Fall back...into some good digital health habits

Emma McGowan 14 Nov 2023

Reinvent DST Habits: Use “fall back” and “spring forward” moments to not only check smoke detectors and flip mattresses but also strengthen your digital habits by securing passwords, maintaining software, and decluttering your digital files.

Fall is here, and along with cozy sweaters, family gatherings, and PSLs, comes the tradition of turning the clocks back as Daylight Saving Time (DST) ends. Although we’re not certain why this practice lives on in 2023, it lends itself as a good reminder to check our smoke detectors, flip our mattresses, and even update our digital lives. 

As you "fall back” this month (or “spring forward” in March) there are a number of healthy digital habits to adopt around DST that you may make into a twice-yearly routine.  

Better password practices  

“Fluffy123” is your go-to password—you've used it since you adopted Fluffy eight years ago. No one would ever suspect you’d use your dog’s name (read: sarcastically). And you did use numbers, so that makes it harder to hack, right? Wrong. And, even more worrisome, is that it’s stayed the same this whole time.  

While starting with a strong password is critical, one of the most important things you can do to keep your digital life secure is to regularly update your passwords. Passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized access to your accounts; changing them regularly can help protect your personal information. Using a password manager  can simplify this process, help generate strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts, and automatically update them as needed (i.e., when Daylight Savings Time begins and ends).   

Software and device upkeep  

It’s been a minute since you updated your tablet; 578,880 to be exact (that’s 402 days). And that antivirus software, you don't remember updating it...ever. This could leave your devices and software unprotected and at risk of digital damage.  

Software updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities and protect against malware and other threats. Furthermore, regularly updating your operating system, antivirus software, and other apps can help devices remain secure. Avast Antivirus offers automatic updates to ensure your system is always protected against the latest threats. Not only does it scan devices for security and performance issues, but it also protects you in real time by analyzing unknown files before they reach your device.  

A clean bill of financial health   

You found your dream house, congratulations! It’s time to check your credit score to see if you qualify for a loan. Why?! You find out someone has been using your personal information to open credit cards for years. It's not the best time for a setback like this, especially when you could have found out about it and been dealing with it much earlier.  

While protecting your digital devices is important, so is monitoring your financial wellbeing through your credit report and bank statements. Doing so regularly can help you catch any unauthorized activity or errors that could impact your financial health now or in the future. Some credit reporting agencies offer free annual credit reports, so it’s ideal to make it a habit to check yours once every six months. The perfect habit to start around Daylight Saving Time.   

Digital life declutter  

You’ve reached a clutter tipping point. You can’t find those comfy sweaters from last year. Toy bins no longer fit in closets. You haven’t seen your gutters since the last freeze. There might be something nesting in your dryer vent. While we’ve all heard of “spring cleaning,” “fall cleaning” is just as important. And we don’t just mean for your home.  

At the beginning and end of DST, take the time to declutter your digital life. Go through your digital files and get rid of anything you no longer need. Delete old emails, clear your browser history, and uninstall any apps or programs you no longer use. Not only will decluttering help improve the performance of your devices, it will make it easier to find the things you need.  

If you don’t even know where to start, we do. Avast Cleanup scans your device from top to bottom to remove leftover junk files from more than 200 apps, browsers, and more. This way, you’ll have more space to do what you love—and maybe take pictures of household clutter to sell on a digital marketplace. Just a suggestion.  

 Although we might not get much traditional use out of Daylight Saving Time anymore, it’s now a prime opportunity to update your digital life and develop good cyber habits. By regularly updating your passwords, software, and devices, checking your financial health, and decluttering your digital files, you can help protect yourself against threats and keep your personal information secure. Make these updates a twice-a-year routine, and you'll be well on your way to dominating a safer, more organized digital life.  

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