It’s the start of spring, and it’s also the end of a month full of newsworthy security breaches and data scares (cough cough… Facebook). What better occasion for some digital spring cleaning? If you have emails you no longer use, thousands of files in your downloads and trash folders, and credit cards on file with multiple companies, you’re not alone, but you might as well be paving the way for a hacker to steal your information.
Reduce, Reuse, Reread the Terms & Conditions
How many times have you signed up for an app or service and promised that you “read” the terms and conditions? Too many to count? Me too. Well, unfortunately, those days are over. It’s time to take a minute and go back to all of your apps, social media accounts, etc., and actually read over the terms and conditions that you agreed to years ago without a second thought. Chances are, you have probably been giving both the app itself and secondary apps access to a lot more of your personal information than you were aware of.
So, how do you fix it?
If you find red flags in the terms and conditions, it may be time to let go of the app as a whole. Also, it may a good idea to stop letting those third-party *which 90s celebrity are you* quizzes obtain access to all of your pictures. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to see what apps have access and remove them from receiving any more information from your profile.
How much time do you spend going through your email, selecting all, and marking as read? Too much. It’s time to unsubscribe. The only thing these emails are doing is taking up storage, linking hackers to more information that they can steal, and distracting you from emails that actually matter.
Take The Trash Out
You know the rule about cleaning out your closet? You should donate or throw out the items you haven’t worn in six months. This rule applies to tech as well. Take a look at your phone and your computer. Are there apps you haven’t used in six months or more? If so, delete any account information that they have then delete the app altogether. After your deleting-rampage, take a look at your trash. Go through and select the items you will be fine with not being able to recover and delete them for good. Even if items are sitting in your trash folder, hackers can still access them.
While a lot of digital spring cleaning is about deleting and canceling, there are a few apps we recommend getting to make your life easier. First are cloud storage apps. Go through your photos, important documents, and whatever else you have stored on your hard drive and move it to these platforms. Cloud-based applications not only free up storage, they also store everything online, so you’re protected in the case of a computer crash.
You may ask, ‘How do I secure my cloud storage account?’ Well, that’s where password generators come in. There are countless generators out there that not only create lengthy alphanumeric passwords for you, they also remember them. There’s a good chance that any computer-generated password will be far more secure than the one you made up and use on every platform. See for yourself here.
Now pick up your devices, and get cleaning!