malware

How can I get rid of adware?

Craig from Vista, CA

Episode 1063

Craig has a ton of adware on his PC from installing software. Leo can't stress enough how important it is to be careful where he gets software. Since he doesn't really know what he has, he could have opened himself up to far more bad things. Leo suggests turning off all extensions, deleting them from his extensions folder, and running as a limited user. Look in "add/remove programs" for entries he doesn't recognize and remove them.

Why am I getting popups to install a media player? (Part 1)

Ron from Downey, CA

Episode 1063

Ron checks out eBooks on his PC and he's now getting popups demanding that he install a Media Player 12.2. Leo says that it may also be a malware installer or adware that's trying to dupe him into installing it. He should just ignore it. Leo says they are so annoying and malicious, it should be considered malware. It's also likely that Ron has a Browser hijacker on his PC. He should go into "add/remove programs" or the "programs/features" control panel and uninstall anything he doesn't recognize. Leo also recommends he stop running his computer as an administrator.

Why does my Mac keep making the email "swoosh" sound when I'm not sending mail?

Jay from Gilroy, CA

Episode 1058

Jay says his wife's computer will make the "swoosh" email sound frequently when there's no email being sent or received. Leo says to make sure there's no sent items in the email sent folder. Also, check in the settings to see if that sound is being played for other things the computer does. There's an option called "play sounds for other mail actions." Make sure that's disabled. Also, Leo advises using a program called "Little Snitch" for the Mac that will advise him if any nefarous activity is making an outbound connection, but it's probably not that.

How can I protect my computer after Microsoft ends Windows XP support?

Dan from Huntington Beach, CA

Episode 1057

Dan uses Windows XP and is worried about security once Microsoft ends support for it on April 8th. Leo says that there will only be two more security patch Tuesdays between now and April 8th and once that's done, XP will no longer be supported. Leo says that once that happens, all XP users should pull their XP computers off the Internet completely. There are bad guys who collect flaws and exploits and take advantage of holes in the system. One such nasty thing is Cryptolocker.

NBC Fakes Story About Phones Being Hacked at the Olympics

Episode 1055

NBC's Richard Engle did a story that mobile phones and computers were hacked the second people arrived in Russia for the Olympic Games. Leo says that the NBC story was completely false, and had been faked to get the audience looking at Russia in a particular way. Leo says that they would get hacked if the reporter deliberately went to a malicious site and downloaded the software that would infect the computer or mobile phone. Engle was a thousand miles away in Moscow when he did it.

What should I do after falling victim to a scammer claiming to be from Microsoft?

Suzanne from Vista, CA

Episode 1047

Suzanne got bit by a scammer calling from "Microsoft." The worst part is that she's a security analyst. Leo says that Suzanne shouldn't feel so bad since chances are that they are actually off duty tech support staff moonlighting as scammers. They social engineer victims and scare them into installing something on their computer. The CLSID is not unique. Then they show the user the "Event Viewer" which logs all errors. It looks worse than it is and the scammers rely on that.

How can I stop Firefox from blocking a link I click on?

Morris from Lake Forest, CA

Episode 1044

Morris clicked on a link from an email that got sent to him, but Firefox won't let it open. Leo says that's a security feature designed to protect him from being taken over by hackers. Leo says that it's likely that Morris may have gotten lured by a bad email and Firefox saved him from it. Leo says it can be disabled, but it protects him and is for his own good.

Why does my computer keep asking me to install Java?

Larry from Loma Linda, CA

Episode 1044

Larry has a flashing blue and gold shield that wants him to install a java program. He says no, but it pops up again a few minutes later. Leo says it could be benign, or it could be a concern. Java is a programming language and many websites use it. But Larry's computer is set up correctly to ask permission to install it. It bothers Leo that it says "Publisher unknown," and not "Oracle." Leo says to keep saying no is the best move.

Are software serial numbers found online legit?

James from California

Episode 1040

James found a list of serial numbers for Sony Vegas. Are they legit? Leo says no. Vegas is a $700 software package and if he downloaded the trial version and put a serial number in that he found on the internet, then that's piracy. This isn't really something James will want to do, especially if he's starting his own video business. There's also the risk of getting malware from downloading software from unofficial websites.

What is the GOOG Malware folder on my computer?

Frank from Carlsbad, CA

Episode 1040

Frank has found a folder on his computer that seems to be part of Google, but also has the word malware in it. Leo says that it's Google's anti phishing file folder that's been saved from running Firefox or Chrome. It's a database of sites that are blocked when he's surfing the net. This folder is safe, but it's a good thing that Frank suspected something.