If you downloaded iTunes anytime in the early 2000s, you might remember being confused when it came preloaded with the U2 album, Songs of Innocence. What was that all about?
We don’t know either, but now it’s common to see software and hardware come with a bunch of default files or programs loaded into them!
Fresh out of the box, your phone or computer probably had the provider’s preferred web browser; an application to Map your way around; somewhere to store your photos, send messages and even backup data! What do you do with all these default programs?
Delete What You Don’t Use
How many of these preloaded apps do you NEVER use? They’re just sitting on your device taking up space. Find a list of your installed applications, and take the time to sift through what you use and prefer, versus what you never touch or don’t even know what it does.
This will do much more than simply clearing up storage space, although that’s certainly a bonus — some spring cleaning can make your devices run faster and more efficiently, since they’re no longer weighed down by all that memory and storage. Meanwhile, you never know how many applications are also running processes in the background, which eats up CPU (the device’s central processing unit) and basically just outputs more energy than it has to.
Clearing up legacy apps is not just good for your devices’ health. It’s good for their security, too.
Dangers Hidden in Old Applications
Hackers LOVE exploiting known vulnerabilities in outdated apps. There are a bunch of holes and bugs in those old programs, especially if you never update them. Even though you don’t use them, hackers who know about vulnerabilities that have been patched in newer versions, can still exploit these legacy applications.
It’s not just about weak spots, either. There don’t have to be gaping holes in the cybersecurity posture, because the defenses themselves will be outdated. Advanced, modern hacking techniques can plow over the walls built by a program that hasn’t been available in the app store for over a decade.
Even though you practice good cyber hygiene in every other area, keeping old applications around could be the one way hackers manage to break in and steal your data or take over your device.
There’s really no benefit to keeping around legacy applications that you never use. They slow down your devices, eat up memory and storage, and present security risks that can be easily avoided by using newer versions of your favorite programs. This is a simple but effective way to help keep your devices secure on a daily basis!
None of this is to say that newer apps can’t or don’t get compromised, too. You still need to be aware of your company’s incident response plan, how to recognize suspicious activity, and new cyber-threats on the horizon to lookout for.