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 with our security tips and resources..

March 2024

Password recycling – it’s a big no-no

Reusing passwords? It’s tempting, but like sharing your toothbrush, it’s a recipe for trouble. Let’s talk about keeping your accounts safe with unique and strong passwords for each site.

Imagine using the same key for all your doors. Scary, right? Hackers can use one stolen password to unlock all your accounts if you reuse them.

So, how to create unique passwords?

  • Get creative: Use a memorable phrase, turn it into an acronym, and add symbols and numbers. Think “My favorite food is pizza = Mff1pzza” (but don’t use this exact example).
  • Let the tech help: Use a password generator. These tools create strong, random passwords for you, like super-secure keys nobody can guess.

Every account deserves its own unique password. Don’t be lazy, protect yourself

Bonus security tip: Use a password manager to store your unique passwords securely. Think of it as a digital vault, keeping your keys safe and organized.

Strong, unique passwords are your first line of defense online. Don’t skimp on security By following these tips, you can create a safe and secure digital experience.


Out-of-office replies: keep it short, sweet, and secure

Heading out for a well-deserved break? Setting an out-of-office reply is a must. But wait, before you hit send, think security. Don’t turn your vacation into a target.

Imagine your reply as a postcard – friendly, informative, but not revealing too much. Here’s what to keep out:

  • Specific dates: Sharing your exact absence lets everyone know your home is empty. Phishers might lurk.
  • Location details: Bragging about your beach trip? Hold on, that tells everyone you’re not around. Keep it vague
  • Detailed return time: Announcing your exact return puts your home at risk, even for a few extra hours. Be general

So, what should you include?

  • A short acknowledgment of your absence: Let people know you’re away and when you’ll be checking emails again.
  • Offer alternative contact: Direct urgent inquiries to a colleague or provide a limited-access work email (if applicable).
  • Express appreciation: Thank them for their patience and understanding.

Remember: Out-of-office replies are meant to inform, not advertise your absence. Keep it professional, concise, and security-conscious.

Bonus safety tip: Consider different replies for different audiences. You might share more details with colleagues than external contacts. Be smart and adapt.

Enjoy your break. By keeping your out-of-office reply secure, you can relax knowing your home and digital life are safe. Happy travels.


Ransomware: how does it sneak in?

Ransomware, that digital bully holding your files hostage, can strike in different ways. Let’s explore its sneaky delivery methods:

1. Phishing Emails: Imagine getting an email that looks like it’s from your bank, friend, or even a famous company. It might urge you to click a link or open an attachment. Don’t fall for it. These emails are like traps, designed to infect your device with ransomware.

2. Drive-by Downloads: Ever visit a website and suddenly things feel…off? That might be a “drive-by download” happening in the background, installing ransomware without your knowledge. It’s like a sneaky thief slipping malware onto your device while you’re distracted.

Both methods rely on tricking you. Be cautious of suspicious emails and avoid clicking on unknown links or opening attachments from untrusted sources.

Bonus cybersecurity tip: Keep your software updated and use a reputable antivirus program. These tools are like bodyguards, helping to identify and block potential threats before they harm your device.

Stay informed and stay vigilant. By being aware of how ransomware spreads, you can keep your digital life safe and sound.


Public Wi-Fi: convenient, but creaky

Public Wi-Fi: free internet on the go, sounds tempting, right? But hold on, public Wi-Fi is known for its security gaps, so be cautious if you must use it.

Imagine public Wi-Fi as a free public restroom – convenient, but not exactly the most secure place. Hackers can lurk on these networks, waiting to snatch your data.

So, how to minimize the risk?

  • Look for password-protected networks: Think of a password as a lock on the door, keeping unwanted guests out.
  • Stick to secure sites: Use websites with “HTTPS” in the address. It’s like a secure tunnel protecting your data.
  • Consider a VPN: A Virtual Private Network is like a personal bodyguard for your online activity, encrypting your data and adding an extra layer of security.

Public Wi-Fi is fine for casual browsing but avoid sensitive activities like banking or online shopping.

Bonus cybersecurity tip: Don’t access your personal accounts on public Wi-Fi. Wait until you’re on a secure network at home or work.

Public Wi-Fi can be helpful but be smart about how you use it. Play it safe and keep your data protected.