A Defensive Computing Checklist
by Michael Horowitz
ODDS and ENDS
Assorted Defensive Computing Topics that did not fit well into another topic.
- What To Do if You Were Scammed from the FTC
- How to remove your info from data brokers by Mark Hurst for Good Reports.
Last updated: January 13, 2022
- Credit cards: Privacy.com has been recommended by many. The service creates virtual credit cards that are inked to either a debit card or a bank account. This not only hides your real credit card number, but the virtual cards can do much more than a real credit card. For example, they can be configured to only work with one vendor. Or, you can limit the amount that can be charged on a virtual card. Or, you can suspend the card. Or, use it just once and then delete it. Like real credit cards you can be alerted to every new charge on a virtual card. Sounds great, but giving this company access to my bank account is not great Defensive Computing. I suggest opening a new bank account for use with the service and keeping only a small amount of money in this new account.
- If you are shopping for a Windows or Linux laptop computer, Cory Doctorow is a huge fan of frame.work as per this November 2022 article: The Framework is the most exciting laptop I've ever broken. Brad Linder did a very long review in July 2022, and he liked them
too: Framework Laptop Review: Modular, repairable, upgradeable laptop with a 12th-gen Intel Core processor.
- YouTube: Privacy and safety center from Google
- Snapchat: Privacy settings from Snapchat Tech Support. Undated.
- Can we trust Patreon? Patreon laid off its security team in September 2022. Patreon denied that it was the entire team, but they refused to say how many remain. An anonymous internal report said there was nobody left qualified to run their security tools. See Patreon security team layoffs cause backlash in creator
community by Tonya Riley (Sept 2022)
- The Eizo Monitor Tests are all done on web pages, no software to install.
- Safe Spaces: Transacting in Person with Strangers from the Internet by Brian Krebs (Sept 2022). When buying/selling things with strangers, there is always a risk that they are an axe murderer. Nearly all U.S. states now have designated safe trading stations - mostly at local police departments - which ensure that all transactions are handled in plain view of both the authorities and security cameras. Three websites have lists of these Safe Spaces: safetradespots.com,
safetradestations.com and safeexchangepoint.com
- UPS When shipping a box via United Parcel, take a picture, with your phone, of the label they create and put on the box. Maybe also take a picture of the box before bringing it to their office. At my local UPS office their printer is miserable and the tracking number is all but impossible to read.
- Uber customers can not trust any email that appears to come from Uber. See this January 2, 2022 article for details: Uber ignores vulnerability that lets you send any email from Uber.com by Ax Sharma.
- Apple Credit Card: You should opt out of the Apple Card’s arbitration clause — here’s how The Verge Aug 2019.
- For home security cameras I suggest the $15 eBook Take Control of Home Security Cameras. I have not read the book but I know the author, Glenn Fleishman, is excellent. As of March 10, 2021, the last update was February 23, 2021.
- Think twice before buying a Honda car. This article described one type of attack, there have been other types too. The reaction from Honda in every article is very disappointing. Hackers Say They Can Unlock and Start Honda Cars Remotely by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai for Vice (July 2022).
- Concerned your phone has been hacked? Civilsphere, from the Stratosphere Laboratory and the Czech Technical University, offers a great public service: an Emergency VPN. If they accept your application, they will install a VPN on your phone and monitor the data coming/going for up to three days. Then they do a security assessment of what they captured.
- Increase the security of Proton Mail: ProtonMail Five Years Later, Part III: Security Features by Justin Carroll (Nov 2019). Note that the webmail user interface has changed since 2019.
- Chase Bank has security tips.
- Erasing storage by Royce Williams is for techies and includes an option many other articles omit - setting a hard disk password
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