Spring is here! Out with the old and in with the new – a new opportunity to put winter clothes away .Why not clean up your digital life as well?

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    In my previous blog, I talked about cleaning up your cell phone.  How about cleaning up your online identity?  It’s an important piece of your digital life.  Here are 5 steps to scrubbing your online identity:

    • Google Yourself - You are your own personal brand image. So what are people saying about you and what have you said that might be public? Google yourself to find out where you’re mentioned and what images have been tagged with your name.  Then you can work to clean up what you find.
    • Delete old email accounts - Are your friends receiving weird emails from you? Sometimes the source is that old email address you used a dozen years ago and never check now.  Your contacts are still in the account and vulnerable to hackers and the password you used back then is probably not as strong as it should be. Deleting old email accounts stops hackers from abusing your identity to attack your friends and family.
    • Review old social media posts - Determine if what you posted when you were 18 is still appropriate for you today and consider what an employer or even your kids might think when they see them. And it’s not just about you, if there are pictures of friends that may have been funny at the time, consider taking them offline as well.
    • Strengthen passwords - Use secure passwords to guard yourself against hackers and other vulnerabilities. There are free tools like Dashlane that help you manage your passwords and guide you to make them stronger.  Use different passwords on sites as you never know when your favorite e-retailer could get compromised and you don’t want your password making your whole digital life vulnerable.  For an added layer of protection, you should also turn on two –factor authentication so your smartphone can identify you with your fingerprint or with face recognition.
    • Scrub your history – your surfing history that is. Safeguard your personal information and your location online with a VPN (virtual private network).  VPN protects your data from snooping by encrypting it and it also stops snoopers on public WiFi networks from grabbing your data. A VPN will also hide your location preventing websites you visit from targeting with unwanted ads.  You can download a free one from HMA! here.
    • Check privacy settings – Now that the past is cleaned up, make sure your future posts are in check by managing the privacy settings across your social media platforms and online accounts. There may have been changes to the settings and privacy policies in recent product updates, so ensure you have the level of privacy protection that matches the level of your online activity.  Go and review the settings today.

    Even though your online identity is squeaky clean, don’t wait until next spring to do a digital clean up.

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