The feather duster 2.0: A successful digital spring clean
G DATA’s advice on spring cleaning your PC, smartphone and tablet.
Half of all Germans make the most of the annual spring clean to make their homes spick and span again. But a digital spring clean also does your PC, smartphone and tablet a world of good. Users should therefore clean up their hard drives and install available program and operating system updates as well as a security solution that protects them from online threats. But where to start? G DATA gives users eight tips to improve digital security.
"Whether PC, smartphone or tablet, it is important that the operating systems and programs are always up-to-date and updates are installed in a timely manner," explains Tim Berghoff, G DATA Security Evangelist. "There is often a feature that automatically installs new patches. We recommend that you always activate it. It means that users do not have to regularly check all programs for updates."
- Bin old operating systems and software: Windows XP and soon Vista will no longer receive any more security updates. Therefore, users should bin old operating systems, as known security gaps are not closed and can be exploited by attackers. This also applies to software dinos, for which there are no more updates. Even if it hurts: upgrade to current programs that are maintained by the manufacturer.
- Declutter your hard drive: Delete data properly. Don’t just empty the recycle bin! If throwing away the disk or the computer, you also need to: either delete or mechanically destroy the hard disk correctly before disposal. This prevents it from ending up as a used part containing your data on sales exchanges such as Ebay and Co. That also applies to all memory media such as USB sticks and cards.
- Not just clean - but also up-to-date: The operating system and all installed applications on the computer, smartphone or tablet should be updated. Programs that are no longer supplied with updates by the manufacturer should be deleted or replaced with new software.
- Back up important data: The massive attacks by ransomware have once again shown that data can be permanently lost. A backup saves family photos or videos. Thus, an attack with malicious code or a breakdown on the PC doesn’t mean losing your data for ever. Powerful security solutions, such as G DATA Total Security and G DATA Internet Security, often include a backup module and anti-ransomware technology, meaning that the purchase of additional software is not required.
- Apps only from secure sources: Applications should only be downloaded from trustworthy app stores run by manufacturers and providers. For every download, the requested rights should be checked critically.
- Install a security solution: A powerful security software is part of the basic configuration for PCs, Macs and mobile devices. It should provide comprehensive protection against malicious programs and other cyber threats.
- Don’t save passwords in the browser: Users should generally disable the "Save password" function in the browser. Alternatively: A password manager, for example, in G DATA Total Security. Passwords are thus reliably protected against data theft.
- Regularly change passwords: Passwords should always be at least eight characters long, and should contain a combination of lower and uppercase letters together with digits and, if necessary, special characters. In addition, the same password should never be used for different online portals.