A Defensive Computing Checklist    by Michael Horowitz
NOTE: I gave a presentation on Defensive Computing at the HOPE conference in July 2022
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  FULL CHANGE LOG

CHANGES MADE TO THIS WEBSITE

AUGUST 2022

Aug 13: Updated the Encrypted Messaging topic and moved it to a stand-alone page. In the Extra Credit section, added the Kasperksy Online Privacy Checker.
Aug 12: Multiple updates to the Android page. Started Android 13 section. Updates to settings for Android 12. Added Session to the Encrypted Messages section. Added a new product comparison of multiple secure messaging programs.
Aug 11: Chromebooks can do Function keys. Who knew? Updated Facebook Messenger to say e2e is coming. Maybe.
Aug 10: On the Domain Names page, added a link to Cloudflare's blog about their experience with a scam domain name.
Aug 9: The topic of multiple email addresses was moved to its own page and the intro was improved. In the Android topic, added a suggestion to disable some certificates. Added a link to my HOPE conference talk on Defensive Computing.
Aug 8: In the Printer topic, added a warning about Epson inkets and about label printers too. And, the price of printer ink per gallon.
Aug 6: Added a new stand-alone Site index page. Moved Amazon topic to its own page.
Aug 5: Added AARP Fraud Watch to the Report Bad Stuff section
Aug 4: Updated the Amazon Fire tablet section
Aug 3: The Google Android topic is now on its own page. New section on Amazon Fire tablets. New topic on Cellphone companies and how to avoid their spying on you.
Aug 1: Updated the Instagram topic and the Multiple Email Addresses topic. Added instructions in the Windows topic on how to manually clear out the printer queue. The iOS topic is now on its own page.

JULY 2022

July 31: New web page with the basic Rules of the Road. Moved what was a gray box off the home page to this new page. New page index added to stand-alone pages. In the iOS 13 section added another way to silence callers not in the address book. In the Phone Scam section added an important warning that the need to block unwanted calls changes over time. On the Rules of the Road page, added that non techies should use a Chromebook. More real life scam domains, in the Domain Names topic, this time they are abusing IPFS.
July 30: Added Efani as a possible defense against SIM swaps
July 29: Updated the Windows section. In the Phone Scam section, added a link to a great article: 18 tips on how not to get scammed when your phone rings. UI tweaks at the top of the home page. New About page with About This Site info that used to be ajaxed into the home page.
July 28: Added a new Windows topic. Added another article about cars spying on us. Still, no defenses offered.
July 26: I broke up the Encryption topic into a topic just on encryption and a new topic on secure messaging. Updated both topics.
July 25: Added an article about locking an iPhone to the iOS section. New intro at the top of the home page. New article "How to Safely Lend Someone Else Your Phone" linked to in both the iOS and Android topics.
July 24: In the Amazon section, more gripes from an author about fake copies of their book for sale. Also, added an article of how to find the fake reviews on Amazon.
July 21: Added an FYI article in the ChromeOS topic
July 19: Added a One-Off about opting out of T-Mobile spying. Updated the TikTok section.
July 15: In the Google section added an article about forcing safe search all the tie
July 14: Added an article about having Amazon spy a bit less on us to Amazon topic. In the One Offs section, added an article about hacking Honda cars.
July 8: Added a new QNAP security advisory, removed some old ones.
July 2: Added links to be removed from Google in the Google topic.

JUNE 2022

June 30: Added a new section on Double VPNs to the VPN page
June 26: Update the VPN page with more on location leaks
June 24: Many small updates to many topics
June 22: Added Kiwi Browser to the Android topic. Added two articles to the macOS topic: disabling IPv6 and checking for malware. In the iOS topic added more about locking apps with a password.
June 20: Added a new Death section in the iOS section.
June 11: Updated the Linux hardware section in the Desktop OS topic.

MAY 2022

May 31: New topic on Crypto
May 30: On the VPN page, updated the user experience with ProtonVPN on iOS
May 27: Added user experience with OVPN on Android and iOS to the VPN page
May 17: Yet another new topic - Gift Cards. Updated VPN page with another VPN app user experience. In the Android topic, added news of another upcoming privacy focused version of the OS.
May 15: New links in Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and VPN sections. New TikTok section.
May 13: On the VPN page, updated the section on the OVPN client
May 12: Added globalprivacycontrol.org in the Web Browser topic
May 9: Updated the Gmail topic
May 8: Small updates to the Zoom and Gmail topics
May 6: in the macOS section, added a terminal command that does an Internet speed test. In the iOS section added a link to a video: 13 Things You Should Be Doing To Protect Your iPhone
May 5: Minor updates to the Windscribe VPN on Windows section in the VPN page. In the iOS section added how to create private password protected photos.
May 3: In the Android topic added a warning not to use the multiple users feature.

APRIL 2022

April 17: Updated the intro to the Domain Names Rules page. Added Instagram article.
April 12: Updated macOS topic with more on bug fixes for older versions of the OS
April 9: Multiple small updates
April 6: More user experiences on the VPN page
April 1: In the Android topic, added some more v12 settings to change.

MARCH 2022

March 30: Added IRS IP PIN to the Identity Theft section
March 28: Started a new section on the VPN page for user experience
March 25: Added the issue of a fixed public IP address when using a VPN on the VPN page
March 23: Added F-Droid as a source for Android apps. Updated how to disable Google Location History.
March 17: Added auto-reconnect as a VPN feature to consider on the VPN page
March 15: Expanded Threema info in the Encryption topic. Its the best secure messaging app.
March 10: Expanded the TLDR section at the top
March 9: Another Amazon behaving badly article, from the Washington Post, added to the Amazon topic
March 8: In the Amazon section, linked to an article from NBC news claiming Amazon uses forced Chinese laborers
March 6: Added a common Zelle scam to the Cash Apps topic. Added more safe apps to the Android topic.
March 5: In the Encryption topic, added an article about Telegram
March 3: In the Amazon section, added a new sub-section on Amazon spying on their customers.

