Dan has been getting messages to update Java but he's worried about security. Leo says that since Dan uses Windows XP, Microsoft doesn't support it anymore and it's now a security issue. Google, will update Chrome, so it's a good idea to use that. Don't use Java unless you need to. But if you do, make sure you install all security patches. Also, disable the browser plugin and don't use Windows as an Administrator. Run as a limited user.
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.
Kevin is wondering if he should install NOD32 on his Windows 8.1 computer. Leo says it isn't necessary, since Windows 8 now comes with antivirus built-in.
Jackson is having trouble uploading his documents onto his school network via his iPhone and iPad. It will only let him upload photos. Leo says that's by design. On iPhone and iPad, he can only access files from the program that created them. So it won't let him upload anything from anywhere, only in the app he's using. This helps keep iOS secure.
Kal took Leo's advice and created a second user account for his wife, so she wouldn't be using the administrator account for day to day use. But then he lost the administrator password. Leo says there are bootable discs that he can use to reset the password. Here's a support document from Microsoft that will help him reset the password. He can use another computer to create this disc.