A key message for this week of National Cyber Security Awareness Month is “Delete When Done.” What does this mean?
It means clear out your digital clutter and remove unused software. Nearly every software application you have installed on your computer gets an update from time to time. If you leave unused software on your computer, you leave yourself exposed to vulnerabilities in these programs, especially if you are not keeping them up to date.
Many applications run in the background without you knowing it, so even if you are not actively using the software, a component of it may still be running on your PC. This can expose you to vulnerabilities that a hacker could exploit without your knowledge because the software may not be updated to protect against a known issue.
The problem is compounded on our mobile devices. These ease of installing apps has lead to mobile devices with far more apps installed than are actually used. These apps could leave your device exposed as vulnerabilities are discovered. Over time, you may not even remember that you have an app on your device that may pose a risk.
This is where “Delete When Done” comes from. If you are no longer using an installed software application of mobile device app, remove it. If you need it in the future, you can always reinstall it. It’s a good practice to keep your computers and mobile devices as clean as you can. It’s a simple step to help keep you safe.
Here is a link to a good tip sheet you may use and share with colleagues on this topic.