FEBRUARY 2022

Feb 28: Added an article about Android stalkerware to the Stalkerware topic
Feb 25: Added another reason to use Google for search rather than DuckDuckGo
Feb 20: Updated Instagram topic. Added article on deleting Facebook content. Added instructions for downloading your data from Twitter. Minor updates to Android topic.
Feb 15: Added another link in the Stalkerware topic
Feb 10: Updated the Fake Jobs section and the VPN page
Feb 9: Updated the VPN page criteria for choosing a VPN provider
Feb 8: Added a new article about the Cash App
Feb 4: Added new criteria for VPN shopping - WireGuard access from a router
Feb 3: The ownership of two more VPN providers gets mushy
Feb 2: Added a couple more links in the SIM Swap topic
Feb 1: Minor updates to the VPN topic/page

JANUARY 2022

Jan 24: Added another test on the VPN page for testing browser location information
Jan 23: ON the VPN page, added a new Ultimate test for data leaking outside the VPN tunnel
Jan 21: On the VPN page updated the last topic in the Is Your VPN Working section
Jan 19: In ChromeOS topic, added doc from Google about the most serious Chromebook problems
Jan 16: In the iOS topic added instructions for changing the text size, both system-wide and for only one app
Jan 15: In the Android topic, more safe (non-spying) app recommendations. Also, a podcast about taking Google out of Android.
Jan 13: Added an article on macOS anti-virus
Jan 11: Updated information on the PinePhone. Expanded the topic on Reporting Bad Stuff.
Jan 10: QNAP finally recommends not opening up their NAS boxes to the world. In the macOS topic added articles about encrypting files and securely wiping hard drives.
Jan 9: Updated the iOS 15.2 section
Jan 8: In the One Offs topic added a warning to opt out of Verizon spying on your cellphone
Jan 7: Added a new article to the WhatsApp section
Jan 6: Expanded and renamed the section on Reporting Bad Stuff.
Jan 5: Added an Amazon defense to the Alexa topic and to the Amazon topic
Jan 4: Added another defense against Amazon, this time on their data collection
Jan 2: Added warning about malicious emails sent by Uber

DECEMBER 2021

Dec 30: Added another real life domain name scam, this one involving Harvard University
Dec 26: Added a warning that Android will scan Wi-Fi networks when Wi-Fi is off, even after you tell it not to do so. Added an article about Apple Recovery Contacts to both the iOS and macOS sections.
Dec 22: Added another system wide tracker blocker for Android
Dec 21: Multiple updates to the VPN page
Dec 19: Added screen shots of Android 12 scanning for Wi-Fi even when Wi-Fi is off
Dec 14: In the Gmail section, added a link to the page for reporting malicious messages from a Gmail user
Dec 9: Added UPS shipping advice to the One Offs topic
Dec 7: Added another QNAP advisory
Dec 6: In the Email section, added that webmail users need a local backup of their contacts.

NOVEMBER 2021

Nov 28: Added another email header analyzer in the Email topic. Updated the intro on the VPN page.
Nov 24: In the Email topic, added Fastmail Masked Email addresses as a way to create multiple email addresses. Expanded the section on Bait and Switch Amazon reviews.
Nov 21: Added a bullet item on ReplyTo in the Email topic
Nov 20: Expanded Cash Apps topic
Nov 19: On the VPN page, expanded the Location topic
Nov 17: Added a real life domain name scam that fooled Cory Doctorow
Nov 15: Updated macOS topic to note the poor patching of old versions
Nov 14: Added iOS 15.2 to the iOS topic
Nov 11: Added "If you read nothing else here" box at the top of the page
Nov 10: Updated the printers topic
Nov 9: Added another example of a domain name scam.
Nov 8: Expanded the section on Who Owns the VPN Company on the VPN page.
Nov 6: In the Android topic, added some configuration suggestions for the Chrome browser.

OCTOBER 2021

Oct 31: Many changes to the ChromeOS (Chromebook) topic
Oct 30: Added another article about fake job scams
Oct 28: Expanded and re-wrote the Fake Voices topic. In the Microsoft Office topic added an article documenting the 60 different servers that Office phones home to.
Oct 26: On the VPN page, added an article about ISPs in the US spying on their customers
Oct 24: Started a new Android 12 section in the Android topic. New suggestions for printers that won't feed paper.
Oct 23: In the iOS section, linked to an article about defending against top tier NSO spyware. In the Encryption topic added an article on how to use Signal in the most secure manner possible.
Oct 21: Added a warning about VPNs and Location blocking to the VPN page
Oct 20: Update Printers and VPN
Oct 19: In the Printers section added about hidden dots printed by color lasers
Oct 18: On the VPN page, fixed a typo in the domain name of the Microsoft IPv6 tester site. Also added a new FYI section about location hiding.
Oct 17: Minor updates to the Domain Name Rules page. New Printers topic. Added another way to test if a VPN is working. Added another article about the sleeze at Amazon to the Amazon topic. Moved the VPN topic to a new page.
Oct 15: Moved the Domain Name Rules topic to a separate web page
Oct 14: In the iOS topic, linked to an article that reports on a study showing iOS spies on you just as much as Android does
Oct 13: In the Facebook topic, added 2 articles on quitting Facebook
Oct 12: In the iOS 15 section, added a note that an iPhone no longer completely shuts off
Oct 11: A few updates to the macOS topic
Oct 10: In the Email section, added a link to a service that parses the header to show the source of the message. In the iOS section linked to an article explaining how Apple can read iMessage messages.
Oct 9: Added a link to an article that says iOS apps spy on us just as much as Android apps do
Oct 8: Updated the Domain Name topic to include a Washington Post article on scam domain names. Added an article on iOS spying via iCloud to the iOS and Stalkerware topics.
Oct 6: Added article "How to tell real products from scams when shopping online" to the Reading List and Amazon sections
Oct 5: In the Encryption section linked to an article pointing out problems with the Signal app. Added another IPv6 tester website for use with VPNs. Some additions to the Google section.
Oct 4: Added a warning about scanning an AirTag
Oct 3: Added a link to an Android app that can detect AirTags (in the iOS topic). Added a new article on stalkerware.

