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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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BBB Tip of the Week: Spring cleaning should also include your online life

With spring in full swing, there is a good chance your weekend plans may include scrubbing, sweeping and sprucing up your home for the season.

While clearing clutter is an annual ritual for many households, the National Cyber Security Alliance and Better Business Bureau have teamed up to remind all consumers not to be digital hoarders and to freshen up their online lives. By conducting a digital spring cleaning and taking care of overdue online maintenance, you will be safer and more secure against losing personal information and becoming a victim of identity theft.

A digital refresh is a relatively simple process. The NCSA has identified the top, trouble-free tips and advice that everyone should follow, beginning this spring and throughout the year.

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 thorough review of your online files. Tend to your digital records, PCs and phones and any device with storage just as you do for your paper files. Get started by doing the following:

Save only those emails you really need and unsubscribe to email you no longer need or want to receive.

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.

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.

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