Your internet connection, web sites and services.
Internet and Web
John downloaded a VPN program called Jailbreak and now his Windows 7 machine can't connect to the internet. Leo says the VPN is probably at fault here. VPNs act as a go-between between him and the servers he surfs to.
Steve's Dell Inspiron laptop drops Wi-Fi all the time. Dell claims to have fixed it via remote access, but it didn't work. Leo says that it's likely the person at Dell tech support had very little training and was following the directions in the notebook. All too often it doesn't fix the problem. What he'll need to do is call them back and ask to have his case escalated to tier 2 or even tier 3 level support.
Blanton's browser has been hijacked by Launchpage. His home page goes to a bunch of credit card sites and ads. Leo says that's an easy fix. In Firefox, he can just go to Settings > Preferences > General > Startup and change it there. Or, an even easier method is to drag the page he wants to the house icon and release.
Most of the exploits and listening techniques reported by the information from Wikileaks Vault 7 indicate that the CIA can use to eavesdrop are mostly targeted tools, and not the blanket surveillance hacks that were originally reported.
App of the week - ZocDoc. When you need a doctor, this app can find you one anywhere in the US and let you know if they take your insurance. You can even make an appointment through the app.
Site of the week - On the Snow. If you love skiing, this is the site for you. Sign up for the powder alert newsletter, see snow totals, and see webcams.
Travel Tip of the week - Keep a photocopy and a scan of your passport. You can keep it up on Evernote.
Wikileaks has announced Vault 7, a massive collection of documents that show how the CIA uses malware and other hacking techniques to spy online. Some of the techniques includes using smartTVs as a spying device since they use cameras and microphones built into the TVs. Samsung warned of this in their terms of service for their TVs last year. But Leo says that the CIA doesn't really have a switch to turn on all TVs, and if they did, the data they'd receive would be so massive and 99.9% of it would be useless. It could be used for targeted eavesdropping, though.
Steven manages a band for a living, and he got snookered into adding someone to be an Admin on their Facebook band page. Now the real admins have been removed from the group and they lost ownership to the page. Leo says that all you can do is contact Facebook and ask them to restore ownership to the page. It's important to remember that hackers will use urgency to trick you. So when you get unexpected messages, take a deep breath and confirm the source. You should also check and deauthorize any apps associated with the page.
Larry has an android phone and sometimes he gets an email message that comes out vertically, rather than horizontally. Leo says that sounds like a bad html format. Leo suggests trying another Gmail app called Inbox. Leo likes it better anyway. If it's not happening there, then it's fixed. If it is, then look in your accessibility settings. It could also be so many indents from replying that it's causing bad formatting.
Howard's Windows computer thinks he's in China when he uses Skype. Leo says to go into your Windows region settings and check the location setting. By default Skype will self populate the location for you. There could be a problem with his IP address. There's probably a batch of IP addresses that used to belong to an ISP in China and it's associating with it. Your ISP should be able to fix that if you request a new IP address. You can also just unplug your router and then plug it back in and it will get reassigned. Check out MaxMind.com. They provide IP Address Geo Location.
Darryl is getting messages to upgrade Adobe Flash on his Mac. Leo says do not reply to any message to upgrade your Flash, do directly to Adobe and get the update there. Hackers can compromise websites to include a bit of code to get you to click on a link. It's called a Phishing scam. Flash auto updates now. Or you can use Google Chrome and it will auto update as well. So never click on a link that offers to install an update to flash for you. It's a scam. Another thing you can do is redownload your browser, delete them and reinstall. That will renew certificates.