SEPTEMBER 2021

Sept 29: Updated the Facebook section. Lots of changes.
Sept 28: In the Facebook section, linked to a podcast about Quitting Facebook
Sept 26: In the iOS section, linked to Extreme privacy settings from Michael Bazzell. I also tested the Blokada ad/tracker blocker on iOS and it failed miserably. Expanded the Venmo topic.
Sept 25: In the iOS section, consolidated all Safari tweaks
Sept 24: In the iOS section, added a website that shows all the ads/trackers that some iOS phone home to. New topic on laptop batteries.
Sept 23: In the iOS section added a great article that called out the scam Apple is running about apps not tracking you. Also updated the iOS system wide ad/tracker blocking section.
Sept 22: In the Extra Credit section, added that Framework laptops can totally block mic and webcam. In the Amazon topic, added a good story about fake reviews.
Sept 21: More on Who Owns that VPN and VPNs blocking LAN side access
Sept 17: Added a warning about fragile screens on M1 macbooks in the macOS topic
Sept 15: In the VPN topic, updated the section on choosing a VPN company
Sept 12: Added more links for GrapheneOS to the Android topic
Sept 10: Added a link to the SOS Messages feature on Samsung Galaxy phones to the Android topic. Also added iPhone emergency SOS links in the iOS section.
Sept 8: Added a link in the iOS topic about wiping out an iOS device before getting rid of it
Sept 5: Added Custom DNS to the feature list for choosing a VPN provider and added Mullvad to the list of VPN providers offering ad blocking. Added another real life example to the Domain Names topic.
Sept 4: Yet again, millions of Bluetooth devices are buggy and won't get fixed. In the Bluetooth section
Sept 3: Added an FYI link at the end of the TV Watches You topic
Sept 2: Added WaPo article on blocking Facebook spying in the Facebook section
Sept 1: Updated the Power Outage section. Added a macOS security article from Apple to the macOS section.

AUGUST 2021

Aug 30: Added a safe Flashlight app to the Android topic.
Aug 28: Minor updates to the NAS topic. Added two new places to report scam email messages in the Email topic. In the SIM SWAP section, added another T-Mobile defense.
Aug 27: In the macOS topic, added a suggestion for software to monitor the health of the SSD. In the iOS topic added instructions for disabling Apple Advertising.
Aug 26: After 5 hacks in 3 years added a One Off suggestion that maybe the smart thing is to avoid T-Mobile
Aug 23: In the VPN section, added a warning that all data does not flow through the VPN immediately after it connects
Aug 22: Yet again, I updated the section on testing if a VPN is working - expanded the DNS topic. Also, added a new criteria for choosing a VPN - their website. And added two criteria by which a VPN should not be judged.
Aug 21: A number of updates to the VPN topic, especially testing that a VPN is working. Added another competing site, Personal Security Checklist, in the Competition section.
Aug 15: Updated the browser fingerprinting section with some info on the new test from the EFF
Aug 14: Added that anti-virus software is needed on macOS with a link to a story on the latest malware. Added article detecting hidden cameras in an Airbnb. In the Public WiFi section, expanded the section on Forgetting a previously used SSID.
Aug 12: Added an article to the macOS section on using Little Snitch to block Apple from spying on you
Aug 10: In the NAS section, added links to security advice from Synology
Aug 8: Added more links to the Stalkerware topic
Aug 7: Added yet another domain name scam, unicode/punycode to the Understanding Domains topic. In the Public WiFi section, added suggestion to Forget networks. In the iOS section added Wi-Fi defenses.
Aug 2: Updated both the iOS and Android topics to note that occasional reboots can remove some types of malware.

JULY 2021

July 27: Updated the AirDrop section in the Mobile Scanning and Sharing topic
July 3: Added suggestion in the NAS topic to avoid products from Western Digital. In the Extra Credit section linked to an article about wiping an IoT device before getting rid of it.

JUNE 2021

June 30: Minor updates to the topic on multiple email addresses and having a second phone number. Added link to identifying Amazon scams in the Amazon section.
June 27: Expanded the Privacy section of the Amazon topic
June 23: In the Phone Number Hiding section, added an article with an overview of six providers of secondary phone numbers
June 20: Added a bit more about Graphene OS in the Android topic
June 19: In the AirTags section, added a note that the speaker can be removed
June 13: In the Email section, many changes to the topic of having multiple email addresses. Added a new iOS 15 section in the iOS section. In the iOS section added instructions on blurring your home in Apple Maps
June 6: Added AirTag stalking defense in the iOS section
June 4: In the Android section, added a note about multiple users, including a Guest user, sharing one device
June 2: In the Facebook section, linked to an article about configuring it for increased privacy
June 1: In the Amazon topic, added instructions to disable Sidewalk from the Alexa mobile app

MAY 2021

May 31: In the Mobile OS Spying section, added a link to a Tweet thread explaining how phones also spy on people near us
May 30: In the Google section, added how to password protect the My Activity page
May 26: Updated section on creating hundreds of email addresses
May 22: Minor updates to the Phone Calls and Filing a Complaint sections. Expanded Fake Job Scams into its own section.
May 21: Added a new section on filing complaints and reporting fraud
May 19: In the iOS section, updated both the iOS 14 and iOS 14.5 sub-topics
May 18: Added a couple visual domain name tricks to the Domain rules topic. In the Cash Apps section, added a few articles about poor Venmo security.
May 17: In the TV Watches You section, linked to an article: Smart TV Makers Will Soon Make More Money Off Your Viewing Habits Than The TV Itself and linked to the Vizio Privacy policy and their instructions to stop spying.
May 13: In the macOS section, added a link to article: How to Securely Dispose of Your Old Mac
May 6: Added info on AirTags to both iOS and the Stalkerware sections
May 5: Minor updates to the Password section
May 4: Updated advice on when to install iOS updates. Added an article on macOS privacy settings.
May 2: Added linkunshorten.com to the list of Link Expanders

APRIL 2021

April 27: In the iOS topic, added the new Tracking feature that was introduced in version 14.5
April 26: For a private search engine, I now prefer Startpage over DuckDuckGo
April 25: In the ChromeOS topic, added an FYI about the new Diagnostics app
April 23: In the macOS section, added two links about battery life
April 18: Added tip for Safari on iOS to show destination URL rather than preview image
April 14: Added warning not to buy the Lenovo Thinkpad C13 Chromebook
April 11: New section on tech support scams
April 9: In the Competition topic, added a link to a one-hour podcast episode on Defensive Computing. A great show, worth a listen
April 8: In the Encryption topic, added an article from ProtonMail that compares many end-to-end messaging apps. In the Competition topic, added a video about Six things that can be faked.
April 5: In the iOS section, added suggestion to disable tracking in the Privacy settings
April 3: Changed twofactorauth.org to 2fa.directory
April 2: Added new article to the Mobile OS Spying topic - both iOS and Android were found to phone home even when told not to. Apple goes so far as to report the MAC addresses of other devices on the LAN, when using Wi-Fi. In the Car topic added another article about cars spying on us.

