<p> Spring is a time for renewal. What else would explain the need for people to weed through mountains of junk in garages and basements as soon as the weather gets warm?</p> <p> As you give your house an in-depth cleaning, however, don&#39;t neglect your computers and mobile devices. The gadgets that connect to the Internet need a security spring cleaning to keep them free from viruses and <a href="">other forms of malware</a>.</p> <p> Here are several things you can do to spruce up your digital security for the spring.</p>

Delete unused online accounts

<p> It&#39;s hard enough to keep active accounts secure, so just think about the security risks posed by <a href="">dormant online accounts</a> &mdash; MySpace, Friendster, Napster, AOL and so on &mdash; that sit untouched for long periods of time.</p> <p> Why is security for unused online accounts important?</p> <p> &quot;Whether you know it or not, cybercriminals can piece together important information about you from your online profiles. Don&#39;t give them an easy way to do this,&quot; said Dodi Glenn, director of AV Labs at ThreatTrack Security in Clearwater, Fla.</p> <p> [<a href="">Social &#39;Shadow Profiles&#39; Mirror Your Real-Life Existence</a>]</p>

Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date

<p> Many people don&#39;t realize it when their <a href="" target="_blank">anti-virus software</a> expires, Glenn said. You might not even be aware your computer is running unprotected.</p> <p> While you are checking your anti-virus solution, consider adding light, free anti-malware software, which may catch threats your anti-virus software might miss.</p> <p> [<a href="">Do You Really Need Anti-Virus Software?</a>]&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p>

Change your passwords

<p> Your security is often only as strong as your passwords. Not only should those passwords be difficult to crack, but they should be changed periodically.</p> <p> Know how you&#39;re supposed to change the batteries in your home smoke detectors every six months, when daylight saving time goes into and out of effect? Do the same thing for changing passwords.</p> <p> If you have trouble remembering new passwords, Craig Kensek, senior marketing manager for AhnLab in Santa Clara, Calif., recommends installing <a href="" target="_blank">password-management software</a>.</p> <p> [<a href="">How to Create and Remember Super-Secure Passwords</a>]</p>

Install firmware updates

<p> Look online for new <a href="">firmware updates</a> for your phones, tablets, printers, routers and network-attached storage devices.</p> <p> &quot;Firmware updates often include security and usability software fixes, so up-to-date firmware is always a good idea,&quot; said Lamar Bailey, director of security research and development at nCircle in San Francisco.</p> <p> &quot;Unfortunately, most device manufacturers don&#39;t send information on these updates out to users. That means consumers need to take the time to find the updates and download them.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Best Way to Avoid Virus Infection? Update Your Software</a>]</p>

Think beyond the PC

<p> The reality is that mobile malware is on the rise &mdash; especially malware targeting the Android mobile platform, Glenn said.</p> <p> Uninstall any apps you&#39;ve downloaded that aren&#39;t from the official <a href="">Google Play</a> or Apple store. Download a mobile security app and activate a remote lock-and-wipe feature.</p> <p> Perhaps most importantly, remember to never store personal information on your mobile phone.</p> <p> [<a href="">10 Tips to Keep Your Android Phone Safe</a>]</p>

Update your Wi-Fi security

<p> &quot;This is a good time to change your <a href="">Wi-Fi settings</a>, including updating your passwords, changing or hiding your service set identification (SSID) and making sure it has all updates installed,&quot; said Neal O&#39;Farrell, executive director with the Identity Theft Council in Walnut Creek, Calif.</p> <p> [<a href="">How to Secure Your Home Wireless Network</a>]</p>

Do a deep-clean of your computer

<p> If you have a Windows PC, consider downloading the free Microsoft <a href="" target="_blank">Windows Defender Offline</a> and burning it to a CD, DVD or flash drive. Make sure you get the right kind for your version of Windows and your system architecture.</p> <p> Insert the CD, DVD or flash drive and restart your PC. The computer will boot from Windows Defender Offline, not your computer&#39;s operating system, allowing you to go deep into your computer and find dangerous malware that might be hiding from the regular anti-virus software already installed.</p> <p> While you&#39;re at it, download free PC <a href="">rescue-disk software</a> from an anti-virus company such as AVG, BitDefender, Comodo, ESET, F-Secure, Kaspersky, Sophos or TrendMicro, and burn it to a CD or install it on a flash drive. Having the disk handy may save your bacon next time your Windows PC fails to boot.</p> <p> [<a href="" target="_blank">8 Security Basics the Experts Want You to Know</a>]</p>

7 Security Spring Cleaning Tips