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.


August 2018
08.18.18

Beware of publicly accessible computers.

Hotel business centers, libraries, and cyber cafes provide computers that anyone can use. However, travelers cannot trust that these computers are secure. They may not be running the latest operating systems or have updated anti-virus software. Cyber criminals may have infected these machines with malicious viruses or install malicious software.

08.17.18

Don’t plug untrusted USB peripherals into your device

One of the side stories of a 2018 international summit in Singapore was the provision of USB-powered fans to members of the media. Such peripherals can be dangerous. They might carry malware that can hijack connected devices. Never plug in a peripheral that you don’t trust or that comes from an unknown vendor.

08.16.18

Configure a child lock on your smart TV

Smart TVs have built-in internet connectivity that allows you to stream video and purchase content like movies, TV shows and songs. Like an Echo, this functionality can be unknowingly misused by kids. Establishing a child lock – basically just a PIN that needs to be entered to unlock the device or make any purchases – provides peace of mind.

08.15.18

Turn off voice purchases on your Amazon Echo

Smart home devices have begun to take off with the popularity of the Amazon Echo in particular. One of the defining features of the Echo is the ability to order specific items from Amazon Prime with just a voice command. However, you might want to turn off it to make sure your child doesn’t erroneously order anything.

08.14.18

What are cookies?

When you browse the Internet, information about your computer may be collected and stored. This information might be general information about your computer (such as IP address, the domain you used to connect (e.g., .edu, .com, .net), and the type of browser you used). It might also be more specific information about your browsing habits (such as the last time you visited a particular web site or your personal preferences for viewing that site).

08.12.18

Beware the tech support pop-up message scam

Individuals receive an on-screen pop-up message claiming a virus has been found on their computer. In order to receive assistance, the message requests the victim call a phone number associated with the fraudulent tech support company. Individuals who receive a pop-up or locked screen, should shut down the device immediately. Ignore any pop-ups instructing to not power off or restart the computer. Do not give unknown, unverified persons remote access to devices or accounts. Ensure all computer anti-virus, security, and malware protection is up to date.

08.12.18

Use Bluetooth in “hidden” mode on your mobile device

When you do have Bluetooth enabled, make sure it is “hidden,” not “discoverable.” The hidden mode prevents other Bluetooth devices from recognizing your device. This does not prevent you from using your Bluetooth devices together. You can “pair” devices so that they can find each other even if they are in hidden mode. Although the devices (for example, a mobile phone and a headset) will need to be in discoverable mode to initially locate each other, once they are “paired” they will always recognize each other without needing to rediscover the connection.

08.11.18

On this day in history – Blaster Worm attacks Windows computers

August 11, 2003: Blaster Worm (also known as Lovsan, Lovesan or MSBlast) is a computer worm that spread on computers running operating systems Windows XP and Windows 2000, during August 2003. The worm was first noticed and started spreading on August 11, 2003. The rate that it spread increased until the number of infections peaked on August 13, 2003. Once a network (such as a company or university) was infected, it spread quicker within the network because firewalls typically did not prevent internal machines from using a certain port. Filtering by ISPs and widespread publicity about the worm curbed the spread of Blaster.

08.10.18

Don’t click on links within pop-up windows

Because pop-up windows are often a product of spyware, clicking on the window may install spyware software on your computer. To close the pop-up window, click on the “X” icon in the titlebar instead of a “close” link within the window.

08.09.18

Prevent your emails from being forwarded and copied

You might occasionally send sensitive emails containing words and/or attachments intended only for a specific person. To prevent these items from being copied or forwarded, you can take advantage of features in Gmail and Outlook that encrypt your messages and ensure they are of no use to anyone other than original intended recipient.

08.08.18

Implement time restrictions for children when they’re using internet-connected apps

If you want to make sure your child doesn’t spend all day in front of a screen watching YouTube videos, you have the ability to limit their access. There are both hardware and software options that restrict the total time he or she can be online in addition to filtering specified content, freeing you from the need to actively police internet use.

08.07.18

Always use WPA2 encryption for your wireless networks

It’s never a good idea to leave your Wi-Fi network open, since it can then be accessed by anyone in range. Make sure a password is required and that the network is encrypted by WPA2 – not by either the original WPA or WEP, both of which are outdated and have known exploits.

08.06.18

Report cyberbullying to the appropriate authorities

If you or your children are being harassed or threatened, report the activity. Many schools have instituted bullying programs, so school officials may have established policies for dealing with activity that involves students. If necessary, contact your local law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies have different policies, but your local police department or FBI branch are good starting points. Unfortunately, there is a distinction between free speech and punishable offenses, but the law enforcement officials and the prosecutors should decide the legal implications.

08.05.18

Segment your home network

Not all internet-connected devices carry the same level of cybersecurity risk; Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints are often more exposed than PCs or smartphones. You can minimize your overall risk by isolating IoT traffic onto its own network segment. Check if your router allows you to set up the VLANs necessary for segmentation.

08.04.18

Don’t spam other people

Be a responsible and considerate user. Some people consider email forwards a type of spam, so be selective with the messages you redistribute. Don’t forward every message to everyone in your address book, and if recipients ask that you not forward messages to them, respect their requests.

08.03.18

Set up email filters for maximum control and protection

Today’s automatic filters are pretty good at keeping spam out of your inbox. However, they don’t catch everything, meaning the occasional oddball message will still slip through. Good news: You can protect your account with advanced filters configured for specific addresses and domains. Gmail, Yahoo and other major mail providers all include these features.

08.02.18

Carefully review before you post on social networks

The Internet is a public resource – post only information you are comfortable with anyone seeing. This includes information and photos in your profile and in blogs and other forums. Also, once you post information online, you can’t retract it. Even if you remove the information from a site, saved or cached versions may still exist on other people’s machines. So please review it before posting.

08.01.18

Regularly delete emails in your spam folder

Depending on the time of year, spam messages account for between 50 and 60 percent of all email traffic. In addition to containing potentially dangerous content, at that volume they can also easily eat up your entire inbox capacity. Instead of waiting the normal 30 days for automatic deletion, consider manually mass-deleting them each day to ensure you have sufficient space.