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.

March 2021

Change your Alexa wake word

If you have an Echo, or another Alexa device, it could be listening to your conversations if your wake word is something you use often. Amazon claims that only relevant conversations are stored, but if you want to limit the amount of conversations that fall in this category, you may need to be more cautious. Change your wake word to something that you rarely use so that your private conversations are not recorded. Remember, even words that sound close enough to your wake word can sometimes turn on the device. See our how to protect your smart home article for additional info.


Submit an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission

If you notice fraudulent activity on your bank account, notify the Federal Trade Commission immediately, then use the report to notify the police. A more comprehensive report will better equip the police to find the person responsible. To begin this process:

You will be asked a series of questions about your situation. Then, you will receive a recovery plan, which you can then put to action with a step-by-step plan provided by the FTC.


Dedicate one credit card to online purchases

One possible way to decrease the potential damage of an attacker gaining access to your credit card information, is to consider opening a credit card account for online use only. Maintain a minimum credit line on the account to limit the amount of charges a potential attacker can accumulate.


Don’t depend on old unsupported applications

When an application is no longer supported by its maker through updates for security and functionality, it’s risky to use since you might not even know what unpatched exploits it contains. Old versions of QuickTime, Windows (especially XP) and many other everyday programs are perfect examples and should be avoided in favor of newer ones. Programs such as our Ultimate internet security can update vulnerable applications automatically.


Enable two-step verification (2SV) on your Amazon account

2SV adds an extra layer of security to your accounts, which is imperative for accounts that contain your credit card information, like Amazon. If you set your Amazon account up with 2SV (two-step verification) a hacker will need more than just your username and password to use your account. A code will be sent to your trusted device, making it impossible to login without that device. To set up 2SV:

  • Navigate to Account
  • Click on “Login and Security”
  • Click on “2SV Settings”

Use Apple Pay through your iPhone

Apple Pay is a third-party digital wallet. Your credit card number is stored in this application, and you can use it to pay for your purchases with tokenization instead of giving your credit card number to an online store. This will ensure that no one has your credit card information but you.


Try not to use an admin account on an everyday basis

Admin accounts are powerful and extend certain permissions not available to other accounts on a device. The bad news is that if your device is lost, stolen or hacked, these administrator capabilities could be implemented to cause a lot of harm. Think about setting up a second account for daily use, one without admin privileges.


Shop online by navigating to websites through your browser

If you get an email with a link to a store, don’t click on the link to do your shopping. Open up a new tab and find the online store through your browser. This could protect you against phishing scams, which are attempts to gain personal information like your credit card number through reputable-sounding email addresses.