A 2020 report by Statistics Canada found that more than 40% of Canadians experienced a cybersecurity incident early in the pandemic, says BBB.
The warmer weather that comes with spring often prompts people to clear things up, declutter and freshen up their homes.
However, one area that many people tend to overlook are the same devices they use every day, maybe even right now.
After a year of increased online activity, as well as the prevalence of more sophisticated cyberattacks, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds the public to declutter their digital devices.
Over the past few years, the focus on cybersecurity and the protection of sensitive information has become increasingly critical.
A 2020 report by Statistics Canada found that more than 40% of Canadians experienced a cybersecurity incident at the start of the pandemic.
A report by the Insurance Bureau of Canada also noted that almost half of Canadian small businesses have suffered a cyberattack, costing more than $100,000 in 2021.
BBB recommends getting a digital makeover to protect yourself from potential threats that could compromise your personal data.
Here are seven BBB tips to help you with your digital spring cleaning:
1. Declutter digital devices. Delete unused apps and keep others up to date by updating them as needed. Apps collect data about you and your behavior, so get rid of the ones you don’t use as they might share your information. Also, be sure to actively manage location services, microphone usage, and access to your camera and photos across all apps.
2. Perform a file purge. Review your recordings and delete the ones you don’t need. This may also include cleaning out your inboxes and backing up your most important documents to a secure cloud site or external hard drive. Try the 3-2-1 rule: 3 backup copies, 2 different media types and 1 offline in a separate location.
3. Lock your connection. Your security is at risk when you overlook the importance of restricting unauthorized access to your online accounts. Use long, unique and securely stored passwords and passphrases. Instead of using a one-word password, we encourage you to use a passphrase. These are relatively longer, featuring random words, numbers, and symbols. Always use two-factor authentication whenever offered.
4. Stop delaying your updates. Make sure you have the latest security software and updates available by updating as soon as you receive these notifications. Having the latest software, web browsers and operating systems is one of the easiest and fastest ways to protect your most sensitive assets.
5. Empty the trash cans. Simply deleting and emptying your computer’s Recycle Bin or Trash is not enough to get rid of a file. To delete them permanently, consider getting a program that “erases” these files from your devices and then overwrites them with random data in place of your information for an extra layer of security.
6. Inspect the privacy settings of all your social media accounts. Make sure you don’t reveal personal information to strangers. While you’re at it, look again to see who has administrative access to these accounts.
7. Safely dispose of old technology. It goes beyond cell phones and computers to include USB drives, external hard drives, portable devices and printers – all of which contain your personal information. Once you are completely done with a device and have backed up the information you need, “shred” the device with a trusted electronic shredding company.