The concept of spring cleaning is beneficial to your virtual life, just as it is to your home. With so many day-to-day tasks dependent on an internet connection, it’s easy for digital clutter to build up. Examples are old email accounts, social profiles, and downloads. The longer they go without updates, the higher the chances of a breach.

1. Start with Hardware

Do you own old computers, disk drives, CDs, gaming consoles, and other peripherals? Although you no longer use them, the data they hold could still wreak havoc in the wrong hands. It’s advisable to back up any vital information before wiping them clean. The only surefire solution is to physically destroy the drives because a determined bad actor could still recover deleted files.

Once done with your old hardware, turn your attention to current devices. The desktop is usually one of the messiest parts of a computer. Improve productivity by saving all associated files in a single folder and deleting the ones you don’t need. Upload financial, medical, and other sensitive documents into a secure cloud service that you can access whenever you need them.

2. Review Your Email Accounts

The internet is a valuable tool for work and entertainment. Your email account is probably the most prized online possession because it facilitates several of your virtual tasks. Hackers are likely to use it for identity theft, phishing, spam, ransomware, and other types of email attacks.

Digital spring cleaning involves deleting old emails because they could contain sensitive information. All major email providers allow you to export crucial messages before deleting them.

3. Analyze Other Online Activities

Social media, phone apps, and browsers are some of the internet services that create digital clutter. In addition to asking for login details, they’re responsible for downloads, attachments, and chats. We recommend going through these activities and deleting old files.

Most app users also tend to be ignorant of privacy and security settings. It’s advisable to review them regularly and tweak your permissions accordingly. This process also involves opting out of apps that you no longer use because they still track your online activities. 

4. Revitalize Your Online Presence

Internet-connected devices receive update notifications regularly. Ensure you install them as soon as you can. Other than protecting your device, these patches also delete potentially harmful files. Refresh your web browsers by reviewing and updating your passwords and autofill permissions.

Evaluate your Bluetooth, location, contacts, camera, and microphone settings to ensure they don’t store more data than necessary. Take the time to read your old social media posts and delete those that no longer align with your current ideals. Analyze your phone contacts, social media friends, and other online acquaintances and unfollow those that needlessly fill your feeds and inboxes.

5. Prioritize File Backups

It’s possible to delete unused files only to need them later. That’s why you need a secure cloud-based backup solution. It allows you to access information anytime and anywhere. You no longer have to have multiple copies on different devices if you can access one from the cloud.

While it’s advisable to have unique passwords for separate profiles, it’s not easy to remember all of them. A password manager helps you securely manage multiple accounts. It helps remove digital clutter by providing a central store of your online IDs. After completing your virtual spring cleaning exercise, review it once more to ensure you got everything right.

When you want to stay healthy during this covid-19 era, you must make sure your hands are always clean. But when it comes to online safety, you should clear the clutter as often as you clear your spam folder messages to stay protected in the digital space.

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