National Cyber Security Alliance and Better Business Bureau Remind All Internet Users to Do a Digital Spring Cleaning and Clear Out Cyber Clutter
Tuesday, April 04, 2017
A few simple steps will help you stay cyber safe and protect your personal data and identity all year round.
WASHINGTON, April 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Better Business Bureau (BBB) are encouraging consumers to get their online lives in good order by conducting a thorough cleanse of their cyber clutter and make "digital spring cleaning" an annual ritual to help protect valuable personal data. A NCSA survey found that preventing identity theft is a top safety concern for Americans, but there are several easy steps that everyone should do that will go a long way in tidying up digital disorder.
"Chances are that over the years you've accumulated lots of digital clutter that can impact your cybersecurity posture. It's critical to remember that just as you shred sensitive paper documents before discarding, you should properly destroy important electronic data," said Michael Kaiser, NCSA's executive director. "By following a few easy-to-use digital spring cleaning tips, you can be significantly safer and more secure online. In addition, you will have a renewed peace of mind that you are helping to protect yourself, your family and the community at large. NCSA and BBB want everyone to enjoy the internet's extraordinary benefits with increased confidence."
"Just as we urge people to safely shred old paper records, BBB is also urging consumers and businesses to make sure that electronic files are properly disposed of when no longer needed," said Bill Fanelli, chief information officer with the Council of Better Business Bureaus. "Old hard drives, data sticks, cell phones, tablets...anything that contains sensitive data should securely destroyed. Digital spring cleaning also means deleting old files, updating passwords and taking other steps to make sure your private information stays private." Many BBBs are hosting Secure Your ID Day shredding events in April.
Refreshing your online life is a relatively simple process. NCSA has identified our top, trouble-free tips that everyone should follow this spring.
-- Keep a clean machine: Ensure all software on internet-connected devices
- including PCs, smartphones and tablets - is up to date to reduce risk
of infection from malware.
-- Lock down your login: Your usernames and passwords are not enough to
protect key accounts like email, banking and social media. Begin your
spring cleaning by fortifying your online accounts and enabling the
strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security
keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device.
-- Declutter your mobile life: Most of us have apps we no longer use and
some that need updating. Delete unused apps and keep others current,
including the operating system on your mobile device. An added benefit
of deleting unused apps is more storage space and longer battery life.
Actively manage your location services, Bluetooth, microphone and camera
- making sure apps use them appropriately.
-- Do a digital file purge: Perform a good, thorough review of your online
files. Tend to your digital records, PCs, phones and any device with
storage just as you do for paper files. Get started by doing the
-- Clean up your email: Save only those emails you really need and
unsubscribe to email you no longer need/want to receive.
-- Back it up: Copy important data to a secure cloud site or another
computer or drive where it can be safely stored. Password protect
backup drives. Make sure to back up your files before getting rid of
a device, too.
-- Own your online presence: Review the privacy and security settings on
websites you use to be sure that they remain set to your comfort level
for sharing. It's OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
Here are some user-friendly tips to help with the safe disposal of
electronically stored data. Prep your data in advance of participating
in BBB's Secure Your ID Day:
-- Know what devices to digitally "shred": Computers and mobile phones
aren't the only devices that capture and store sensitive, personal data.
External hard drives and USBs, tape drives, embedded flash memory,
wearables, networking equipment and office tools like copiers, printers
and fax machines all contain valuable, personal information.
-- Clear out stockpiles: If you have a stash of old hard drives or other
devices - even if they're in a locked storage area - information still
exists and could be stolen. Don't wait: wipe and/or destroy unneeded
hard drives as soon as possible.
-- Empty your trash or recycle bin on all devices and be certain to wipe
and overwrite: Simply deleting and emptying the trash isn't enough to
completely get rid of a file. You must permanently delete old files. Use
a program that deletes the data, "wipes" it from your device and then
overwrites it by putting random data in place of your information --
that then cannot be retrieved.
-- Various overwriting and wiping tools are available for electronic
devices. For devices like tape drives, remove any identifying
information that may be written on labels before disposal, and use
embedded flash memory or networking or office equipment to perform a
full factory reset and verify that no potentially sensitive
information still exists on the device.
-- Decide what to do with the device: Once the device is clean, you can
sell it, trade it in, give it away, recycle it or have it destroyed.
Note the following:
-- Failed drives still contain data: On failed drives, wiping often
fails, too; shredding/destruction is the practical disposal approach
for failed drives. Avoid returning these drives to the manufacturer;
you can purchase support that allows you to keep it - and then
-- To be "shredded," a hard drive must be chipped into small pieces:
Using a hammer to hit a drive only slows down a determined
cybercriminal; instead, use a trusted shredding company to dispose
of your old hard drives. Device shredding can often be the most
time- and cost-effective option for disposing of a large number of
Events and Resources
-- #ChatSTC Twitter Chat: Refresh Your Online Life With a Digital Spring
Cleaning, Thursday, April 20, 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT - NCSA and the BBB
encourage everyone to make digital spring cleaning an annual ritual to
help protect their personal data. Join @STOPTHNKCONNECT for a Twitter
chat on simple steps consumers and organizations can take to be more
#CyberAware this spring and all year round. We'll also share NCSA's
latest digital spring cleaning tips. Use #ChatSTC to join!
-- BBB Secure Your ID Day, Saturday, April 22, various locations across the
United States - BBBs across North America will host this helpful
identity theft prevention event featuring FREE on-site shredding,
electronic recycling, plus tips to protect your identity. Click here to
find a list of participating BBBs.
-- NCSA -- Here's a handy list of digital spring cleaning tips:
-- NCSA -- Help others get their houses in order by hanging posters around
the office: staysafeonline.org/stop-think-connect/posters/
-- NCSA -- Check your privacy settings:
-- NCSA -- Keep a clean machine! Use these free security checkups to learn
-- BBB - Check out bbb.org/secure-your-id-day for more information on
shredding events and tips on what to save and for how long. Businesses
should check out bbb.org/cybersecurity for "5 Steps to Better Business
-- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) -- The Protecting Your
Digital Home Tip Card: Many of the items in our homes - our thermostats,
coffee machines and music speakers - are now connected to the internet
and store sensitive, personal information. As you go through and clean
your house this spring, take note in each room which devices or
appliances are connected to the internet. In this tip card, DHS provides
five simple steps you can take today to secure your digital home and
devices to protect you and your family from online threats.
About The National Cyber Security Alliance
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is the nation's leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness. NCSA works with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and NCSA's Board of Directors, which includes representatives from ADP; Aetna; AT&T Services, Inc.; Bank of America; Barclays; BlackBerry Corporation; CDK Global; Cisco; Comcast Corporation; ESET North America; Facebook; Google; Intel Corporation; LifeLock, Inc. (a Symantec company); Logical Operations; Mastercard; Microsoft Corp.; NXP Semiconductors; PayPal; PKWARE; Raytheon; RSA, the Security Division of EMC; Salesforce; SANS Institute; Symantec; TeleSign and Visa Inc. NCSA's core efforts include National Cyber Security Awareness Month (October); Data Privacy Day (January 28) and STOP. THINK. CONNECT.(TM), the global online safety awareness and education campaign co-founded by NCSA and the Anti Phishing Working Group, with federal government leadership from DHS. 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 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 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 the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review and industry self-regulation.
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SOURCE National Cyber Security Alliance
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