MARCH 2021

March 31: In the Competition section, linked to a miserable security and privacy guide by the New York Times. In the Amazon section, added a link to the Security and Privacy page by Amazon
March 29: In the Twitter section added an article about the Block Party app that filters out mean and nasty tweets
March 28: Updated the ChromeOS topic with usability tweaks and dictation
March 27: Added the suggestion to power a device off and back on as a way to remove malware to the iOS and Stalkerware sections.
March 22: In the Extra Credit section added a link to an article with instructions for disabling the marketing of your info by cellphone companies.
March 21: Updated with the latest on PinePhone availability. Added article on filing US Taxes for free in 2021.
March 19: Added an article on Twitter defense to the Twitter topic
March 18: New section on cars spying on the people in them. Two articles were already here, one new one added.
March 16: In the Texts topic, added a warning about a new attack that lets bad guys get your text messages
March 11: In the Android topic, added a suggested privacy friendly note taking app. Expanded the Stalkerware topic, including the addition of MySudo. In the Amazon topic, subtopic on Privacy, added a link to a podcast about staying anonymous on Amazon.
March 10: Added a new One Off for opting out of T-Mobile targeted advertising
March 9: Updated the Chrome OS section again. Added a display of Recent Site Updates at the top of the page/site. In the Gmail section, added an article about moving over to ProtonMail. New topic in the Android section: Control the usage of 4G/LTE data on Android 11. The Android topic was too big, so it no longer displays by default. You have to click a button to view it. In the Apple Mac section, added a suggestion to use Malwarebytes for Mac.
March 8: Updated the Chrome OS section again. Added the Civilsphere Emergency VPN to the One Off topic. New topic on Stalkerware.
March 7: Made a new Gmail section
March 5: Updated the Chrome OS section
March 4: Added another scam to the Domain name rules section, using a backslash instead of a slash
March 3: Many changes to the Encrypted DNS section
March 1: Added a Politico story that Amazon's internal data security is poor to the Amazon topic.

FEBRUARY 2021

Feb 28: In the Android topic, added a new company selling Android phones with all the Google removed.
Feb 27: Added two articles with warnings about bad stuff going on with Amazon Alexa
Feb 19: Added a One Off article about TikTok spying even without having an account. In Extra Credit section added links to JustGetMyData.com and JustDeleteMe.xyz. Added another competitor. No more short list of popular topics at the top. Now always see all topics.
Feb 14: added that iOS 14 sort-of kind-of does system wide Encrypted DNS.
Feb 4: Added Guest mode to the Chrome OS topic.

JANUARY 2021

Jan 27: In the VPN section, added ProtonVPN to the list of companies offering ad/tracker blocking
Jan 26: Added more Facebook configurations
Jan 20: Updated the verified website identity topic
Jan 16: In the Domain Name topic, added example of a Microsoft sub-domain being stolen.
Jan 7: Added another reason not to use the Chrome web browser.
Jan 4: Added two articles about privacy and security in the iOS topic.
Jan 2: New article in the Reading List section about how cars spy on the people using them.

DECEMBER 2020

Dec 30: Added another article about fake reviews on Amazon.com
Dec 21: Updated PinePhone info
Dec 17: In the Web Browser section, added tips for Safari on macOS to auto-delete history
Dec 13: Added Line2 to the phone number hiding topic
Dec 10: Added Vyke to the phone number hiding topic
Dec 8: Updated the Alexa app section to include the disabling of Amazon Sidewalk
Dec 7: Updated out-of-box experience for Chrome OS
Dec 6: Started a new section on Cash Apps (Venmo, Zelle, etc)
Dec 5: In the web browser section, added suggestion to turn off website Notifications.
Dec 1: Updated the iOS 14 and iOS 13 sub-sections in the iOS topic.

NOVEMBER 2020

Nov 21: Added a warning about the magnets on the iPhone 12 and a warning about a VPN bug in iOS 13 and 14.
Nov 11: Updated the iOS topic with two new articles about assorted Defensive Computing features introduced in iOS 14
Nov 9: Updated both the Chromebook and Amazon topics with a warning about fake Chromebook product descriptions. Added more Alexa defenses by configuring the Alexa app Settings.
Nov 6: Updated the topic of enabling Secure DNS in the Chrome browser.

OCTOBER 2020

Oct 29: Now that there are 3 articles on Slack, I created a new Slack topic.
Oct 26: Android topic updates: disable Autofill by Google and prevent the phone from listening to you
Oct 25: Added the infamous Twitter hack of July 2020 as an example of a flaw in Two Factor Authorizations. In the Amazon section, added a warning about dangerous products in the Amazon Basics line. In the TV watches you section, added some Netflix defense. Expanded the Privacy sub-section in the Amazon section.
Oct 20: Added a scam version of Consumer Reports as a real life example of scam domain names
Oct 16: in the iOS section added an article about the new privacy report in Safari in iOS 14.
Oct 15: Added Securityplanner from Consumer Reports as competition to this site. Finally added VeraCrypt to the Encryption topic (a huge oversight on my part).
Oct 1: Added info on password protecting photos on iOS using the Notes app.

