Hackers broke into the Anthem Health database to obtain names, birthdays, addresses, and Social Security numbers of customers. An estimated 80,000,000 records have been lost. After the hack, there have been phishing scams circulating and phone fraudsters calling people to obtain financial information. If you do get an email from Anthem, do not click the links, go directly to the Anthem website. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Anthem, hang up and call them back using their posted phone number.
Jay wants to know if removing viruses is the same between Mac and Windows. Leo says that there's a debate that Macs are either more secure, or are a smaller target because there are fewer of them. Leo says that malware writers are going to write for the largest segment of computers. But OS X is based on Unix and that's more secure than Windows. OS X also has an administrator requirement when installing software.
Mike wants to keep his kids safe online that won't slow down the computer. What can he use? Leo says that when they get older, kids can figure out how to bypass restrictions. But when they are younger, they are OK. Leo advises using OpenDNS with his router. He can put things on computers, but they really aren't effective and filters often block things that he won't want blocked. But OpenDNS will allow him to change how the router will find webpages and block sites that he doesn't want. And he'll have complete control.
Dan has been getting messages to update Java, but he's worried about security. Leo says that since Dan uses Windows XP, there is a security issue because Microsoft doesn't support it anymore. Google will update Chrome, so it's a good idea to use that as his browser. But he shouldn't use Java unless he needs to. If he does need to use it, he should make sure he installs all security patches. He should disable the browser plugin as well, and he should run Windows as a limited user -- not as Administrator.
One of the ways computers can get infected online is through malicious websites or phishing scams. This happens when a scammer links a user to a website that looks exactly like a familiar site like Microsoft or Google, but is actually the scammer's site. Users will often input their username and password on the malicious site, and the scammer will then have control of their account.
Tom is looking for Leo's suggestion about fire alarms and suppression. Leo went out to the local alarm company and had them do it. But there are some interesting choices that also offer full home automation with motion activated cameras that will tell the house to heat up and turn on the lights when he gets home. He can do it himself, but he'll lose the monitoring advantages.
President Obama along with the FBI confirmed that the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack did indeed originate from North Korea. Security experts are questioning this conclusion, however. It's very difficult to determine the origin of a hack. This attack, like most attacks, was routed through up to 6 countries before getting to Sony. There are a number of articles saying that this couldn't possibly be the North Koreans, and yet the FBI says they know for sure that it is. We don't have all of the information they have, however, and they may have the smoking gun.
Sony Pictures Entertainment is now attempting to take disrupt downloads from sites that have its leaked data through Denial of Service attacks. Its using hundreds of computers in Asia to accomplish this.
James just bought a new computer and he's concerned that Microsoft Security Essentials won't be good enough. Leo says that Microsoft Security Essentials works just fine, but he will have to keep it updated and constantly patch Windows. If he's not patching Windows with updates, even Essentials won't be able to protect him completely. Other things he can do is:
Root Pipe and Wire Lurker are two new vulnerabilities hitting computers. Root Pipe is hitting OS X but Leo says it can only be activated by someone sitting at your computer, so it shouldn't really be a huge cause of concern. Meanwhile, the Nigerian scam has been reported to have caused over $12 Billion in loses last year.
Meanwhile, a new report says that consumers are reaching "breach fatigue" over all the security breaches that have happened of late.