malware

Has my computer been hacked?

Episode 1385

Melinda from Sherman Oaks, CA
Hacker

Melinda says that after she turns on her computer and goes into her browser, it takes a really long time to get to Gmail, and it goes to her eBay and other accounts. She wonders if she got hacked. Leo says perhaps. That kind of behavior points to being hacked. Maybe someone has gotten physical access to the computer. Did she make an enemy?

Does a smartphone need antivirus?

Episode 1385

Jim from Bend, OR
Antivirus

Jim bought a pair of Samsung Galaxy S8 and the guy at the store said he doesn't need an antivirus app to protect it. Is that true? Leo says it is. Mobile phones don't really need that extra precaution, as long as he only gets his apps from Google Play Store. He should be careful what apps he gets, though, even then. Sometimes a junky app does get through. The benefit through Google Play is that if one gets through, they will remotely kill it.

Did malware break my laptop?

Episode 1383

Janet from Santa Monica, CA
Apple MacBook Air

Janet has a 2014 MacBook Air and she's got malware. Leo says it's very rare to get malware on the mac, so it's unlikely. Janet is getting redirected to other sites. That's a browser hijack, not a virus. It's malware, but it's browser level malware. The laptop has also died as a result. Leo says that hardware can die, especially a laptop that's being carried around. A MacBook Air may be more prone because it's so thin. It could also just be a bad logic board or diode on it. It's not related to the malware/browser hijack issue, though. It doesn't work that way.

Has my browser been hijacked?

Episode 1383

Doug from St. Louis, MO
Chrome Reset

Doug's in laws are getting popups in Chrome using Facebook that malware is on their machine asking them to download something. Leo says that is a fishing scam trying to get them to download and install something. Leo suspects that there is a malicious extension in Chrome that is causing it. Leo suggests resetting Chrome to wipe out everything. They'll have to reinstall the extensions, but it's the only way to be sure. They should go to Settings and search for Reset. That'll make it go away.

Has my computer been hacked?

Episode 1382

Art from California
Hacker

Art opened his computer and something took control of Chrome and wouldn't let him shut down the app or his computer. Has he been hacked? Leo says not to panic. It's likely a javascript instruction that hacked a website. He can always force quit his browser to get out of it. He can do that by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete to open the task manager for Windows. On macOS, press Option-Command-Escape and Force Quit the app.

PDoS Attack Bots Are Destroying Poorly Secured Devices

Episode 1378

We're familiar with DDoS attacks, which are "Distributed Denial of Service" attacks, but there's a new form of attack that's been happening online lately. It's called PDoS, or "Permanent Denial of Service," which actually bricks the device, destroying it permanently. The rationale is that if these devices weren't bricked, someone else would use it for a DDoS attack.

Should I call the 800 number on a popup?

Episode 1379

Lisa from Palo Alto, CA
Hacker

Lisa went to a website and she got a pop up notification that her computer was infected and to call an 800 number to Microsoft. Leo says not to ever call them -- just exit the popup and move on. It's not infected and those popups are designed to insnare users. It's called a phishing scam. Lisa did it anyway, though, and gave them control of a computer. Leo says that's bad news because she doesn't really know what the hacker's done. He can install viruses on her or turn it into a bot, a keystroke logger, and use remote access to turn on her camera.