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BBB: Time for digital spring cleaning

Posted at 9:40 AM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 11:40:16-04

Everyone wants to get their garage cleaned out when the weather's nice, but digital spring cleaning something to think about, too. There are plenty of things that you should get around to updating to protect your privacy and your identity on your computer, tablet, phone, and even car.

Better Business Bureau's Dale Dixon explains the things you may want to do to tidy up in the digital world.

As a very basic first step, make sure that all web-connected devices ? including PCs, mobile phones, smartphones and tablets ? are free from malware and infections. Make sure software is current, including antivirus updates and downloading any updates from the App Store.

While you’re at it, delete unused apps. That step may lead to longer battery life and more space on your phone. Take a few minutes, or for some of you, longer, to clean out email inboxes and get rid of junk.

Some experts recommend quarterly, others say twice a year. Either way, you’ve probably had your current passwords too long. Change them! Use letters, numbers, and symbols, and make sure unique accounts have unique passwords, especially your email and mobile banking accounts.

Turn on two-step authentication ? also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication ? on accounts where available. That way, the first time you log into an account from a new browser or device, you have to verify you’re the one who made the request. Often times, it’s a text message. Many popular email services, social networks, and financial institutions offer this feature.

Back it up: Copy important data to a secure cloud site or to another drive where it can be safely stored. Password protect backup drives and keep them in a different location off the network for maximum security. Commit to doing backups on a regular basis.

Empty your trash or recycle bin on all devices: Make sure to permanently delete old files.