Every day, there are newer threat variants coming out, and the most recent ones appear to be related to Social Engineering attacks and what is known as “Zoombombing”.  This is a new techno jargon term which simply means an uninvited participant to enter into your Zoom meeting, and literally crash it.  In fact, it has gotten so bad that even the Department of Justice (DoJ) has declared this to be a felony, punishable by jail time.

But apart from maintaining a high level of “Cyber Hygiene” to keep our computers and confidential files safe, it is equally important to maintain a strong sense of physical hygiene as well, especially as it relates to your computer equipment.  This is the focal point of this article.

How To Clean Your Keyboard

First and foremost, unplug the keyboard from your computer.  But, if you are using a wireless keyboard or even a laptop, make sure that you shut everything off first, as any type of cleansing fluid can easily penetrate through, and affect the electronics that reside within.  Really, it is your keyboard that is probably the filthiest component of your computer system.  In fact, it has even been discovered that there are more bacteria on your computer keyboard than on your own toilet seat.

According to a recent study by the University of Arizona, there are 400X more bacteria on your computer keyboard than the proverbial “throne”.  (SOURCE:  1).  But the good news here is that cleaning your keyboard is by no means a laborious process, and it can be accomplished within just five minutes.  Here are the steps in how to do this:

  • Once everything has been turned off and disconnected, give your keyboard (or laptop) a good shake. Make sure that you do this a few times, in a quick, repetitive fashion.  This ensures that any loose debris (such as food crumbs, hair, etc.) comes out as much as possible.
  • Next, do the deep clean. There are three ways in which to do this:

*You can blow compressed air from a can,

*You can use adhesive tape,

*You can make use of a cleansing agent, such as Clorox wipes or even a diluted form of Lysol.  But make sure that the agent you use does not contain any bleach in it!!!  Make sure that you carefully follow the instructions as well.  Also, before applying any kind of wipe, ring it out first, as the excess fluid can quickly and easily seep into the keyboard.

*Once you have done the above step, let the keyboard air out for a couple of minutes, then make sure it is completely dry by wiping it down with a clean towel.

NOTE:  It is important to not disassemble your computer keyboard, as this could void the warranty with the vendor.

How To Clean Your Mouse

The same principles as outlined for cleaning your keyboard also apply to your mouse:

  • If your mouse is connected to your computer, first turn off the computer, and then unplug the mouse. The reason for this is that hard wired mouse is very often connected to the monitor (in the all-in-one computers), or even the CPU in the traditional computers.
  • If you have a wireless mouse, make sure that you first take out the battery from the mouse;
  • Shake it a few times to get rid of the loose debris,
  • You can then clean your mouse with a light damp cloth (water works good for this kind of cleaning), or you can use a cleansing agent as described previously. But be careful not to get any moisture into the openings of the mouse;
  • Wipe the mouse dry with a clean cloth (or even paper towel) to make sure that are no traces of fluid left.

How To Clean Your Monitor

To clean your computer monitor, follow these steps:

  • Turn the monitor off and unplug it. If you have a laptop, then you need to shut the entire thing down;
  • After you have done the above, don’t touch your monitor until it feels cool enough so that it can be touched with your hand;
  • Dust the screen off with a can of compressed air. It is important to physically touch your monitor as minimally as possible;
  • This step is the most important:

*Never apply any type of cleaning fluid directly onto your screen.

*Never use alcohol or ammonia-based cleaning fluid.

*Never use paper towels.

            Instead, you should make use of a specialized microfiber cloth lightly dampened with any of the following:

*Distilled water;

*50/50 distilled water with a slight dash of vinegar mixture.

  • Once you have done the above, let your monitor alone for a few more minutes, and wipe it dry with a very soft cloth, so it does not physically damage the screen.

 How To Clean Your Smartphone

The Smartphone has now become an extension of both our personal and professional lives.  Therefore, you need to be extremely careful in cleaning this, by following these steps:

  • Turn off your Smartphone and remove all of the accessories that are attached to it;
  • Remove any cases or covers that your Smartphone is encased in;
  • Create a mixture of distilled water and 70% Isopropyl Alcohol;

Never use the following agents to clean your Smartphone:

*Window or household cleaners

*Compressed air

*Aerosol spray cleaners

*Harsh Solvents (acetone, benzene, toulene)

*Bleach

*Ammonia

*Abrasive powders

            *Hydrogen peroxide

            (SOURCE:  2).

  • Place the above created solution into a squirt bottle;
  • Spray the solution onto a lint free microfiber cloth. Just make it slightly damp;
  • Wipe the phone down completely in the front and the back;
  • Make sure to get rid of any excess “gunk”, by using a wooden toothpick or a dry cotton swab;
  • Once you have removed the gunk, then clean those areas again with the solution you created;
  • Let your Smartphone air dry for a period of time.

Conclusions

Overall, this article has provided step by step by guides in how to keep your computer related accessories clean.  It is important that you do this on a regular basis, but even more so now with the advent of the COVID19.

Sources