords play a huge role in safeguarding your online accounts from cybercriminals.
- Longer passwords are better. Be sure not to share passwords across important accounts. Since remembering all of your passwords can be daunting, use a password manager such as Keeper or LastPass to manage and securely store your complex passwords for you.
3. Check your security settings
This goes for devices and online accounts. Part of being digitally organized is knowing who has access to your information.
- Our friends at the Identity Theft Resource Center suggest checking permission settings of installed apps on your phone to censor which apps, if any, have access to your contact list, photos, location etc.
- For social media accounts, check privacy settings to make sure you know who can see your profile, photos and posts.
4. Delete or maintain email accounts
Have an old email accounts that you no longer use?
- Review the account for any messages or attachments you want to save and, then, delete the account. It’s not providing any benefits, and, in the event the account is breached, it could put you at risk.
For email accounts that you want to keep:
- Log in and clean it up. Delete emails, chat messages and unnecessary profile information. In the event of a breach in the future, the less you have in a breached account, the less likely you’ll be victimized by an identity thief who gains access.
- Update software on all internet-connected and mobile devices
Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system is one of the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
- Regularly check for software updates, and when possible, have system updates automatically occur.
The good news about this cleaning checklist is that you can do it all from your bed. I did!
Now…back to Netflix. Happy cleaning!
Posted by Sydney Brown, associate blog editor