It may be time to put away the snow boots and thick jackets and go through the annual spring cleaning checklist, but don’t forget to give your digital life a quick clean-up, too.
Robert Siciliano, a McAfee online security expert, shared five tips with ABCNews.com to make sure your digital life is in shape for the season.
Update Your Passwords
Every account a user has should have a different password that includes upper and lower case letters and uses numbers, Siciliano said.
To take the pain out of remembering dozens of passwords, Siciliano recommends using a password manager, which stores a user’s passwords in an encrypted database.
McAfee’s LiveSafe antivirus softwares comes with a built-in password manager, he said.
Get Rid of Files You Don’t Need Anymore
De-clutter your computer by discarding files, folders and emails that are no longer needed.
“The problem with clutter is that old files can often be subject to viruses,” Siciliano said. ”That clutter leads to confusion and people don’t do security well when they’re confused.”
While you’re at it, don’t forget to empty the recycle bin.
Organize Your Desktop Icons
A desktop cluttered with icons will slow down a computer. Siciliano recommends consolidating related icons. For instance, put “Muffin” and “Rover” files into one labeled “Pets.”
Removing icons you don’t use will also help. This won’t delete the program, but will instead just get rid of the shortcut, Siciliano said.
Check-In On Your Security Software
Make sure you’re running the most up-to-date antivirus, antispyware and antiphishing software.
“The trap most people get into is they use free programs,” Siciliano said. ”The problem with free is there is a lot of manual security. You’re much better off dropping the money and getting a comprehensive suite.”
Check Your Social Footprint
Are your privacy settings where you want them to be?
On Facebook, click on the padlock in the top right corner of the page to fine-tune what’s public, private and what your friends can see.
“I frequently search myself on Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yahoo. Four major search engines,” Siciliano said. ”I want to see what’s out there regarding my name and then I do the same in social via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.”
Siciliano said doing so shows him anything he’s unaware of.
“You want to know that to manage your online reputation and your security,” he said.