8 digital spring cleaning tips for better cybersecurity

2020-04-14 - 4 min read

By now, all the cans in your pantry are arranged alphabetically, every item of clothing sparks joy, and you’ve scrubbed the gaps between your bathroom tiles. What’s next? Time to start spring cleaning in your digital life. Since most of us currently have more time than usual, it’s an excellent opportunity to finally do all the tasks you were avoiding up until now.

Here are eight things you should do during quarantine to make your digital life better:

Delete your unused online accounts

You should go over every account that you remember having, especially the ones you no longer use. You might not remember all the passwords, so reset them where possible or contact the page admin for help. Old accounts are a huge threat, more so if you forget you even had one. If that site gets hacked and your login credentials end up online, it could pose a serious threat to your current accounts. Especially if you’ve been using the same password for everything since you were 15 – and many people do. So, delete everything you no longer use or need.

Update your software

Updates are a pain — we get it. They often take a lot of time, especially if it’s your device’s OS. But updates are there for a reason. They bring new security patches for your devices, apps, and programs to keep them (and your information) safe. Once you update every piece of software you have, you won’t have to press the “remind me later” button every time you use it.

Scan your devices

Find a reliable antimalware and antivirus provider and scan your every device for malicious software. You might think you’re always extremely careful online, but cybercriminals keep coming up with new ways to hide their actions. Many people also assume that Apple products are safe from malware, but it’s far from the truth. Therefore, no matter what brand and operating system you use, scan it thoroughly, and make sure it is safe.

Clean up your devices

With so much free time, many people already Marie Kondo-ed their closets and pantries. So, it’s time you do the same to your digital belongings. First, go through your folders and arrange everything: photos, movies, e-books, music, work documents, etc. Then, move everything to the cloud. It has multiple benefits: you can access your files from anywhere, they stay safe in case your device is stolen or broken, and once you free up a lot of space, it will run faster. To make sure your files stay safe and no one can tamper with them, consider encrypting them.

Organize your email inbox

If you’re one of those people who only read important emails and allows the rest to pile up, your inbox must look like a dumpster fire. Thousands of unread emails mean you can’t even use the search feature to find what you need – numerous emails come up, no matter what keyword you enter. So, roll up your sleeves, identify which services send you useless emails, and unsubscribe from each one. Then, select all unread emails and delete them – most of it is junk mail you never cared for in the first place. Use labels to organize your current emails, and custom filters to avoid getting similar spam in the future.

Set up a backup for your files

If you do a lot of work on your computer, it’s best to have a backup system in place. You can back up everything to the cloud manually every day, but an automatic system is much more convenient, and it won’t say, “eh, I’ll do it tomorrow.” You never know when your hard drive might fail, malware might ruin your files, or you might fall victim to a ransomware attack.

Change all your passwords

Yes, all of them. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times – you must change your passwords frequently. Make sure they are long, include upper- and lower-case letters and numbers, and never use the same one twice. While you’re at it, set up two-factor authentication on every account that supports it. And finally, download a password manager, so you don’t forget all those new complicated passwords that you created.

Find the time to relax

Using all this newfound spare time during quarantine for tasks that you were avoiding is great. You get a lot more done and finally don’t have an excuse to delay all the chores you were avoiding. But you should also find some time to relax and put your feet up. Watching a movie is a great way to unwind, but if you’re feeling bad about watching Netflix while everyone else seems to be so productive, you can choose something that would both entertain and enlighten you. We, of course, recommend watching movies, documentaries, and TV shows about cybersecurity, so you know what’s up and how to stay safe. Here are a few of our favorites:

  1. Mr. Robot

  2. Citizenfour

  3. Terms and Conditions May Apply

  4. Enemy of the State

  5. We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists

Monica Webster
Monica Webster
Verified author
Monica is the spirit of our content team. Her bubbliness and creativity sparkle her articles. She loves to investigate various security related problems and bring useful tips to readers. When she is not writing about technology, she explores art.
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