WASHINGTON, D.C. ‒ The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Better Business Bureau (BBB) say now is the perfect time for a “digital spring cleaning.” In many households, spring cleaning is an annual ritual marked by clearing out closets, basements and garages, de-cluttering cabinets, and getting everything spic and span. While making sure your home is in tip-top shape, don’t forget about getting a fresh start with your online life as well. Add a digital element to your spring cleaning rite by updating security software, unclogging your inbox, and ridding your smartphone of unused apps.
“Plan to conduct a digital de-clutter in addition to sprucing up your home this spring,” said Michael Kaiser, NCSA’s executive director. “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.”
The bulk of digital cleaning falls into four buckets: keeping a clean machine, staying secure, cleaning up your online reputation, and purging files. Follow NCSA’s tried and true STOP.THINK.CONNECT. tips as well as the other advice listed, and you will be well on your way to a safer, more secure online life. Visit NCSA’s STOP.THINK.CONNECT. site at stopthinkconnect.org/ for a library of additional resources.
“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,” said Frances Henderson, National Director of Privacy Initiatives with the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “April is known for spring cleaning and tax season ‒ both represent powerful triggers to sort out your documentation ‒ whether it’s on paper or digital.” BBBs across the country are hosting dozens of “Secure Your ID Day” shredding events on or about April 18, 2015, and many are offering shredding of hard drives, disks and memory cards, as well. Go to bbb.org/secure-your-id-day for a calendar of events, a schedule of what documents should be saved and for how long and more information on data privacy and security.
NCSA and BBB offer these tips for your digital spring cleaning:
Keep Clean Machines
Keeping all web-connected devices ‒ including PCs, mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets ‒ free from malware and infections makes the Internet safer for you and more secure for everyone.
Make Sure You’re Secure
Enhancing the security of your online accounts is a fast and simple way to be safer online.
Clean Up Your Online Reputation
Take an active role in shaping your digital footprint.
Digital File Purge and Protection
Tend to your digital records just as you do for paper files.
About The National Cyber Security Alliance
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is the nation's leading nonprofit public-private partnership promoting the safe and secure use of the Internet. Working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), private sector sponsors and nonprofit collaborators to promote cybersecurity awareness, NCSA board members include representatives from ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast Corporation, EMC Corporation, ESET, Facebook, Google, Intel, McAfee, Microsoft, Raytheon, Symantec, Verizon and Visa. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, nonprofit and academic sectors, NCSA’s mission is to educate and empower a digital citizenry to use the Internet securely and safely, protect themselves and the technology they use, and protect the digital assets we all share. NCSA leads initiatives for STOP.THINK.CONNECT., a global cybersecurity awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online; Data Privacy Day, celebrated annually on January 28 and National Cyber Security Awareness Month, launched every October. For more information on NCSA, please visit staysafeonline.org/about-us/overview/.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.