[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]At this very moment of seasonal change it’s cliché to say that now is the time for a spring clean. However, there is something real about coming out of a very long cold spell, literally crawling from the ‘cave’ to see sunshine, blue sky and flowers blooming. What a boon, life affirming. The seasonal switch has flicked to remind us to get our things in order. Often that means a considered deliberation on the things we hold dear or a tangible clean out of clothes and tchotchkes.
Let’s not do that this year. Who needs average ‘spark joy’ when you can go deep digital clean. This Spring, let’s hack our own digital devices and clean them up so they remain the workhorses they need to be, save the battery and ultimately, avoid a malicious actor crawling through the metaphorical window. Part clean up, part safety procedure…start here:
Clear the cache – the detailed version of why and how to clear your cache is here but the short of it is, temporary data files are created when you use an app or go to a website and input details. The stored data helps apps run smoothly and quickly. Clearing your cache, gives your phone extra storage and memory, like a 15 minute tea break. Huzzah!
Clear browsing data while you are there. Firstly, check which browser you use, Chrome, Opera or Firefox are the most common. If you are doing this with Google Chrome, you can do it on your desktop and it will clear browsing history for all your devices. This has a similar effect on improving memory for your device and deletes browsing history. Don’t tell your teenagers.
Delete apps that no longer serve you or your device. It can be interesting to see how many apps you have on your phone. You can go straight to settings and filter the list of apps by ‘last used’, scroll to the bottom and start deleting. There are some that come with Android systems that you can’t delete, like Facebook and Wireless Emergency Alerts. However, you can also go into an app like Meta Services and clear cache and permissions. I didn’t lose any Whatsapp information or other Facebook apps’ data as threatened.
Sort your app permissions. This is a protective strategy. Google were recently fined $60m for accessing data from users when location settings are off yet the permissions of certain Google apps to collect location data was on. So you can fix this by going into app settings and click on permissions manager, you can go through each permission and see what apps are allowed to access this data. Start with location. You can ensure that apps need to ask you to allow access to location data or turn it off forever more. I would then go to microphone and image permissions and finish with Nearby devices, which is a relatively new Google feature that can turn on phone connectivity to easily share files but also might turn on mic automatically to collect or send data say, when you are in a store. It sounds a bit creepy. Turn it off if you feel protecting your privacy is important.
Reorganise your contacts list. When, when did you do it and how? The easiest way is through your browser on a desktop computer because if you are using Android your contacts are linked to Google. It is easy to merge contact details, Google will tell you exactly what records are crossing over. Doing a label overhaul makes sense too, they get old fast when you move house, jobs or start a family. You realise quick what was important at one stage of your life doesn’t make much sense to keep now. Be brutal.
Final quick tip. In phone settings you can check ‘Storage’ which has a sub description for ‘Battery and Device Care’. You can filter files by size and delete like no one is watching. It is liberating. You can also go to Whatsapp and check storage settings and delete any files larger than 5 MB that you no longer need.
Feeling better? The contacts list is the most arduous of this set but definitely worth spending some time on. It won’t keep you safe but it will give you a sense that you are in control of your contacts and will probably free some space on your Google account and make things easier to find. Clear phone, clear mind. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator type=”normal”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Faster Networks help businesses protect their digital assets. We are a cyber security partner that brings the best software solutions that anticipate and fix digital vulnerabilities. Our areas of expertise includes Vulnerability Management, Security Orchestration Automation and Response (SOAR), Application Security, Infrastructure Security, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Protection and Application Pentesting.