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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This website is huge, so if you read nothing else here, always remember these most basic rules of the road.

Act accordingly

If there were a contest for the most useful advice in the fewest words, the above would be my entry.

Even keeping these three points in mind, victims can sometimes be fooled because the scammers know so much about them. This is the inevitable fallout from far-too-many data breaches.

A March 2022 article in the Washington Post suggested: "To avoid a scam using the conflict in Ukraine ... start with the premise that every direct message, link, email or text is fake and work from there. This should be your default response to any contact you did not initiate".



Any time you are asked to pay for something with a gift card,

it is a scam. Here we see a drug store that fought back against these scams.

Other common scam indicators

  1. The bad guys want remote access to your computer.
  2. You are prompted, out of the blue, to install some software. As Brian Krebs says "If you didn't go looking for it, don't install it!"
  3. You must act immediately or the Earth will stop spinning and all humans will fly off into space and die. OK, slight exaggeration to make a point. The point being that scams pretend that you must act quickly so that you don't have time to take a breath and question things.


Non-technical computer users should use a Chromebook. Compared to all other mainstream operating systems, ChromeOS (the name of the operating system on a Chromebook) is much more secure and requires no care and feeding.


And, again

Rules of the road

Act accordingly.

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