Internet and Web

Your internet connection, web sites and services.

How can I get rid of a browser hijacker that came along with other software I installed?

Episode 1126

Brian from St. Louis, MO
Downloading

Brian wound up getting a browser hijacker. Leo says that's the risk of downloading software these days -- it often will come bundled with other unwanted programs. Typically, during the install, there will be checkboxes for other programs which should be unchecked. It's not technically considered malware, but they were likely obscure in how it was worded and it tricks users into installing these programs. Leo strongly advises against using third party download sites like CNET's Download.com because of this. Only download software from the original developer.

What's the future of online gaming?

Episode 1126

Joshua from Nashville, TN
Microsoft

Joshua owns and operates Minecraft servers and he wants to know what the future has in store for online gaming. Leo says that since Microsoft bought Minecraft, it's possible that Microsoft could require Minecraft be run from Azure. But Leo doesn't think there's much cause to worry because the Minecraft culture is very independent. Gamers won't really feel Microsoft's presence in Minecraft for at least a year, but there's not much cause for concern. Since online gaming is social by nature, the future is bright.

How can I create my own private, cloud based backup?

Episode 1125

Bret from Demoines, IA
File Transporter Sync

Bret would like to create his own off site cloud storage at a friend's house. Leo says he can have a private cloud and there's several ways to do it. Leo also advises the File Transporter, which is a small device that he would hook up his hard drive to. Then it syncs with a second File Transporter hooked up to a hard drive in another location.

Johnny Jet

Episode 1125

Leo wants to know if Johnny flies with a face mask on. Johnny says he brings several and puts them on only if the person you're sitting by isn't covering his face when he sneezes. He also offers one to them. And he also carries a bunch of Wet Ones wipes and wipes down everything he's going to touch. That's because most germs are transferred by touch and the overhead bin latch is the worst. Leo wonders about the Ebola crisis. Johnny says it's very difficult to catch unless you touch someone or clean up volume. But Johnny says there's more scare tactics going on, and a lot of hype.

Can I replace my computer with a tablet?

Episode 1125

Tara from Venice, CA
Acer Chromebook

Tara has a lot of computer stuff that she really doesn't need. Can she use an iPad and still do online banking securely? Leo says Tara can, but it's more dependent on the security of the bank than the iPad. If the bank's security is up to date, then absolutely she can do it. Leo also says she can keep her Wi-Fi and use a Wi-Fi enabled Chromebook instead. It's essentially a browser based computer with nothing else. Just about everything she does is online these days, and that makes the Chromebook an excellent and secure alternative.

Why does my internet connection drop out frequently?

Episode 1125

Dustin from Glendora, CA
ethernet

Dustin's network connection goes out several times a day. Leo says that he's been experiencing the same thing on his Mac. Leo suggests checking for firmware updates. That could make his router more stable. Most people rarely update the firmware in their router. There's also something that Verizon can do since their switches tend to be cheap and break often. He should also start at the plug and check all connections to the wall.

How can I avoid spam?

Episode 1125

Gail from Covina, CA
Email

Gail has Verizon DSL and her email is being barraged by spam. Leo says that's not surprising, and it's certainly not her fault. But it's likely that spammers just sent out blanket emails that cover every conceivable possibility at a domain address. And there's nothing that Gail can do except use good spam fighting filters.

Why does my internet connection stop when I'm uploading video?

Episode 1124

Vance from Florida
YouTube

Vance says that when uploading data, it completely hogs his bandwidth. Leo says that's usually true. If he saturates the upstream bandwidth with videos, the connection can't do any other internet activity as a result. Can he split the bandwidth to prevent that interruption? Leo says that's why bittorrent works better. There really isn't a way to do it unless his router supports it. Leo says it may be more practical to set the videos to upload as he gets ready to go to bed and let it run through the night.

Did a website crash my hard drive?

Sue from Redondo Beach, CA

Episode 1124

Sue went to a website to watch Bob Dylan live on stage and her computer got "fried." Leo says that there's no website that can short out a computer. And it's not in the interest of a hacker to be that destructive. They want vulnerable computers to exploit them. So it's important to keep the computer updated. She should also update Flash, her PDF reader, drivers, and just about everything can be exploited. Leo also recommends using Google Chrome, because it sandboxes Flash and updates it all the time. So she doesn't even have to install Flash on her system.