SEPTEMBER 2020

Sept 24: Added two macOS programs that warn when software is using the camera or microphone
Sept 23: At very bottom of the page, added link to a Blacklight privacy inspection of this site.
Sept 20: Yet another Bluetooth flaw added to the Bluetooth topic. Added brief summary of new defensive features in iOS 14. Added article on how to blur your house on Google Maps.
Sept 16: Updated the Encryption topic. WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram bad. Threema good.
Sept 13: Update to Nearby Share subject
Sept 12: New topic/section on Bluetooth
Sept 7: Added how to disable microphone in Windows 10 and macOS in Extra Credit section.
Sept 1: Minor updates to the Competition section. Added proof of this site not using cookies at very end of the page.

AUGUST 2020

Aug 31: Added an excellent article about USB data blockers to the Extra Credit section
Aug 27: More examples of pre-installed malware on Android phones
Aug 25: Added the 400 Achilles Heel bugs disclosed by Checkpoint in the Android topic
Aug 22: Added an article about Phone Scams and more real world scam domain examples
Aug 16: For Android, linked to article: 9 Apps to Boost Your Phone's Security and Privacy
Aug 13: Added an article about Facebook and Dark patterns to the Facebook topic. Also added an article about Android and MAC addresses to the Mobile Spying section. Updated the Google AirDrop topic.
Aug 11: Added two articles to macOS topic: How to Protect Your Mac From Ransomware and How to Open Apps from Unidentified Developers
Aug 7: In the location tracking section, added links to defensive suggestions from the NSA
Aug 5: Removed the Zoom topic

JULY 2020

July 8: Updated the firewall topic for Apple macOS
July 6: Added suggestion to enable the macOS firewall which is still off by default
July 5: Added KnockKnock to the macOS topic
July 4: Minor additions

JUNE 2020

June 30: Updated Google Nearby sharing
June 29: Updated the Encrypted DNS topic with the status on iOS and macOS.
June 19: In the macOS topic, updated the item on good vs. bad Macbook keyboards.
June 18: It seems that iOS now always includes location information in pictures taken by the camera. Updated the iOS topic.
June 5: Added articles about backing up iOS and Android devices. Other minor changes

MAY 2020

May 23: Linked to an article about upcoming changes to the Chrome browser for Encrypted DNS
May 18: Updated section on having multiple email addresses
May 11: Added three new email forwarding services to the Email topic
May 5: Added my observations of Zoom on Windows

APRIL 2020

April 26: Added two recommended software apps for macOS
April 19: Added two items to Amazon, about Privacy and collecting your data from the company
April 13: Added warning about buying batteries from Amazon. More updates to Zoom. Added two ChromeOS articles about Parental Controls.
April 6: Lots of updates to the Zoom topic
April 2: Minor updates to the Encrypted DNS topic. Updates to the Zoom topic.
April 1: Added a new topic on Zoom

MARCH 2020

Mar 19: Added screen shot of Firefox blocking a fingerprinting attempt
Mar 17: Two new Reading List stories about photos revealing your location. Updated iOS and Android topics on blocking camera access to location data.
Mar 14: More bad news about AirBnB
Mar 13: Updated the domain name topic with a new domain name formatting scam
Mar 12: Updated web browser fingerprinting to add new defenses from Firefox and Brave and a new tester website.
Mar 11: Added another web browser article
Mar 7: Amazon is selling hand sanitizers that do not fight the coronavirus with no warning.
Mar 5: Using macOS without an Apple ID added to the Mac OS topic. Added not trusting Microsoft domains to the domains topic along with some more examples.
Mar 3: Added sample of using NextDNS for encrypted DNS with Chrome browser on Windows. Added the average daily page views for Feb. 2020.
Mar 2: Expanded the Encrypted DNS topic

FEBRUARY 2020

Feb 29: Added a new topic on Encrypted DNS
Feb 28: Added two new things to be aware of to the iOS topic
Feb 27: Added a home security camera link to the One Offs topic
Feb 25: Updated the iOS section on system wide ad and tracker blockers
Feb 24: Lots of updates to the Android topic, in the section on system-wide ad blocking
Feb 22: Added Ting for secondary phone numbers. Added Wickr recommendation in Encryption topic.
Feb 21: Private Whatsapp groups are not very private. Also added how to get a phone number for a week for $2.50.
Feb 20: No more line breaks when showing the full topic list at the top of the page. New topic on hiding your phone number
Feb 19: Added two articles about Ring doorbells from the EFF. New article about Twitter and phone numbers added to Twitter topic.
Feb 17: Updated the Android sections of the Location Tracking topic. Added a really interesting tidbit to both the VPN and Android topics. The Private DNS feature in Android 9/10 along with NextDNS can offer ad and tracker blocking alongside any VPN.
Feb 15: Added a Secure Email bullet to the Email topic. Complete re-write of the topic on multiple email addresses and moved it from Extra Credit to the Email topic. Added an IPv6 connectivity test for just after connecting to a VPN to the VPN topic.
Feb 14: Added NextDNS.io for system wide ad and tracker blocking on Android.
Feb 12: Added another AirBnB expose. Added Little Snitch for macOS and an article about removing malware from macOS.
Feb 11: Added Blokada Tunnel to the VPN topic, its a VPN that blocks ads on Android. Also added Blokada as an Android ad-blocker.
Feb 10: Added Technitium MAC Address Changer to Networking topic and a warning about MAC address to the Public WiFi topic. Added Lumen Privacy Monitor to the Android topic. It spies on the spies in apps. Added a OneOff on increasing security of ProtonMail. Added two ad/tracker blocking apps, Guardian and Lockdown, to the iOS topic.
Feb 9: Added how to password protect individual apps to the iOS topic. Added the Operational Security website to the Reading List
Feb 8: Added Parental Controls and the Lockdown apps firewall to the iOS topic. Added to both the VPN and iOS topics that iOS has an open TCP port that can not be closed.
Feb 6: Is an Android device up to date on available bugs fixes? Gripes about this added to the Android topic. Also, the opting out of ad personalization in Android is a scam. Added Exodus to the Android and VPN topics, it reports on trackers in apps.
Feb 5: Added that many VPNs can be paid for anonymously. Also, blocking your location from Twitter may require a VPN.
Feb 4: Add Consumer Reports suggestions for locking down Ring doorbell security
Feb 3: Minor updates
Feb 2: Minor updates to the VPN and Public Wi-Fi topics. New topic for Airbnb scams.
Feb 1: Minor updates to the Facebook topic. Added emergency medical info to iOS and Android topics.

