Total Defense

Security & Safety Resource Center

Learn about today's current internet threats and how to stay safe and secure.

Security Tip of the Day

Daily tips to create awareness of cyber threats and empower Total Defense users to be safer and more secure online.


December 2018
12.17.18

Use multiple personal email accounts

It’s a good idea to have a separate email account just for mailing lists. That way, you lower the risk of getting offers in your inbox that are actually attempts at phishing. Keep one account just for emailing trusted friends, family members and contacts, and another for everything else.

12.16.18

Limit AirDrop sharing on iOS and macOS devices

AirDrop is a convenient way to transfer files between iOS and/or macOS devices that are close to one another. It doesn’t even require an internet connection or any cables. However, it can also leave your devices open to spam. Limit sharing permissions to Contacts Only or Receiving Off to remove this risk.

12.15.18

Purchase privacy protection if you register a website domain

By default, purchases of new website domains publish your name and mailing address in a publicly searchable database. This can lead to unwanted spam. Fortunately, you can usually pay a small annual fee to keep your registration information private.

12.14.18

Heed browser and search engine warnings

Sometimes when you visit specific sites, you’ll see a warning from your web browser that the site isn’t safe or that its security certificate has expired. Google will sometimes include a textual warning on risky search results, too. These notices should be heeded. Stay away from potentially compromised sites to keep your data safe.

12.13.18

Limit the number of antivirus programs you install

Packages that incorporate both antivirus and anti-spyware capabilities together are now available like our Total Defense Premium product. If you decide to choose separate programs, you only need one antivirus program and one anti-spyware program. Installing more programs increases your risk for problems.

12.12.18

Disable external media AutoRun and AutoPlay features

Disabling AutoRun and AutoPlay features prevents external media infected with malicious code from automatically running on your computer.

12.11.18

Create multiple copies of your most important data

You don’t want a system crash to destroy all of your important documents and photos. Maintain redundant backups of your data across different media types. Use cloud-based backup as well as external HDDs or even DVDs and thumb drives.

12.10.18

Read software licensing agreements

When you buy software digitally, there’s always a license agreement that you have to accept to complete the purchase. You don’t really have a choice if you want to use the software, but it’s worth looking at key details; for example, search for the word “sold” to determine if the product is merely being licensed and not sold to you, meaning it could be taken away at any time.

12.09.18

Limit the amount of personal information you post on social sites

Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, such as your address or information about your schedule or routine. If your connections post information about you, make sure the combined information is not more than you would be comfortable with strangers knowing. Also be considerate when posting information, including photos, about your connections.

12.08.18

Stick with major web browsers

There are a lot of options for browsing the web. A good rule of thumb is to stick with major web browsers that are regularly updated with critical security patches and other features. Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Opera are all good options in this respect.

12.07.18

Enable two-step authentication on your Apple ID or Google Account

Chances are you use at least one device that runs either iOS or Android. To protect your data and identity, set up two-factor authentication so that every login attempt requires an additional credential on top of your username and password. This might be a text message code or an approval from another trusted device.

12.06.18

Take advantage of options to limit exposure of private information

Default options on certain websites may be chosen for convenience, not for security. For example, avoid allowing a website to remember your password. If your password is stored, your profile and any account information you have provided on that site is readily available if an attacker gains access to your computer. Also, evaluate your settings on websites used for social networking. The nature of those sites is to share information, but you can restrict access to limit who can see what.

12.05.18

Don’t throw or give away a hard drive without really erasing it

When you delete something on your computer hard drive, it’s not really gone, just inaccessible through the normal user interface. To really get rid of it, you’ll need specialized software that overwrites the deleted data multiple times. Alternatively, keeping your old drives in storage instead of throwing or giving them away will also lower your risk of identity theft.

12.04.18

Help prevent cyberbullying

Most kids don’t bully, and there’s no reason for anyone to put up with it. If your child sees cyberbullying happening to someone else, encourage him or her to try to stop it by telling the bully to stop and by not engaging or forwarding anything. Researchers say that bullying usually stops pretty quickly when peers intervene on behalf of the victim. One way to help stop bullying online is to report it to the site or network where you see it.

12.03.18

Include special characters in your password

Some websites and applications allow or even require special characters – like < and ! – in passwords. If you have the option to include them, do so, since their presence makes the password more difficult to guess than if it only contained alphanumerics.

12.02.18

Create unique accounts for each user per device

Set up individual accounts that allow only the access and permissions needed by each user. When you need to grant daily use accounts administrative permissions, do so only temporarily. This precaution reduces the impact of poor choices, such as clicking on phishing emails or visiting malicious websites.

12.01.18

Add an electronic signature to your emails

Not to be confused with the closing salutation at the end of an email, an electronic (or digital) signature proves that a message hasn’t been tampered with. It’s the digital equivalent of a wax seal on an envelope. Some email providers like Outlook have built-in signature capabilities, and there are also third-party tools like Chrome extensions that serve the same purpose.