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Cybersecurity 101: Digital Spring Cleaning

By Aaron Boigon, EVP | CIO Plumas Bank

You might be thinking of doing some spring cleaning. After all, that house isn’t going to clean itself. Why not use some of this same go-getter spring cleaning attitude to do a little sprucing up of your digital house?  Here are a few suggestions about where to start:

That Password Mess

Let’s face it, you’ve got lousy, weak passwords and you re-use many of them on multiple sites.  You know better, but it’s a hassle and time-consuming to get this all cleaned up. I suggest starting with a reputable password manager to help you keep track of your passwords, generate complex and unique new ones, and even simplify the login process. There are many out there, just do your research and find one that’s reputable. Sure, it’ll take a little time to input everything and make your changes, but you’ll feel much better once you do!

Cloud Clutter

If you’re using cloud storage (Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud), there’s a better than average chance you’ve got files galore stored out there. I’ve talked to people who were surprised to find they had gigs of data. In some cases, they were paying extra storage fees, which is kind of like paying rent on a storage unit for your old furniture and roller skates.  The other consideration with all these data stored online is to be sure your cloud storage is secure.  Use long and strong passwords and be sure to enable whatever form of two-factor authentication the provider has to offer.

Email

Enough said. Well, I’ll say a bit more. You should be cautious about storing sensitive information in your email.  Email account breaches are commonplace and given the kinds of things people keep in their inboxes, sent items, and deleted items folders this can spell disaster. Imagine if a fraudster were able to troll your email account right now and all those thousands of messages you’ve got in there.  What would they find?  Passwords, account numbers, bank information, and the list goes on.  As with all accounts, make sure you’ve got long and strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication.  Then go on a cleaning spree and delete or move sensitive information.

Subscriptions

We live in a subscription-based world. You’ve got subscriptions for just about everything from movie/tv streaming, books and magazines, online storage, hosting services, e-learning, email services, antivirus and security services, and the list goes on. It’s no time like the present to put together a list of everything you’re subscribed to and to cancel those you don’t need and update those you do need.

Apps

There are two kinds of people, those who have their phone apps organized into neat little folders based on category, and those who have 75 pages of app icons in no particular order to scroll through. If you’re in the latter group, chances are you have a slew of apps you never use anymore.  Time to delete them.  This not only saves space, battery juice, and removes clutter, it can significantly reduce your security risk. Many applications run in the background and communicate information about what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what you’re buying.  Go do it.  Delete that nutrition app and task organizer you’ve never used, but that you’ve authorized to connect to your email/social media accounts and fitness devices. Because those apps are still listening even if you aren’t.

Cybersecurity is a key area of concern for Plumas Bank. We offer tips and information to keep cyber awareness top of mind. View more cybersecurity resources

posted 4-14-20