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.


November 2020
11.28.20

Use Microsoft Family Safety to help protect your children

Microsoft’s Family Groups allow you to connect multiple devices in a single group to set limits on screen time, apply filters and locate devices. Log into your Microsoft account. Then select the Family tab and follow the prompts on the screen.

11.27.20

Change your device name in Android

It’s possible that you set your Android device’s identifier to your own name when you first activated the phone. If that’s the case, it’s an unnecessarily easy-to-access piece of personal information that you share whenever you connect your smartphone wirelessly to a network or another device. Access the “About phone” page in Settings. Click “Phone name,” and update the entry.

11.26.20

Clear stored passwords from your mobile device’s clip tray

Even if it’s not the most recent piece of text you copied, a password might still be hiding unencrypted in your keyboard clip tray. To make sure you don’t accidentally text it to a friend, clear out your stored items periodically. Open your keyboard and access the clip tray to delete accumulated entries.

11.25.20

Do your research for safe online job hunting

Looking for a new job can be a daunting process, and frequently involves the exchange of personal information with complete strangers–which is why job seekers are an enticing target for cyber criminals. Conduct a web search of the hiring company using the company name only. Results that return multiple websites for the same company (e.g. abccompany.com and abccompanyllc.com) may indicate fraudulent job listings. Check for spoofed websites. Scammers will often spoof legitimate websites with the exception of small discrepancies in order to deceive victims. If the hiring company is well known and has a website, contact the company to confirm the legitimacy of the job listing. It is likely the legit company has received other calls and can confirm a scam listing.

11.24.20

Hide the bookmarks bar on Chrome before sharing your browser

Keep your browser looking tidy and prevent the exposure of personal information when you share your screen with Chrome. Remove your bookmark bar temporarily by right-clicking it, then unselect “Show bookmarks bar.” To bring it back up, simply select the vertical ellipsis menu in the upper right corner, hover over “Bookmarks” and then select, “Show bookmarks bar.” 

11.23.20

Lookout for scams aimed at older adults

For older adults being online lets them stay abreast of current events, connect with friends and family, shop, manage finances, play games, and anything else you can think of. But just as you fasten your seat belt before driving, take precautions before using the Internet to be sure you are safe and secure. The FTC has found that older adults are more likely than younger consumers to report losing money on tech support scams, prize, sweepstakes & lottery scams, and family & friend impersonation. To learn more about these scams so you can educate yourself and those you love, visit: www.ftc.gov/passiton.

11.22.20

Enter virtual card numbers if digital wallets aren’t accepted

When you enter a card number online, it could be intercepted by a man-in-the-middle attack or exposed in a data breach. Digital wallets are more secure, but if you must enter a card number to complete an online transaction, virtual card numbers can help protect your main account. These temporary numbers can be set to close after a time limit or granted access to a maximum dollar amount. Some third-party companies offer this service while financial organizations like Capital One and Citibank also provide the feature.

11.21.20

Keep your Microsoft account password fresh

Protecting your most valuable accounts with frequent password updates can help reduce the risk of unauthorized access. Log into your Microsoft account online. From the Security page, select the “Change password” option. Once you do, check the box that says, “Make me change my password every 72 days.”

11.20.20

Avoid potential hiring scams

Fake Job or Hiring Scams occur when criminal actors deceive victims into believing they have a job or a potential job. Criminals leverage their position as “employers” to persuade victims to provide them with personally identifiable information (PII) or to send them money. As you look for a new job, be extra vigilant so your application materials and personal information don’t end up in the wrong hands.

11.19.20

Limit open tabs by using the Collections feature in Microsoft Edge

If you have to share your screen with an open web browser, you’ll want to clean up your tabs in order to create a better impression for your viewers while lowering the amount of personal information you share. Migrate your open tabs to the Collections feature on Microsoft Edge, a convenient spot for quickly and temporarily storing open pages and notes.

11.18.20

Use the Android “Smart cleaning” app for better performance and enhanced security

This built-in Android application can help you clear out old and unused apps as well as turn off those that are running in the background, including potential malware. Open the app and then press the “Optimize phone” button to stop currently operating apps and clear unnecessary data.

11.17.20

Transfer the Google Authenticator app to a new Android device

Nobody holds onto the same smartphone forever. If you use Google Authenticator and you need to transfer permissions to a new device, open your app on the old phone. Select the vertical ellipsis menu in the upper right corner, and then click “Transfer accounts.” Tap “Export accounts.” The app will generate a QR Code that you can scan with the authenticator app from your new phone.

11.16.20

People aren’t always who they say they are online

People of all ages need to be wary of strangers and those appearing to be your friends or loved ones online. It is too easy for criminals to hide their true identity and appear trustworthy. If someone asks to be your friend on a social media platform, only accept their request if you know them. If someone online asks you for money or sensitive information, pick up the phone and call a trusted number. Don’t send money or sensitive financial or personal information to anyone you have never met.

