A Defensive Computing Checklist
by Michael Horowitz
DEFENSIVE COMPUTING FROM OTHER SOURCES
Lots of other people and places offer Defensive Computing advice, though they don't call it that.
- A list of alternatives to toxic Silicon Valley services from Mark Hurst.
Last updated: April 20, 2022
- 6 Things That Can Be Faked To Compromise Your Security is an 11 minute video by Gary Rosenzweig from MacMost.com. April 2021. Pretty good. Gary and Leo Notenboom expanded on the topic in episode
131 (April 2021) of their Tech Enthusiast Hour podcast. Recommended.
- Privacy first steps from Seth For Privacy. December 21, 2021. Seems like a reasonable list.
- Surveillance Self-Defense from the Electronic Frontier Foundation is pretty big. But, it was funded by the Ford Foundation and the funding may have run out. The News section was last updated Nov. 2018. A couple Windows 10 examples are based on Service Pack 1703. The oldest page I saw was last reviewed July 2018, the newest was Feb. 2021.
- *Privacy Not Included evaluates the privacy of assorted products. From the Mozilla foundation, the company behind Firefox.
- The Privacy Guides website is fairly extensive. It recommends software and services and also has configuration suggestions.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to Online Anonymity by Anonymous Planet. Last updated August 2022.
- Personal Security Checklist by Alicia Sykes. A curated checklist of 300+ tips for protecting digital security and privacy. As of July 2022, it is actively maintained. Has a section on Physical Security. Too bad its on GitHub which is not meant for non-techies.
- Curated lists of tools, tips and resources for protecting digital security and privacy by Alicia Sykes. Part of the above list, I think.
- Awsome-privacy list on Github by Pluja. It is just a list, so of limited value. Basically, this is a Santa Claus naughty/nice list. No explanations, no dates.
- Cyber security 101: Protect your privacy from hackers, spies, and the government by Charlie Osborne and Zack Whittaker of ZDNet. Very long. A stripped down version of this entire website in one article. Been around for a couple years, no change log. Last updated Dec. 2020.
October 2023: The article was updated this month. Zack Whittaker's name has been removed. Despite the update, the content seems very dated.
- PrivacyTools.io makes software recommendations. However, there is nothing on configuring the software. Continually updated.
- Security Guide by Maciej Cegłowski. Very short. Last updated April 2019.
- Information security resources for laypeople by John Opdenakker is a list of sites competing with this site. This site is not included. Despite claiming that the list will be continually updated, the last update was Sept. 2019.
- 31 Days of Security by John Opdenakker October 2019
- ConnectSafely is a nonprofit dedicated to educating users of connected technology about safety, privacy and security.
- GetSafeOnline claims to be "the UK's leading source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety." I heard a segment on BBC radio 4 about two people in England who were scammed out of money in their bank accounts. Both were interesting and useful stories. This was followed by advice from GetSafeOnline and the advice was, in my opinion, bad. I would look elsewhere for advice. Compare their advice for being safe on Public Wi-Fi networks to mine.
- Watch Your Hack created by six professional hackers. More than just a checklist. Has a change log. Last updated Aug. 2021
- The Motherboard Guide to Not Getting Hacked. Very long, but now dated. The last update was Nov. 2018.
- securityplanner.org from Citizen Lab is a very mixed bag. For example, they recommend the Chrome browser. And, their trust in HTTPS is dangerously mis-placed. And they suggest installing Windows bug fixes ASAP which is clearly wrong. Last updated February 2020.
Oct 12, 2022: the website seems to have gotten a make-over. It is now from Consumer Reports and has a new URL: securityplanner.consumerreports.org. It asks too many questions before providing any information. It still recommends Chrome and offers suggestions for securing Windows which I see as a fools errand, Windows can not be secured. On that topic, it recommends BitLocker, which I also see as a mistake. So, eh.
- A Family Security and Privacy Review by Gabriel Fair. Last update Oct. 2020. Depressingly long list, just like this site. Just a checklist however, no additional information.
- Digital Safety Kit for journalists from the Committee to Protect Journalists. Last Updated July 2019. This is much more a checklist than this site. In my opinion, the lack of context or background info makes these recommendations barely useful. The topic on encrypted email is really bad.
- 30 Day Security Challenge by Shannon Morse. Undated but sometime in 2017
- Security Planner from Consumer Reports was introduced in Oct. 2020. I am not impressed. For Windows, they suggest installing Windows bug fixes immediately, which is wrong. For web browsers, they are fine with using Chrome; I am not. For file encryption they suggest using one of the two options built into Windows. To me, VeraCrypt is the better option. They buy into the cult of password manager software as the only solution for managing passwords. I strongly disagree. The advice seems to come from people who read about technology but are not actual computer nerds. I am a computer nerd.
- From the New York Times: How to Protect Your Digital Privacy. Yuch. Don't ever take computing advice from the New York Times. Really. That there is no date on this article is your first clue.
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