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.


May 2020
05.25.20

Take precautions when sharing your Social Security number

Organizations such as insurance companies and banks may need your social security number in order to perform their services. However, this doesn’t mean you should give it out with no questions asked. Never share your Social Security number over email or text. If a trusted source is requesting it over the phone, ask them why they need it and what will happen if you don’t provide it.

05.24.20

Disable your browser’s AutoFill option

The AutoFill setting helps you log into online accounts faster by automatically entering your credentials like email/username and password. If someone gets ahold of your mobile device, this setting will allow them to have easy access to your email, bank account, social pages, etc. Increase your browser security by turning off this setting and manually entering your login credentials every time. 

05.23.20

Personal information is like money – Value it. Protect it.

Your devices make it easy to connect to the world around you, but they can also pack a lot of info about you and your friends and family, such as your contacts, photos, videos, location and health and financial data. Information about you, such as the games you like to play, what you search for online and where you shop and live, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites.

05.22.20

Consider turning off cookies in your browser

Cookies are tiny files that help websites keep you logged in and show you curated content such as ads. While they do make browsing the internet easier, they can also pose a cybersecurity risk, since they contain your private data and can be intercepted by hackers. If you want more security going from website to website, consider switching off cookies in your browser’s settings. 

05.21.20

Don’t allow your iPhone to automatically connect with trusted networks

The iPhone has a default setting that allows the device to automatically connect with known networks. Hackers can take advantage of this by setting up a fake network with the same name as a trusted source. If your iPhone connects to one of these malicious networks, the host will have access to your data. Avoid this risk by disabling automatic Wi-Fi connection in your phone’s settings.

05.20.20

Never leave devices unattended

It is important to remember that laptops, phones and tablets should never be left unattended. Ensure your devices are with you at all times. If you are staying in a hotel, the best thing to do is lock them in a safe. If a safe is not available, lock them in your luggage. And, while family fun is the goal, a recent study indicates that 92 percent of respondents admit to doing some work on dedicated leisure vacations. If you visit the hotel’s business center, avoid using public equipment – such as phones, computers and fax machines – for sensitive communication.

05.19.20

Use your smartphone’s data network instead of public Wi-Fi

Most public Wi-Fi networks aren’t encrypted. If you’re connecting to the free internet at an airport or coffee shop, hackers may snoop on your online activity and intercept your private information. Cellular networks, on the other hand, encrypt all of your data. So if you’re in public and need to connect to the internet, turn to your smartphone’s hotspot first.

05.18.20

Switch off automatic syncing to your iCloud

Sensitive files from your Apple devices may be uploaded to your iCloud account without your knowledge. If your account gets hacked, that data can get stolen even if you deleted it off your device. Have more control over which items you store in the cloud and which ones you keep local by switching off Apples’ automatic sync. 

05.17.20

Block access to Siri when your iPhone is locked

Did you know that Siri can respond to any request from any voice, even if your iPhone is locked? While this may offer slightly higher convenience, it’s also a cybersecurity risk. If you leave your phone unattended, someone could ask Siri for your private information. To avoid this, go to your settings and make sure “Allow access when locked” is set to “Siri: off.”

05.16.20

Enable Security Features to Protect and “Find My Phone”

Misplacing or having your devices stolen can put a damper on vacation plans. It can easily happen to anyone. Set up the “find my phone” feature on your devices. This will allow you to find, remotely wipe data and/or disable the device if it gets into the wrong hands. Make sure all devices are password protected. Use a passcode or security feature (like a finger swipe) to lock your phone or mobile device in case either are misplaced or stolen.

05.15.20

Set up two-step verification for your iCloud account

iCloud is an optimal solution for storing photos, email messages, contacts, etc. As you back up more important information into the cloud, having a robust security system for your account becomes essential. One way to make your account more secure is by enabling two-step verification. This involves entering a unique verification code, which gets sent to your registered mobile device every time you log in.

05.14.20

Turn off your iPhone’s lock screen notifications

Even if you have a super advanced password, sensitive information can still be revealed via lock screen notifications. You could get an email from your doctor with a confirmed appointment time or a text from your friend giving away their address. If someone untrustworthy is near your iPhone when notifications like these pop up, that information could end up in the wrong hands. Eliminate this risk by turning off lock screen notifications in your phone’s settings.

