passwords

Is there an Android app that could simplify the process of logging onto public Wi-Fi?

LastPass on mobile

Episode 1457

Gary from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Leo says there's a new feature in Android Oreo 8.1 — it will let you know how fast a Wi-Fi access point is before joining it. Leo says any password vault should enter his password into the web portal when he signs in. Leo prefers using password vaults to any mechanism offered by the browser or phone itself. Password vaults will remember all of his passwords, and on Android, it will actually fill in the password automatically.

How strong is the encryption on Microsoft Office documents?

Microsoft Office

Episode 1456

Mike from Riverside, CA

Mike is wondering how good the encryption is in Microsoft Word and Excel documents. Leo says it's actually pretty good and that it's adequate, but not uncrackable. Leo says it's hard to crack stuff on the web when a service can slow the attacker down. But if someone can get a document that's locked and own it, there's nothing to stop them from trying a million passwords a second, and brute-force that document. Having said that, Microsoft has started using strong encryption on documents. The weak link will be the password.

Why can't I log into a website?

Username and Password

Episode 1455

Joy from Santa Cruz, CA

Joy signed up for a recipe website. She can log in with one computer, but not another. It says her password is wrong. Leo says it may be that the num lock is enabled. She should see if she can type into a word processing program to make sure she has the right password, and then cut and paste it into the password field. If that works, then it may be that the site thinks it's uppercase and therefore can't accept it.

What happened to my emails?

Gmail

Episode 1455

Pat from San Diego, CA

Pat woke up the other day and all her emails had vanished from her Gmail account. She uses her web browser to check her mail every day, clicking on "all mail," first, then deleting and emptying her trash. Leo says that she doesn't ever need to delete her email or empty the trash. Trash gets automatically flushed every 30 days. Leo suspects that Pat may have accidentally deleted more than she thought. For instance, if she hit command A, that will select everything and then delete. Unfortunately, Gmail is a cloud-based option and there's no real backup other than that.

How do I recover my Facebook password?

Facebook

Episode 1454

Brad from San Jose, CA

Brad wants to know how to recover his brother's Facebook account without using his email. Leo says that there's an extreme account recovery system that involves sending a picture, and then Facebook will reset it. Here's how to recover his account on Facebook.

Leo also recommends using a password vault. LastPass is what he uses, but there's also 1Password. Then all he needs to do is remember one password.

Can I say no to Customs if they want to read my phone?

US Customs and Border Protection

Episode 1451

John from Westchester, NY

John is worried about traveling overseas and then having his mobile device or computer taken away and being forced to unlock it. Leo says it doesn't really happen all that often, though they do have the right to do it, and it hasn't been ruled on being unconstitutional just yet. He'll have to worry when they take his device into another room. Chances are, they've cloned the data or even installed something to monitor him. At that point, if he's security conscious, the only thing he can really do is replace the device to be sure he's secure.

How can I enter my password without using my phone's keyboard?

Google Gboard

Episode 1448

Rich from Scranton, PA

Rich is having trouble entering his password on his cellphone screen due to his Parkinson's disease. Leo says that there are plenty of accessibility options including the swiping keyboard. It would let him draw a line from key to key. It may be easier to do that than tapping the keyboard. Leo recommends using the Google Keyboard, GBoard.

How to Set Up Two-Factor Authentication

Leo has talked a lot on the Tech Guy show about using two factor authentication wherever possible to ensure the security of your online accounts. Two factor authentication requires more than just a 1 factor to login. This could include two of the following: something you are (such as biometrics like fingerprints or iris scans), something you know (a password), or something you have (a smartphone or hardware key). This could be called many things, including “Two-Step Verification” and “Two-Factor Authentication” depending on the site.