#DefendYourCyberSelf – Easy E-Cleanup Checklist

Before you start your summer vacation, take the time to declutter your devices to defend your cyberself. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 2019 Internet Crime Report victim losses from Malware, Scareware and Viruses was reported at $2,009,119. These precautionary steps will help reduce your risk of exposure to cybercrime. We’ve compiled a checklist of things that you can do right now to defend your cyberself against hackers, scams, malware, and other cyber attacks. If you’ve been exposed to cybercrime, Fightcybercrime.org is ready to help with recovering, reporting and reinforcing the security on your digital devices.

Mobile Device

__ Update software: Keeping software up-to-date helps minimize your exposure to security risks. Software updates also ensure that your device performs at optimum speed! You’ll be able to quickly update your applications and software in the “settings” on your device.

__ Bring in back-up: Storing your personal information on your phone creates a lucrative target for hackers. Be sure that you back-up sensitive information to a secure hard drive. Having a second storage spot for photos and emails ensures that you won’t lose your valuable files if your device is hacked or wiped. If your device is hacked, we can help you recover here.

__ Delete unwanted apps: If your phone is filled with apps you never open, be sure to get rid of them in your digital declutter. Check the app permissions in your settings to see which apps have access to your location, photos, contacts, etc. If you aren’t comfortable with an application having access to your whereabouts, adjust your settings accordingly! Malicious apps can take personal information without your knowledge. Be sure to check the reviews and feedback from other app users before downloading anything. If you feel that your device may have been compromised by a malicious application, visit us for next steps.

Remove Excess

__ Unsubscribe from unwanted newsletters: Remove clutter from your email by unsubscribing from automated emails that you no longer wish to receive. This reduces your exposure to potential phishing scams! Visit us for phishing email recovery.

__ Delete old files: Storing files you don’t need on your device uses up vital space and slows you down! Sort through your desktop to figure out which files you can get rid off. Text messages can use up a lot of valuable space.

__ Get rid of unused browser extensions: Any inactive browser extensions should be removed in your cyber clean-up. Malicious browser extensions can track your internet activity. Getting rid of excess extensions mitigates your cybersecurity risk. If you have been exposed to malware from a bad browser extension, we can help

Privacy & Security

__ Enable 2FA: Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security on top of your original password. Use 2fa.directory to see which platforms you can add 2FA to. Many accounts are hacked because of weak or stolen passwords. Many accounts are hacked because of weak or stolen passwords. Adding a second layer of protection can stop an attack. 

__  Create strong passwords: In addition to 2FA, we urge you to make sure that your passwords are strong. Never use easily accessible information like birthdays or names for passwords. We urge you to use different passwords for all of your accounts. This way, if your information is stolen in a data breach on one platform, your other accounts are not at risk. For more information about creating strong passwords, visit ConnectSafely’s guide. If your passwords are compromised, we have several recovery resources available. 

__ Adjust your social media settings: Check your social media privacy settings to ensure that you are aware of exactly who has access to your profile and posts.

__ Consider a VPN: Using public WiFi comes with a host of potential cybercrime risk. Public networks are not secure and can expose your personal information to cybercriminals. Using a Virtual Private Network offers you a secure, untraceable connection wherever you use public WiFI.

This blog has been updated from a blog originally posted in July 2019.