JANUARY 2020

Jan 31: Huge update to the Public Wi-Fi topic. Almost a total re-write.
Jan 28: Punched up the Facebook topic
Jan 26: In Android topic, added how to watch bandwidth by apps. Also added config options for Gboard the Android Google keyboard. And, created a new WhatsApp topic. Added new Extra Credit warning about files sent to you that you did not ask for.
Jan 24: Updated the new VPN topic. Added a warning about Samsung spying/tracking to the Android topic.
Jan 23: Added warning that many Android apps share the same name. Added iOS warning to avoid Safari. New topic: VPNs.
Jan 22: Added another defense when using Public Wi-Fi. Also added another competitor to this site: GetSafeOnline. It stinks.
Jan 21: Added a ProPublica article about free tax filing to the Tax Filing topic
Jan 18: Added unshort.link as another link expander
Jan 16: Multiple changes to the SIM swap topic
Jan 14: Added warning in the Extra Credit section not to take Defensive Computing advice from the MSM
Jan 13: Added an upcoming Android feature, Google's version of AirDrop
Jan 12: Added TextNow as a defense to the SIM Swap topic. Other updates also to the same topic.
Jan 9: Added yet another story of pre-installed spyware on cheap Android phones. Expanded Phone Call topic and renamed it to Phone Scams.
Jan 8: Updated Android topic with still more pre-installed spyware
Jan 5: Multiple small changes to multiple topics
Jan 4: Added a One Off for Venmo. Added first stalkerware link.
Jan 3: Added Verizon Wireless privacy settings to the One Offs topic
Jan 2: More on the Jumbo Privacy Assistant for iOS and Android. Expanded topic of free tax filing in the US.

DECEMBER 2019

Dec 31: Broke out macOS to its own topic and expanded it. Added WSJ story about selling garbage on Amazon - literally, garbage.
Dec 28: Added Extra Credit item - turn off Bluetooth on devices left in a car
Dec 27: Added another new topic - Ring Doorbells
Dec 24: Added link to the trackingthetrackers.com in the Extra Credit section
Dec 23: In the Extra Credit topic, added warning about the USB Killer flash drive
Dec 22: Still another expose, this time from CNN, about dangerous counterfeits sold by Amazon. In the Extra Credit section, added a hardware microphone blocker.
Dec 21: Added link to Ring Doorbell security article to the One Offs topic
Dec 20: Multiple updates to the Location Tracking topic
Dec 15: Added the OpenDNS Phishing test to the Domain Name topic
Dec 12: Added Roku privacy setting for Microphone access
Dec 10: New topic on Protecting Kids from Bad Adults. Added screen shot of Firefox blocking fingerprinting. In Android topic, added Lock Screen Message. Updated the Encryption topic.
Dec 5: New topic on Power Outages
Dec 3: New topic: Smart TVs getting hacked
Dec 2: Added Silence Unknown Callers in the iOS topic. Added average daily page views by month in the page footer. Added a couple Consumer Reports articles on Facebook. Added a new topic for Instagram. Not much there.

NOVEMBER 2019

Nov 29: Added a report to the Android section about bugs in new Android phones
Nov 28: Added a new topic: Surge Protectors
Nov 27: Added info on iOS 13 to Location Tracking topic. Minor updates the Web Browser Fingerprinting topic.
Nov 26: Split out iOS and Android into different sections (finally). Added an article about a defensive iOS app to the iOS section.
Nov 25: Punched up the web browser fingerprinting topic
Nov 24: Expanded the section on web browser fingerprinting
Nov 23: The Twitter section was updated to note that you no longer need to give Twitter your phone number to use 2FA. Added a Reading List link to a Wired story: How to Lock Down Your Health and Fitness Data. Expanded the TV watches you topic including adding my network observations of Roku. Updated the look of the Table of Contents at the top of the page/site. It was pretty ugly.
Nov 20: In the Location Tracking section, added link to a Consumer Reports article about Billboards tracking you. In the SIM Swap section, added link to an article describing how to use an iPod as a secure phone with Signal.
Nov 19: New article in the Reading List: How to Securely Get Rid of Your Devices, about erasing data on phones and hard drives.
Nov 18: New topic on Fingerprinting
Nov 12: In the section on ChromeOS added that the OS expiration is now displayed in system settings
Nov 9: Added two more link expanders in the extra credit section. Added another competing website from the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Nov 3: Added section about Android Wi-Fi and Open networks. Added more competition for this site: 31 Days of Security by John Opdenakker. Added an Extra Credit link to urlscan.io. Added warning about NFC beaming on Android.
Nov 1: Added how to check if Amazon knows your Wi-Fi password to the Amazon section. Also added a security flaw with Amazon.com. Added two more Facebook defenses. Added link to Twitter location sharing option. Minor updates to the NAS section.

OCTOBER 2019

Oct 30: New section on Microsoft Office added
Oct 28: New options in iOS 13.2 to block Siri saving voice commands added to Voice Assistants section. Added lawsuits against cell carriers for SIM swap attacks.
Oct 27: The worst has indeed happened to Alexa and Google Home. New Disaster link added to the Voice Assistant section
Oct 25: Yet another reason to disable Wi-Fi on Android when not in use was added to the Wi-Fi Direct topic which got a major update.
Oct 23: Added a 2nd article on alternatives to Google services in the Google section
Oct 22: New defense added to the TV Watches You section: Guest WiFi and VLANs.
Oct 20: In the web browser section added an article about the German Government reporting that Firefox was the most secure
Oct 19: The topic of Domain Name Rules is now Ajaxed in on demand rather than being part of the main web page
Oct 17: Added that neither iOS nor Android admits when the software is EoL
Oct 16: Added link to the TweetDelete service in the Twitter section
Oct 15: Added a link in the Extra Credit section to an article by Corey Doctorow about scamming search engines by abusing the data void on newly invented keywords
Oct 14: Updated macOS topic to suggest waiting before installing the Catalina version
Oct 11: Added new defenses against Siri snooping in iOS 13.2 to the Voice Assistant section. Expanded the TV is watching you section.
Oct 9: Added UWB on iPhone 11. New section: TV Watches You.
Oct 4: Added auto-delete of Google location history. Added Google Maps app Incognito mode. Added auto-delete of YouTube history. Added voice commands to delete Google Assistant and Alexa requests. Added an expert quote about Linux security to the Desktop OS topic.

