malware

How can I get rid of a hacker who's stalking me?

Episode 1151

Karen from Sun City, CA
Hacker

Karen is having an issue with an online stalker who has hacked into her computer and has been deleting her files and other things. Leo suspects that Karen isn't really being hacked unless she has incurred the wrath of someone who can do that. More likely, what may be happening is that she's got malware and she probably should format the hard drive and reinstall Windows from a known, good source.

Is the new Bitdefender Box legit?

Episode 1151

Tom from Warren, OH

Tom saw a new box from Bitdefender at CES that promises to be in between the internet and the computer and cleanses all traffic. The box connects to the router and it will prevent malware from getting through. They plan to ship it for $200. Leo says the premise of this is good, but may not necessarily be better than a software antivirus because if software doesn't know about a virus, neither will the physical box. We can't even be sure it will ship at all at this point either.

Should I pay the FBI with MoneyPak?

Episode 1147

Neil from Colorado Springs, CO
Scam Alert

Neil got a popup from the FBI saying that if he pays a fine of $300, he'll be cleared of any charges from "online porno" that he's never done. Leo says that it's called the FBI MoneyPak Scam and it's a scam designed to get users to pay up out of fear. Leo says it's easy to fix by simply backing up his hard drive and reinstalling Windows. That's the only way to be sure he's free of it. But under no circumstances should Neil pay up. The FBI wouldn't offer a "get out of jail free card" with an anonymous payment from 7-11.

How can I get rid of Trovi?

Mary from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1146

Mary wound up getting a program called Trovi installed, and she can't get rid of it. Trovi is a lot like Conduit, and it's a browser hijacker that often comes with free software. Some don't think it's malware, but if it tricks the user into installing it and makes it difficult to be uninstalled, then it's definitely malware. And shame on CBS, which owns download.com, for allowing this junk to be installed onto people's computers. Mary can remove it in Add/Remove Programs, but she'll also have to change her browser settings or it could come back.

Can a virus cause a blue screen of death?

Episode 1144

David from Burbank, CA
BSOD

David's computer started to get the dreaded bluescreen of death and he took it to the Geek Squad to get it repaired. They said it was a virus and sold him WebRoot. Leo says that the Geek Squad couldn't have been more wrong and just sold him an antivirus software he didn't need. Almost always, the problem with BSOD is either a driver or hardware issue. BSODs only happen as a result of accessing ring 1 memory on the computer and that's only drivers or hardware. Malware won't result in a BSOD.

Has my iPhone been compromised by a phishing scam?

Episode 1143

Mark from Yorba Linda, CA
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Mark has an iPhone 6 Plus, and he clicked on a link in his email from "Fedex" which he later realized was a bogus phishing scam. Leo says it's unlikely it'll impact Mark. Phishing scams are designed mostly at Windows applications and even then, unpatched versions of Windows. Since Mark is neither, it's highly unlikely anything bad will happen to his phone. But it's good that he realized it, even if it was too late. Next time he'll know beforehand.

How do I get rid of malware on my computer?

Episode 1136

Linda from El Segundo, CA
Laptop

Linda has a Windows 7 machine that has been infected with malware. Leo says that ultimately, it's probably best to use the recovery discs that came with the computer. Most OEMs don't include original Windows install discs, but usually offer recovery discs. She could try cleaning the malware off, but usually malware invites more viruses, so it's the malware she doesn't know about that she should be concerned about.