April – Spring Cleaning

April – Spring Cleaning

 

April is here and so is spring, which means it is time for spring cleaning! Your devices may need as much cleaning as the rest of your house. So during this month, we’ll talk to you about how to perform proper device cleaning and information disposal.

Have you ever searched for yourself online? This a very good way to see what’s out there about you and what others’ can see. It’s also a good opportunity to decide which things you need to be removed, because they might damage to your reputation. Moreover, many of us get so busy and distracted with our daily activities, we tend to accumulate a lot of information that we don’t use. We recommend that you periodically check and clean your information and devices.

Here are some tips we recommend you to follow during your spring cleaning:

Your computer

  • Install and enable anti-virus software on your device and keep it up to date. Scan your device periodically.
  • Make electronic copies of all your important files and backed them up to another computer or other storage.
  • Check if all of your programs are up to date, and uninstall those you no longer use.
  • Clean your data before selling or disposing of your device. Symantec recommends these steps: http://www.yoursecurityresource.com/feature/prevention/how_to_wipe_hard_drive_clean/index.html
  • Dispose of your device safely. It may contain hazardous materials: http://www.yoursecurityresource.com/feature/prevention/ewaste/index.html
  • Review the folders on your computer periodically, including the recycle bin, delete files you don’t use or need anymore.
  • Change your passwords (including your network password)
  • Remove all unneeded plug-ins and add-ons in your browser; some of them may contain malware and adware.
  • Run a "deep scan" of all your files to make sure there is no malware hiding somewhere in your hard drive that was not seen by a typical quick scan. This may take few hours, but it will help protect you.
  • Keep your work environment clean. That can be just as important as keeping your computer free of malware: http://lifehacker.com/364054/top-10-ways-to-get-cables-under-control
  • Install and enable anti-virus software on your device and keep it up to date. Scan your device periodically.
  • Make electronic copies of all your important files and backed them up to another computer or other storage.

 

Your Email

  • Add or enable a spam filter. Report spam that does get to your inbox to spam@rit.edu. That will help keep everyone’s mailbox cleaner.
  • Organize your messages in folders to make easier to find when you need them.

 

Your Social Media Accounts and Online Presence

  • Check your Facebook privacy settings periodically
  • Select the specific audience that you want to see your post. If you’ve made a post public, be sure to change the setting to your preferred audience when you next post.
  • Remove online content you’ve posted that you think could damage your reputation. You can find ways to do that here: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/cleaning-your-digital-footprint/
  • If you’ve stopped using any social media account, DELETE IT.
  • Think before you post. Sometimes we make impulsive posts without taking into consideration their possible consequences. Remember that what goes on the web could stay there forever.
  • Remove any potentially damaging posts you’ve made in social media accounts like Twitter and delete them. https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2014/11/20/how-to-delete-your-old-embarrassing-now-much-easier-to-find-tweets/
  • Control access to your data by reviewing which apps can access your social media accounts.

The ITS HelpDesk can help you dispose of old hard drives and portable media safely. See other media disposal recommendations: https://www.rit.edu/security/content/media-disposal-recommendations

Follow us on social media to learn more about how to better perform your spring cleaning:

Facebook: RIT Information Security / Twitter: @RIT_InfoSec / Google+: RIT Information Security Pinterest: RIT InfoSec Instagram: @RIT_infosec