CROMWELL, Conn. (WTNH) — Spring is not only a good time of year to clean out your closet. It’s also a good time to clean up your computers, smart phones and other devices.
“A spring digital cleaning essentially helps us protect our information, as well as all the things that are precious to us, like our photographs, and our videos, and documents,” said Howard Schwartz, executive communications director at the Better Business Bureau of Connecticut.
He says the first step is deleting old software you don’t use.
“The big payoff is your computer will run quicker,” Schwartz explained.
Now is also a good time to update the software you do use.
“Generally these patches do increase the various functionality of the software, but they also use these updates to close loopholes that could be exploited that could allow hackers into our computers,” Schwartz said.
Speaking of hackers, be sure to have anti-virus protection installed on your computer, and make sure it’s also up-to-date.
“The most important thing once you install this anti-spyware or anti-malware software, is to use it properly, and that means updating it regularly, and scanning it regularly,” Schwartz explained.
Also, back everything up.
“A computer itself whether it’s a laptop or a pc um, they’re vulnerable because the storage drive has a lifetime, and after a couple of years it may fail on you,” Schwartz said. “You may drop the computer, someone may steal it, in which case, your files are gone.”
Schwartz also recommends changing your passwords at least once or ideally twice a year.
“We recommend is a combination of upper and lowercase letters, a number, and a symbol at the end,” he explained.
And don’t forget to protect your smartphone with a password.
“A simple reason is if you get up for a moment in a restaurant or elsewhere, someone could not only pick up, but if it’s someone else they can make long distance phone calls,” Schwartz explained. “They can create all kinds of problems for you, just by physically being able to get into your device.”
Now is also a good time of year to go through your email account and unsubscribe to newsletters or emails you no longer want to receive.