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Try our Digital Security Spring Clean

Try our Digital Security Spring Clean
So much of journalism today hinges on digital security, so take the time to tidy up your online presence this season.

Freelancers - it’s always a good idea to regularly review your digital security practices and Spring is a perfect time to check in with your accounts and devices to make sure everything is as secure as possible.  Maintaining good digital security practices is easy  with our Digital Security Guide. We review it regularly to ensure that it is always up-to-date and meets freelancers’ needs.   

Spring clean your social media accounts
Many journalists use social media to promote their work, contact sources, and to stay in touch with family and friends. This can mean that work and personal life are often mixed together giving people access to information that you may want to keep private. 

It is always good practice to look through your  accounts and remove people that no longer need access. Review your privacy settings to ensure that you know what information is public and what information others can see. If possible, create lists so that not everybody will be able to see information that you are posting, for example photos of your family. Delete old inbox messages that you no longer need or any messages that could put you at risk if your account is hacked. Remember to take screenshots of any messages that you may want to keep. Read our guide to social media to help you get started. 


Review what’s in your email
Email often holds a great deal of personal information and this can put journalists at risk if an email account is compromised. It’s important to know what information is in your account so you can take action if a breach occurs

Look through your account and make a note of what personal information is stored there. Delete emails that contain financial information, CVs, or copies of your passport. It is better to store these documents in a more secure location. Read our guide to securing your materials to help you. You should also delete any old emails that you no longer need or want, especially if these emails contain information that you would not want made public. Remember that if someone gains access to your email account then they will also have access to the cloud account linked to your email so you will need to know what information is stored in the cloud too. Follow our guide to email to help you be more secure.


Clean up your mobile phone
Your mobile phone contains a great deal of personal data about you so it is important that this information is as secure as possible. Freelancers normally use their phone for both work and personal reasons and also travel frequently which increases the risk of theft, loss, or having devices confiscated at borders.

It’s important to know what information is stored on your phone and where this information is stored. Copies of photos and documents are likely to be in the cloud account linked to the phone, on the device itself, as well as stored in messaging apps. Freelancers should back up this information regularly and delete content from all areas of the phone. If content is especially sensitive then you  may want to carry out a factory reset of your phone but remember to make a copy of the information first. Spring is also a good time to delete any apps from your phone that you no longer use and that are taking up valuable space. Read more about mobile phone security in our guide.


Delete any accounts you no longer use
Finally, it’s time to start thinking about all those accounts you no longer use and have probably forgotten exist. If you have have signed up to a newsletter, checked into a hotel online, created an account to buy goods or services, then you are likely to have created an account. This account holds personal information about you and this information can be compromised if the account is breached. Log into any accounts you no longer need, delete all your personal information and then make sure you delete the account. Sign up to Have I Been Pawned  or to Firefox Monitor both to check if your email address has been compromised and to get notified of any breeches in the future.

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