• Bhavya Vishishta
  • December 2021

Digital Hygiene: What, Why, How

The "What?"

Let us start off with recollecting what hygiene itself means; the practices that keeps a target something- clean, strong and safe is called hygiene. Similarly, digital hygiene refers to the practice of cleaning up and regularly updating your electronic/information assets to ensure that your digital presence remains protected, strong and safe. Things that lead up to digital hygiene as a practice are:

  • Choosing your own passwords
  • Choosing a strong password
  • Organising files on your laptop/desktop
  • Adjusting settings in your e-mail and social media accounts

The "Why?"

Why do we wash our hands regularly? (especially in these testing times of COVID-19)

Why do we wash our vegetables before we store them?

Why do we cook our food before we consume it?

Why do we brush our teeth everyday?

To protect ourselves from germs and bacteria we may or may not be able to detect with our naked eyes.

Washing your computer system might not be the most smartest way to ensure its protection and therefore we must resort to digital hygiene to lay security and protection to data that might otherwise be vulnerable to phishing scams, malware attacks and other cybercrime that you may or may not be aware of.

Simply put, digital hygiene consists of several internet safety protocols that help in preventing cyberattacks that may occur in the absence of it all.

The "How?"

Of all the ways to practice digital hygiene, four of. WiSCP’s most recommended components are:

  • Passwords
  • Having a strong and a unique password in place helps safeguarding sensitive information from future hacks, possible leaks and cyberattacks. A strong password typically is a combination of characters(at least 8), letters and numbers.

    Try and avoid using the same password for more than one platform as this increases the probability of all your information being exposed to an attack.

    The National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) suggests user to NOT use password resets.

  • Protection from Malware
  • Malware, the software that is specifically intended to damage or access a computer network or a system without authorisation are one of the most common attacks faced in the absence of proper digital hygiene. A report put out by Verizon in 2020 states that 28% of data breaches involved Malware. In another report by CSO, it was estimated that 94% of malware is delivered via e-mail.

    Here are somethings you can follow in order to protect your systems from malware:

    • Having an antivirus software in place
    • Updating your existing software regularly
    • Implant pop-up blockers
    • Minimise the number of downloads
    • Implement high levels of browser security settings to help identify unauthorised downloads.

  • Keep your OS up-to-date
  • There are so many advantages in keeping your operating system up-to-date; enhanced capabilities, more efficient task management and more importantly help in preventing cyberattacks. As the scope and capacity of the attacks increase with increase in technology, it is important for us to keep our OS up-to-date too in order to always keep it’s scope and capacity in par with the possible attacks.

  • Organised Inboxes, Files and Folder Trees
  • This mostly means unsubscribing yourself and letting go of redundant emails like promotions, newsletters etc. Do not forget to have a regular look into your spam folder as well! We also do recommend you categorise your emails for future ease in finding and differentiating important emails.