Ellen feels like she got ripped off by Microsoft. She got a popup saying she had a virus and listened to it, then paid $250 for support. Leo says that wasn't microsoft. That was a bad guy. Leo says it was a browser popup and they use that to phish for gullible people to sign up. Microsoft will never, ever do that. It's even worse, though. They likely got remote access and not only do they have her credit card, they have also likely installed more malware on the computer. At this point, Ellen should call the credit card company, reverse the charge and have her card number changed.
Jay noticed in OS X El Capitan that there's something called "proxies." What is that? Leo says that unless he's using a proxy server, he should ignore it. If it has been set and he didn't know it, it could be a security software thing. Or perhaps a VPN. Proxies are used so that he can link another computer to get online, or use a different service. If it bothers him, he should just turn it off and see if it affects anything else. It could also be malware.
Tim has a message popping up that asks which app to open a file with. It happens automatically and he doesn't know what file it is. Leo says that's disconcerting. Leo suspects AdWare or worse! There's something on his system that is running in the background and the antivirus can't kill it. He'll have to figure out what the app is that's starting up. He'll have to expect that his system has been compromised, though, and the only real way to be sure he's gotten rid of the malware is to backup his data, wipe his hard drive, and reinstall Windows.
Remember the legal battle that Apple fought against the US Government to prevent unlocking of the iPhone's encryption? The US Gov't ended up going to a third party company who had created a hack to do it. Now that hack is being used to unlock and peer into the mobile phones of dissidents and other undesirable elements that the government wants to keep tabs on. Even reporters. Leo says that Apple has pushed out a fix to block it, and everyone should install iOS 9.5.3 to stop it. Otherwise, you're vulnerable.
Lex uses Windows Defender, but he came across a thumb drive and wants to check it to see if it's safe to use. Leo says he really can't. If he plugs it in, and it's infected, it will compromise his system. Firmware can be modified on a thumb drive to contain malware as a payload, and it's undetectable. The worse part is not one USB drive manufacturer has done anything to correct the bug. Wired has a story on it.
Joe wants to know if Microsoft's antivirus can really do the job. Leo says it can, but he really doesn't need it if he's careful. He'll want to be sure he's updated everything -- OS, browser, Flash, etc. Microsoft Defender is a good thing to run, but nothing can completely protect him from his own online behavior.
Jim has a friend who's website has received a message that their website has been hacked. Is this warning legitimate? Leo says it probably is. Most managed providers offer that feature, but there's also independent monitoring services like Site Lock. They'll monitor his website, but they won't patch it. He'd need to have a service that goes through all of his code to make sure it's patched and nothing remains of the virus that may have infected it. Jim should check out Qualys. They monitor and repair the site should it get infected.
Brett has a Dell computer and wants to know if there's an open source program that can speed up his computer like Dell does with Click to Fix? Leo says that Dell doesn't share their secrets and Leo doesn't think that it's safe to use a third party open source option for this. Dell's Click to Fix knows its own hardware and as such, can do a targeted fix. Open source stuff can't do that and can be overly aggressive and cause more problems than it fixes.
Donald went to a well known adult site on her iPhone, and now he believes his phone is infected. He gets a popup that says "call for Apple support" and they want $35 to fix it. Leo says it's not usually possible to hack the iPhone, so it may be a modified Safari home page instead.
Al recently upgraded to Windows 10 and Chrome has been giving him error messages preventing him to go to certain sites. Leo says to trust that. It's likely that the site has some malware code in it that will cause issues down the line. It could be a generic warning though. To be safe, Al shouldn't click on any links. Instead he should hover over it to see what the actual link is. It's possible to spoof a link with HTML code. In fact, Leo suggests turning off HTML in his email client. Leo suggests also using Thunderbird. It will give him the option of text only.