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President Trump scraps planned talks with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Also on our Friday rundown: California lawmakers support and emergency hotline for foster kids; and boating is a booming business in states like Minnesota.

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While Spring Cleaning, Check Your Computer, Too

Cleaning out your computer helps protect you from cyber thieves. (fbi.gov)
Cleaning out your computer helps protect you from cyber thieves. (fbi.gov)
April 20, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – When was the last time you cleaned out your inbox or scrubbed the apps on your phone that you don't use? With spring cleaning on the minds of many, tech experts say home computers also need cleaning – that is, the email inbox and hard drive.

Taking care of this digital housekeeping will help protect you from scammers and hackers in addition to making your daily life easier, says Russell Schrader, the executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance.

"We're saying go through and get rid of apps that you haven't used," Schrader says. "Clean out your inbox. Look at who is using what part of your information. Open up some space on your hard drive. Just get rid of all those things that might cause problems later on."

Schrader says it's also a good time to review your privacy and security settings on websites and make sure you're comfortable with the information you're sharing. And don't forget your location services and Bluetooth settings on mobile phones, since many apps are able to track your location and activity.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology recently released new password recommendations. After years of experts suggesting obscure passwords filled with upper- and lower-case letters mixed with punctuation marks, Schrader says it's now considered better to use long phrases you can remember, even if they're lines from nursery rhymes or songs.

"What people do now is use passphrases," Schrader explains. "Things that are long. The longer the better, in terms of hacking; and they don't have to be as tricky, they just need to be long and memorable."

He adds it's also a good time to back up important data on a cloud or external hard drive.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL