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 2020
03.27.20

Disable the UPnP setting on your router

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) allows devices on your network, such as computers and printers, to locate and connect with one another. While this feature is convenient, it also serves as a gateway for hackers. You can disable UPnP anytime by going to the corresponding settings on your router.    

03.26.20

Beware of social engineering attacks

After a hurricane or other natural disaster gets a lot of media attention, scammers will pose as charities via emails and phone calls, claiming that they’re collecting donations to aid the victims. This is an example of social engineering. Protect yourself from this kind of fraud by researching the source and confirming their legitimacy before sending them any money.

03.25.20

Delete sensitive files the right way

If you need to delete a PDF with your banking information on it, don’t just drag-and-drop it into the trash folder on your desktop. This won’t entirely delete the file, which means it can still be accessed by hackers. Instead, use a dedicated erasure app to eliminate any chance of the file being recovered.

03.24.20

Invest in a quality antivirus solution

There are many free antivirus solutions out there that promise to block malware attacks, but the truth is that many of these products come with limitations. Users of free antivirus programs commonly experience unreliable customer support, buggy updates and unauthorized sharing of data. So, when it comes to cybersecurity, do your future self a favor by paying for an advanced system.

03.23.20

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is the illegal acquisition and use of someone else’s personal information to obtain money or credit. Signs of identity theft include bills for products or services you did not purchase, suspicious charges on your credit cards, or new accounts opened in your name that you did not authorize.

03.22.20

When it comes to password protection, listen to the experts

Cybersecurity professionals recommend creating passwords that are at least 20 characters long, with a unique mix of letters, numbers and symbols. They also say you should never use the same password twice and update them every 90 days.

03.21.20

Set up automatic checking for your firewall

With most firewalls, you can run a quick scan or test, using a few commands or a specialized app, to ensure that it’s still working. Consider doing this from time to time for peace of mind.

03.20.20

Consider your online payment options

Using a credit card is much better than using a debit card; there are more consumer protections for credit cards if something goes awry. Or, you can use a third-party payment service instead of your credit card. There are many services you can use to pay for purchases – like Google Pay –without giving the merchant your credit card information directly.

03.19.20

Update your browser plug-ins

Cybercriminals often target outdated plug-ins like Flash and Java since they’re easier to infect with malware. Keep hackers out by making sure you’re always running the latest version of those plug-ins, or, even better, don’t use them at all. Many sites now use HTML instead anyway.

03.18.20

Don’t store sensitive data in the Notes app

Do you keep credit card numbers or log-in credentials in the Notes app on your iPhone? If so, you’re at risk of having your identity stolen by someone else who has access to your phone. Use iCloud Keychain instead.

03.17.20

Enable full disk encryption on your device

Further protect your data and storage from cybercriminals by using full disk encryption (FDE). This feature encodes your data into a form that cannot be understood by anyone without the encryption key. Many mobile devices enable this by default, but others (like Macs and PCs) may require a specific set of steps.

03.16.20

Enable filters on your email programs

Most internet service providers (ISPs) and email providers offer spam filters; however, depending on the level you set, you may end up blocking emails you want. It’s a good idea to occasionally check your junk folder to ensure the filters are working properly.

03.14.20

Take advantage of blocking certain websites from your network

Let’s say you share a network with your employees or family members. If one person visits a risky website and infects their computer with malware, all other devices on the network will be at risk. To avoid this, use content/parental controls either at the browser level (easiest) or from within your router/gateway settings.

03.13.20

What is a debt collector scam?

A Debt Collection scams occur when criminals attempt to collect on a fraudulent debt. Signs the “debt collector” may be a scammer are requests to be paid by wire transfers or credit cards. Recently there has been a spike in requests for gift cards and re-loadable cards as well.

03.12.20

Keep tabs on your bank and credit card statements

Be sure to continuously check your accounts for any unauthorized activity. Good record keeping goes hand-in-hand with managing your cybersecurity. Another tip for monitoring activity is to set up alerts so that if your credit card is used, you will receive an email or text message with the transaction details.

03.11.20

Lock down your login

Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passphrases are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media.

03.10.20

Report a stolen smartphone

The major wireless service providers, in coordination with the FCC, have established a stolen phone database. If your phone is stolen, you should report the theft to your local law enforcement authorities and then register the stolen phone with your wireless provider. This will provide notice to all the major wireless service providers that the phone has been stolen and will allow for remote “bricking” of the phone so that it cannot be activated on any wireless network without your permission.

03.09.20

Read the terms and conditions before connecting to public Wi-Fi

People rarely read the fine print when signing up for something, but they should, especially when requesting access to a public network. By clicking “Accept,” you could be giving them permission to use your data. Do a quick scan of the terms and conditions on the splash page to locate any red flags before connecting.

03.08.20

Disable your USB drive’s “auto-run” feature

As soon as you plug a flash drive into your computer, the system immediately starts opening and reading its contents. But what if the drive contains a virus? If you think this might be the case, hold the “Shift” key as you plug it in. This will stop the computer from automatically opening its files.

03.07.20

Accept updates and patches to your smartphone’s software

You should keep your phone’s operating system software up to date by enabling automatic updates or accepting updates when prompted from your service provider, operating system provider, device manufacturer, or application provider. By keeping your operating system current, you reduce the risk of exposure to cyber threats.

03.06.20

Secure your wireless network

Properly secure the wireless network you use to connect Internet-enabled devices. Consider placing these devices on a separate and dedicated network. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense is to stay on top of things by updating to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. If you have the option to enable automatic updates to defend against the latest risks, turn it on.

03.05.20

Use caution when plugging flash drives into your computer

Duqu, Flame and Stuxnet are specific types of malware that have spread via USB flash drives. Keep your computer safe by avoiding any unknown or strange drives. Rather than borrowing one from a friend or coworker, take the safer approach by purchasing a new drive from a trusted brand.   

03.04.20

Deny requests to bypass your firewall

If you get a message from someone asking to circumvent your firewall, ignore it, even if the sender claims to work for your security provider. It could be a hacker trying to gain access to your network. If you’re unsure of the source’s authenticity, contact the company directly.

03.03.20

Guard your mobile devices

To prevent theft and unauthorized access or loss of sensitive information, never leave your equipment—including any USB or external storage devices—unattended in a public place. Keep your devices secured in taxis, at airports, on airplanes, and in your hotel room. The more we travel, the more we are at risk for cyberattacks.

03.02.20

When using public Wi-Fi, don’t download any sensitive assets

The programs and applications you download, as well as your internet history, can be monitored by the operator of a public network. To protect your privacy, set limitations on your activity while using public Wi-Fi in coffee shops, airports, etc. 

03.01.20

Keep your firewall turned on at all times

A firewall is a grouping of filters that protects your computer from harmful traffic from the internet. Disabling your firewall can allow malware to infect any devices connected to the network. Do not disable the firewall from either your operating system or your router/gateway.