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Today is Digital Spring Cleaning Day

Today is Digital Spring Cleaning Day - The Beacon


By: Jackie

Today is Digital Spring Cleaning Day

Have over 2,000 emails in your inbox? Haven’t emptied your recycle bin in a while? Receiving too many e-subscriptions that you can’t keep up with them? Well, today is your lucky day. The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and your BBB have set aside this day to remind everyone that our digital environment needs cleaning, too.

According to the NCSA’s Executive Director, Michael Kaiser, it is time to “take care of that long, overdue digital maintenance and you will be more secure against losing valuable, personal information and being a victim of identity theft while making your online life more manageable. With some smart, simple practices, you will help protect yourself, your family and the extended digital community while enjoying the Internet with greater confidence.”

Digital cleaning isn’t just purging files. It also includes keeping a clean machine, staying secure, and cleaning up your online reputation. Frances Henderson, National Director of Privacy Initiatives with the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB), reminds us, “Personally Identifiable Information can be stolen and used for identity theft if not disposed of properly. BBB recommends you safely store what you must keep and carefully destroy the rest.”

According to NCSA and BBB Press Releases, NCSA and BBB offer these tips for your digital spring cleaning:

*Keep Clean Machines – Keep all web connected devices (PCs, mobile phones, smartphones and tablets) free from malware and infections.

*Keep All Critical Software Current – This is one of the best security measures you can take, and it includes security software, web browsers, document readers, operating systems, and any other software you use regularly.

*Clean Up Your Mobile Life – Delete unused apps and update the others, including the operating systems on your mobile device.

*Make Sure You’re Secure – Turn on two-step authentication, also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication on accounts where available. Two-step authentication is being offered now on many of the Internet’s most popular services, but you have to opt-in to turn it on.

*Make Better Passwords – Use longer passwords that include capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Have separate passwords for key accounts.

*Keep a List of Passwords – Write your passwords down and store the list in a safe, secure place away from your computer.

*Secure Your Phone – Use a passcode or finger swipe to unlock your phone.

*Clean Up Your Social Media Presence – Delete photos, posts, and comments that could damage your reputation.

*Take Control of Your Online Self – Update information about you on the web that is not current. Also review the privacy and security settings on websites you use to make sure only the information you want to share is being shared.

*Clean Up Your Email – Delete what you don’t need and then empty your deleted mail folder(s). If there are old emails you need to keep, archive them.

*Manage Subscriptions – Unsubscribe to newsletters, alerts, and updates you no longer read.

*Empty Your Recycle Bin

*File Upkeep – Delete or archive older files such as numerous drafts of the same document.

*Back It Up – Copy important data to a secure cloud site of an external hard drive where it can be safely stored. Password-protect back-up drives and keep them in a separate location off the network for maximum security.

*Dispose of Electronics Securely – Just wiping data isn’t enough. Shred hard drives, disks, and memory cards.

NCSA will host its next #ChatDPD Twitter chat today (April 8, 2015) at 3:00 p.m. ET to discuss how businesses can do a “digital spring cleaning.”

For more information you can trust on digital security, visit

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Jackie is the Operations and Education Foundation Assistant with the BBB. She assists consumers with business inquiries, and does presentations to senior groups and high school students. She is a regular contributor to the blog.