Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
David wants to know if he's secure surfing the internet on his mobile device. Leo says that nothing is unhackable, but LTE is encrypted and very secure. A phone can be hacked, even at the radio level, though. It's also possible for someone to spoof his SIM card. But it's too much work for the average hacker. It would have to be a state level attack in order to accomplish it. Wi-Fi is less secure, and if he's relying on WPA2 or any other Wi-Fi connection, it's possible to hack it. But that's not easy, either. