Sweeping out the bugs online and offline: tips on digital Spring cleaning

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(ABC4) – A saying goes that “spring cleaning the house is easy but Spring cleaning life is tough.”

Many are starting to bust out their trusty mops, brooms, and disinfectant cleaning sprays, and you know what that means? It is time for Spring cleaning!

With the weather warming up, many may feel the need to spring into action, to purge and tidy up, without giving a single thought to their digital environments. While it might be easy to see the need to clean the physical world around you, realizing the need to also digitally declutter isn’t so apparent!

What is digital Spring cleaning?

Digital Spring cleaning refers to the process of re-organizing, clearing up additional space, and offloading apps you no longer use on electronic devices. This includes items such as your cell phone, laptop, Ipad, and PC.

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, it is best to also delete software and apps you are no longer using and unsubscribe from newsletters, email alerts, and updates you no longer read.

Where should you start?

With Spring cleaning, it may feel as if you have no idea where to start. Here is a break down of a digital spring cleaning list to help alleviate that stress!

BACKUPS

This part is essential when beginning the process of digital decluttering.

No matter how safe and secure you are, at some point in time, you most likely need to recover important information.

Reasons for a keeping a backup may include:

  • failed hard drive
  • loss of a device
  • infected with malware/ransomware

Creating and scheduling automatic backups ensures you can recover your most important information.

DELETE

Once everything is backed up and secure, now you can move forward with deleting.

Again, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety, this includes software and apps you are no longer using, newsletters, email alerts, and updates you no longer read.

Deleting and unsubscribing from things like these promotes better security for your device, since some apps requiring large amounts of storage can introduce new vulnerabilities.

This will also help your device run a whole lot smoother and if we are being honest, the fewer apps the better!

UPDATE

To ensure your devices are running on the latest network, you will want to enable automatic updating whenever possible.

Updating all your apps is a must. This promotes better security and ensures they also run faster.

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PASSWORDS

Letting go of your often used passwords is a difficult task. And if you use the same password for every login, now is the time to review them!

If you are using the same passwords for multiple accounts, change them so each account has a unique password.

If you struggle with remembering all your unique passwords, it might be best to consider using a password manager or at least enabling two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible, especially for any email or financial accounts.

FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS

This is an easy one to forget, your online bank accounts. It’s important that when you go through cleaning your mobile devices to check out any of your online financial accounts.

Since most things are going digital, its best to keep your online bank account secured.

Make sure to configure an alert you whenever a transaction is made, especially for large purchases or money transfers.

This will help you identify any fraudulent activity.

BROWSER

It is time to clear your history, cookies and plug-ins!

When it comes to your online browser, make sure to review any and all add-ons or plugins. What should you be looking for when reviewing them?

  • Do the plugins really require your location, passwords, or contact lists?
  • If you are no longer using certain plugins, you shouldn’t have them.
  • Are these add-ons invading your privacy or causing any privacy concerns?

SOCIAL MEDIA

Review your online networks and own it!

Social media is a great place to connect with anyone and everyone from around the globe, but only if you agree to it. Review your privacy settings and delete any photos and videos that are no longer accessed or needed.

We live in a new age of technology where the world is more connected than ever, and that means so is your information. Remember, it’s fine to limit how much information you share, and even with who you choose to share it with.

EMAIL

This is the last step and can be the most difficult. Many tend to let their number of emails pile up and accumulate into the thousands. Now is the time to remind those doing so to stop and clear it up!

Spring cleaning is the day you purge the unnecessary and organize the things you do need. Make sure that when you are filing your emails, to pay attention to any sensitive documents, such as those with your date of birth or Social Security number, and get those out of your inbox.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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