05.13.20

Purchasing online – do your homework

Fraudsters are fond of setting up fake e-commerce sites in times of crisis. Prior to making a purchase, read reviews to hear what others say about the merchant. In addition, look for a physical location and any customer service information. It’s also a good idea to call the merchant to confirm that they are legitimate.

05.12.20

Be smart on open public Wi-Fi networks

When you access a Wi-Fi network that is open to the public, your phone can be an easy target of cybercriminals. You should limit your use of public hotspots and instead use protected Wi-Fi from a network operator you trust or mobile wireless connection to reduce your risk of exposure, especially when accessing personal or sensitive information. Always be aware when clicking web links and be particularly cautious if you are asked to enter account or log-in information.

05.11.20

Wipe data on your old smartphone before you donate, resell, or recycle

Your smartphone contains personal data you want to keep private when you dispose your old phone. To protect your privacy, completely erase data off of your phone and reset the phone to its initial factory settings. Then, donate, resell, recycle, or otherwise properly dispose of your phone.

05.10.20

Set PINs and passwords on your mobile device

To prevent unauthorized access to your phone, set a password or Personal Identification Number (PIN) on your phone’s home screen as a first line of defense in case your phone is lost or stolen. When possible, use a different password for each of your important logins (email, banking, personal sites, etc.). You should configure your phone to automatically lock after five minutes or less when your phone is idle, as well as use the SIM password capability available on most smartphones.

05.09.20

Don’t click the “unsubscribe” link in spam emails

If you open an email that appears to be a scam, never download or click anything inside the message, including the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom. Hackers may try to trick you into thinking you’re opting out of receiving more emails by unsubscribing. In reality, clicking on the link could end up infecting your computer with malware or opening backdoors into your system.

05.08.20

Switch from Yahoo Mail to Gmail

Gmail has more advanced security features than Yahoo Mail. Plus, Google is known to respond more quickly to cyberattacks. So if you want more peace of mind while sending and receiving emails, make Gmail your go-to service. 

05.07.20

Backup and secure your mobile data

You should backup all of the data stored on your phone – such as your contacts, documents, and photos. These files can be stored on your computer, on a removal storage card, or in the cloud. This will allow you to conveniently restore the information to your phone should it be lost, stolen, or otherwise erased.

05.06.20

Only install apps from trusted sources

Before downloading an app, conduct research to ensure the app is legitimate. Checking the legitimacy of an app may include such thing as: checking reviews, confirming the legitimacy of the app store, and comparing the app sponsor’s official website with the app store link to confirm consistency. Many apps from untrusted sources contain malware that once installed can steal information, install viruses, and cause harm to your phone’s contents. There are also apps that warn you if any security risks exist on your phone.

05.05.20

Don’t use your work email for personal reasons

Remember, when a hacker gets access to one device, they can potentially infect all the other devices on that network. So, if you accidentally click on a bad link in an email during work, you could be putting your entire company at risk. To reduce the likelihood of hackers breaching your company’s network, never use work email to send personal messages or subscribe to mailing lists.

05.04.20

Download advanced spam filtering software for your email account

Popular services like Gmail and Yahoo Mail already have spam filters built into them. However, they can’t protect your inbox from every single piece of spam that comes through. Clicking links and downloading attachments from these messages can infect your computer with malware. For an added level of security, consider using an advanced spam filtering software.

05.03.20

Do not modify your smartphone’s security settings

Do not alter security settings for convenience. Tampering with your phone’s factory settings, jailbreaking, or rooting your phone undermines the built-in security features offered by your wireless service and smartphone, while making it more susceptible to an attack.

05.02.20

Never share your Medicare number with anyone except your doctor

When you receive your Medicare card in the mail, put it in a secure place where no one will find it. And if someone contacts you by phone or email asking for your Medicare number, don’t give it to them. Cybercriminals who pose as health care professionals can use this information to steal your identity.

05.01.20

Pay attention to security breaches in the news

Let’s say you have an account with an online store that becomes the victim of a cyberattack. Find out the details of that specific attack, then take necessary security steps to protect your information, such as changing login credentials or cancelling credit cards associated with your account.