SEPTEMBER 2019

Sept 28: Added GrapheneOS as a secure alternative to regular Android in the Mobile OS Spying topic
Sept 26: New section for Twitter. Added a new competing site: Watch Your Hack
Sept 15: Added a new T-Mobile defense against to the SIM Swap section
Sept 11: In The Competition section, added a link to a long list of sites offering tech advice to non techies
Sept 9: Added an example of multiple apps with the same name in the Play store to the Encryption topic.
Sept 5: Added a warning about end to end encryption in the Encryption topic.
Sept 2: Added a new section on Scam Voices

 

AUGUST 2019

Aug 31: Added a link to an Elcomsoft blog about the security of Signal. Added where to report scam domains to the Understanding Domain Names topic. Added where to report SPAM and Phishing emails to the Email topic.
Aug 26: Added Google Calendar SPAM topic to the Google section.
Aug 24: Amazon sells dangerous products. Added two stories from the Wall Street Journal to the Amazon section.
Aug 21: Added warning to keep Bluetooth off when not in use to the Extra Credit section. Added warning about new Apple credit card in One Offs topic. Yet another new topic: Spam Texts
Aug 20: Multiple updates to the Voice Assistant topic
Aug 19: Updated the Verified Website Identity section
Aug 18: In Google section, added link to be removed from search results
Aug 16: In the Passwords topic added a link to my latest blog on using a formula to generate passwords. In Facebook section added a link to an article about humans listening to Messenger app audio.
Aug 15: Added that Nest cameras now force the status light to be on at all times.
Aug 12: Linked to article on buying a used Macbook.
Aug 11: In the Voice Assistant topic, added that Microsoft employs contractors to listen to Skype conversations
Aug 3: In the Extra Credit section, linked to an article about making a 'When I die' file. Multiple updates to the Voice Assistant topic.
Aug 2: Linked to my blog about the Guardian Firewall iOS app
Aug 1: In the Mobile Scanning and Sharing topic, added that Bluetoth on iOS can leak phone numbers. Also, expanded the explanation of the Guardian firewall iOS app.

JULY 2019

July 31: Multiple updates to the Smart Speaker topic. Added a new Slack defense article.
July 26: You wouldn't think it possible, but I added another new category: NAS
July 19: Whole new site intro at the top of the page. New Reading List article about Safe Deposit Boxes not being safe.
July 18: Minor additions to SIM Swapping topic
July 15: Added a warning about fake prices on Amazon Prime Day to the Amazon topic
July 12: Added a couple Roku settings to check/set
July 11: Added a warning not to Login with Google or with Facebook in the Extra Credit section.
July 9: In the Reading List added a warning that much of the security and privacy advice in the main stream media is wrong. Added another iOS 12 suggestion to stop Apple from spying on you.
July 8: In the Amazon section, added a warning about having no recourse for defective products from Marketplace sellers. In the Extra Credit section, added topic of power only USB cables.
July 7: In the topic of Encryption, added Tutanota as a secure email provider. Added links to computers that ship with Linux in the Desktop OS topic. Added suggestion to power off Roku devices when not in use to the One Offs section. Found another laptop that can disable the microphone. In the Mobile OS Spying topic, added three Linux based phones that are not yet available.
July 6: Added an alias for this site: DefensiveComputing.info. Less typing. In the Google section added that you can not delete their history your purchases, and, that Google also tracks your reservations and subscriptions.
July 5: In the Google section, added an item about millions of fake businesses listed in Google Maps.
July 4: In the One Offs section added warning about the QR code on boarding passes. In the Google section, added warning that Google Maps is full of fake business listings. In the Extra Credit section, added warning that laptops have microphones that are always on.
July 3: In the Secure Websites section, added an item explaining which parts of the URL are encrypted
July 2: In the SIM Swap section, added What To Expect when changing the passcode on an AT&T cellphone account. New category: My competition. Another new category: Two Factor Authentication combines notes from two other sections.
July 1: Added article about Slack to the One Offs topic. Added link to article about Amazon selling toxic products. In the Google section, added link to article offering a complete list of alternatives to Google products. Punched up the Web Browser topic a bit.