11.15.20

Verify that your version of Chrome is up to date

Ensuring that your web browser is up to date is an important step toward guarding against the latest security threats online. To check if you’re using the latest version of Chrome, select the vertical ellipsis in the upper right corner of your browser. Either you’ll see an option that reads “Update Google Chrome,” or you’re already using the most recent version.

11.14.20

Turn on two-factor authentication for your Microsoft account

Enabling multifactor authentication is a powerful way to help secure your digital identity, and your Microsoft account could grant unauthorized users access to a lot of personal data if they manage to compromise your password. To turn on two-factor authentication, log in to your Microsoft account online. Select the Security tab, then “More security options.” Find the “Two-step verification” section, then follow the guided steps.

11.13.20

Be vigilant about basic digital hygiene

Keep the software on all Internet-connected devices up to date. All critical software, including computer and mobile operating systems, security software and other frequently used programs and apps, should be running the most current versions. Turn on automatic updates in the security settings. Install and keep security software (think of antivirus, antimalware & firewalls) current on all devices that are internet-connected.

11.12.20

Disable push notifications on Windows when sharing your full screen

When you have to share your screen for a videoconference meeting, you should limit visibility to only the applications you need to display. If you must share your whole desktop or an entire monitor, turn off notifications so you don’t inadvertently share personal information during the call. From the “System” menu for Settings, select “Notifications & actions.” You can alter notification preferences for all apps or specific programs.

11.11.20

Set a timeout screen lock for Windows laptops

Ensure that your device automatically locks, restricting access to the data, if it’s left unattended for a certain amount of time. Select “Settings” from the Windows menu. Then, click “Systems.” From there, tap “Power & sleep.” Adjust your sleep settings to a suitable time frame. Make sure your screen is set to lock by checking the “Sign-in options” settings page.

11.10.20

Back up your valuable data

Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely. If you have a copy of your data and your device falls victim to ransomware, you will be able to restore the data from a backup. Use the 3-2-1 rule as a guide to backing up your data. The rule is: keep at least three (3) copies of your data; and store two (2) backup copies on different storage media; with one (1) of them located offsite.

11.09.20

If something looks suspicious, delete it

Links in email, social media posts, texts, and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal your personal information. Even if you know the source, when in doubt, throw it out. Definitely don’t click on a link from a stranger. Employ an email scanning software that scans your email for suspicious emails.

11.08.20

Restrict Zoom attendance to authenticated accounts only

By now, you’re probably aware of the risks of Zoom bombing, especially for large-scale meetings. Even password-protected sessions can get hijacked by users posting the login credentials to online forums. Professional account holders can restrict meeting access to users who have been authenticated with the organization’s single-sign-on feature.

11.07.20

Use the Firefox Lockwise Android app for seamless security

Firefox’s built-in password manager, Lockwise, is useful for managing and using passwords in your browser, but it can be a bit cumbersome for websites accessed through a mobile email client or on a different device. For streamlined, automatically synced access to your passwords, download the dedicated Lockwise app and connect it to your Firefox account.

11.06.20

Stay two-steps ahead

Turn on two-step authentication – also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication – on accounts where available. Two-factor authentication can use anything from a text message to your phone to a token to a biometric like your fingerprint to provide enhanced account security.

11.05.20

Never pay to play in online job search

Never send money to someone you meet online, especially by wire transfer, prepaid cards, or money transfer apps. If you receive any paper checks with instructions to purchase items or transfer money, contact the financial institution on the check to ensure the availability of funds. Never provide credit card information to an employer. Never provide bank account information to employers without verifying their identity.

11.04.20

Adjust app permissions on Android to halt suspicious activity

Some apps can drain your battery quickly by running constantly in the background, while others might surreptitiously gather information. From the Settings menu, tap the “General” tab, then select “Apps & notifications.” Press the “App permissions” button and update the settings as needed.

11.03.20

Use suggested passwords in Chrome

Secure tools like those built into Chrome and other web browsers can help you keep track of your login credentials without having to memorize passwords or write them down. Chrome can also suggest secure passwords. The next time you have to create a password, if you’re logged into your Google account in Chrome, click into the appropriate field. “Use suggested password” should appear automatically as a drop-down option. Select the string of pseudo-random alphanumeric and special characters. The password will be entered and saved to your account.

11.02.20

Online job hunting – pause before supplying sensitive info

Legitimate companies will ask for personally identifiable information (PII), such as social security number and bank account information for payroll purposes, AFTER hiring employees. Also, before entering PII online, make sure the website is secure by looking at the address bar. The address should begin with “https://”, not “http://”.

11.01.20

Update your profile visibility selections for LinkedIn

As a professional networking site, LinkedIn serves as a reminder of how important it is to balance security and convenience. Typically, users want to be discoverable so they can easily expand their networks and connect to new job opportunities. Being too accessible, however, means providing personal information that could be exploited by malicious users. Once you’re signed in, select “Settings & Privacy,” and carefully scrutinize what pieces of information should be available to whom.