Your New Year bucket list must be full of targets to do away with that stubborn fat, reading books, and managing your finances well. Cybersecurity experts call for one small addition to the bucket – declutter your digital devices. Uncleared digital clutter could pose security challenges, cybersecurity experts caution.

We download many apps every day and hardly use most of them. We create a lot of digital data, including photos, videos, and documents, daily using our phones and other digital devices. We don’t care much about monitoring the data storage limits and keep piling up digital data. We realise only when the storage limit reaches its limits, and the system sends messages warning about the storage getting exhausted.

“For example, users typically install 12 Android apps every month but delete only 10 so they add two apps to their device every month that are generally left unused and idle. This means that the digital junk sits on the devices or in the cloud forever. These all amount to what we call digital clutter,” Jaydeep Singh, General Manager for South Asia at Kaspersky, said.

“Poor user maintenance of device content also generates a build-up of digital clutter. Kaspersky data shows that in 55 per cent of cases, people regularly revise the contents of their device and delete unused docs and apps. In 32% of cases, people sort their digital clutter occasionally and in 13 per cent of cases, users do not try to delete any docs and apps at all,” he said. 

“We are creating digital documents and files at an unprecedented rate in an increasingly digital world. This digital clutter is indeed a security risk for businesses and employees should be educated on how to best manage their digital assets,” he said.

He suggested people use solutions such as Hard Disk Cleaner and Health Monitor to remove duplicate and large files from their PCs and declutter unused apps from their Android phones.

These solutions can alert you if your hard drive is about to crash so you can back up your photos, files, and data. These solutions will help optimise the device’s performance and help it run faster by deleting invalid Windows Registry entries, cleaning your folders, and emptying recycle bins.

The solutions can also help turn off data-hungry apps and stop some apps from opening as you switch your PC on, prompting you to install app and software updates so your device gets the latest security.

Avoiding data leaks

Data leaks through cyber attacks are a major challenge. One can minimise the losses by giving minimal information to non-critical services (primarily online stores and commercial digital services).

“You should not specify your last name or social media accounts, and skip optional fields. You should start using disposable e-mail addresses and phone numbers as your contact information,” he said.

“Numerous services provide temporary phone numbers for receiving confirmation texts, as well as one-time email addresses,” he said.