JUNE 2019

June 30: Added more info to the section on SIM Swaps.
June 28: Linked to a new article about SIM Swaps that points out that T-Mobile has two different PIN codes.
June 27: Many updates to the Understanding Domain Names topic. In the Google topic, added warning not to be logged on to Google while browsing the web. Added a story about Apple not fixing a bug in macOS to the Desktop Operating System topic. Added the most basic Android defense: only install apps from the Play store and never install apps from Telegram or WhatsApp messages.
June 26: Added iOS privacy suggestion to disable Share iPad Analytics and Share iCloud Analytics.
June 24: In the topic on Mobile OS Spying, added my personal defensive approach to the spying done on our phones.
June 23: Added DNS awareness to the Extra Credit topic. In the Chromebook topic, added a link to the Google page that lists the expiration date for every Chromebook. In the Extra Credit topic added advice about Chromebooks and USB flash drives. In the Amazon section, linked to an article about counterfeit books.
June 22: Added links to three web browser tester sites in the Web Browser topic
June 21: More links to articles about web browsers in that topic. There are now too many articles about which web browser to use, so they are hidden by default. Added a new section on Chromebooks and ChromeOS.
June 20: Minor changes. For Android phones, added a recommendation for Android One.
June 19: Created a new section on SIM Swaps. You'd think there would be no need for new sections after all these updates, but there is. In the web browser section added suggestion to use a VPN that does ad and tracker blocking. And linked to a new article about privacy focused web browsers in the Web Browser section.
June 18: Created a new Amazon section.
June 17: Expanded Gmail sub-topic in Google topic.
June 16: In the section on Understanding Domain Names added another item about legit sites that re-direct to bad guys. The section is now so long, that it is no longer displayed by default.
June 14: Added a Daily Page View counter to the page footer.
June 13: In the One Offs section, added article this article: Twitter URLs Can Be Manipulated to Spread Fake News and Scams. Added a tweet about Fake Job scams.
June 10: Added a new item on Fake Reviews to the Extra Credit topic. Updated the Email section to stress that iOS and ChromeOS are the only safe OSs for email. Added two articles to the Reading List section, both offering advice about buying secure IoT devices.
June 9: In the Mobile OS Spying section added new article Thousands of Android Apps Break Google's Privacy Rules. In the page footer, the Previous page view now shows how long ago it was rather than a date/time. New article in Reading List on how to view, download, and delete your personal information online.
June 8: In the Phone Calls section, added that iOS 13 can send callers not in contacts straight to voicemail. Punched up the AirDrop item.
June 7: Added to the Reading List an article about the laws regarding passwords to get into cellphones. In the Mobile Scanning and Sharing section, linked to an article about NFC in iOS 13.
June 6: Added a new item about desktop Firefox options to the Web Browsers topic. Added some teasers about iOS 13 and Android Q to the iOS and Android section. Also there, added link to a ZDNet article about spyware in the firmware of low end Android devices. In same section, added multiple iOS privacy suggestions from an article in Mashable.
June 5: Renamed the Mobile OS Picking topic to iOS and Android and added that there is no window into the use of encrypted communication by mobile apps. Added two articles about fake job scams to the Reading List section.
June 4: Added a couple nuggets about iOS 13. In Location Tracking, you can share your location with an app, just one time. Also, in Mobile Scanning topic, it introduced a new Find My app using Bluetooth beacons.
June 3: Added Windscribe VPN to the Mobile OS spying topic because it can block ads and trackers. Added Android ad tracking defense to the Mobile OS Spying topic.
June 2: New section on Mobile OS Spying.
June 1: Revised the Chromebook description in the Desktop Operating System section. Added link to Google doc on software update expiration dates for individual Chromebooks. Added link to the Google Maps Timeline feature to the Google section.

MAY 2019

May 31: Added suggestion for the Disconnect tracker blocker to the Web Browser topic. Added Maciej Cegłowski's Security Guide as another competitor for this site in the Reading List section. Linked to another article on improving WhatsApp security in the One Offs topic. In the topic of Passwords, added quotes from an article showing just how much of a hassle a password manager can be for non-techies.
May 30: Added Wired article about defending yourself against Google to the Google section and the Location Tracking section.
May 29: Added privacy config options for WhatsApp to the One Offs section. Added link and recommendation to use the Privacy Badger browser extension to the Web Browser topic.
May 28: Added link to article about iPhone app tracking in the Mobile OS section. Improved topic of email attachments.
May 26: Added an Extra Credit item about storing the most sensitive of passwords. Added links in Mobile Scanning and Sharing section about Bluetooth security.
May 24: New Reading List article: Your Smartphone Apps Are Filled With Trackers You Know Nothing About. In Location Tracking topic, new article about London Underground tracking people via Wi-Fi.
May 21: In the Google section, added an item about Gmail collecting a history of your purchases.
May 20: Added a link warning about Apple laptop keyboard problems to the Desktop OS section. Added section on the iOS Control Center to the Mobile Scanning and Sharing section. In the Web Browser section, linked to a Reddit article on the Grammarly extension. In the Reading List section, added a link to the Motherboard Guide to Not Getting Hacked and an article about cars spying on us.
May 15: Added a link in Google section about privacy settings for Google Pay.
May 14: Added a link to haveibeenpwned.com in the Extra Credit topic on multiple email addresses. Also added mention of the Domain Search feature of haveibeenpwned.com. In the Passwords section, added a link to check if anyone else in the world has used one of your passwords. Added Nest topic in the Google section. In Email section, added definitions of phishing and spear phishing. Added article with Office 365 defense to the One Offs section. Added link to dehashed.com in the Extra Credit section.
May 13: Morphed the Search Engine topic into a Google topic. New Reading List section. Expanded topic on not using Windows.
May 12: Added link with instructions on deleting previously saved Google Assistant recordings to the Smart Speakers section. Added recommendation for uBlock Origin ad-blocker browser extension. In Location Tracking topic, added link to article about cellphone companies being sued for selling location data. Added button at the top to display the entire page, including this section.
May 9: Added Apple scam phone calls to Phone topic. Minor changes and neatening
May 6: Expanded Amazon Alexa topic to include all Smart Speakers and renamed topic. Added link to article by Bruce Shneier about defending against Identity Theft.
May 5: New section: Mobile Scanning and Sharing, including multiple instances where Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are not really off when they appear disabled. Added link to article with 15 default privacy settings (Extra credit section).
May 4: Added the Mozilla Facebook container extension for Firefox. Added my blog warning about the possibility of Word spying on us.
May 3: Added the Jumbo privacy assistant app.
May 2: Added advice in the Networking section for Android users to check for Bluetooth scanning, as it may run even with Bluetooth disabled.
May 1: Added the issue of a scam site as a subdomain of a legit domain to the Understanding Domain Names topic.

APRIL 2019

April 29: Added a Google Privacy Checkup to the Extra Credit section
April 28: Re-wrote the Extra Credit topic on multiple email addresses. Greatly expanded the Location Tracking topic.
April 27: Added this display of the Change Log.
April 26: Started a new ONE OFFs section. Added link to article about SIM card swaps being solved in other countries.
April 24: Added link to Leo Notenboom article on one thing to know. Added suggestion to tape paper with techie info to router.
April 19: Added more real life examples of scam domain names.
April 17: Added Evil Twin networks to Public Wi-Fi section.
April 15: Added new Search Engine topic. Added Whois item to domain name topic.
April 14: Added a link to some Facebook tweaks. Added that citibankonline.com is really Citibank.
April 13: Added the Public Wifi section.
April 1-12: Many changes, still not tracking them.

MARCH 2019

March 22-30: Many changes but I did not keep track of them
March 21: Initial release of the website

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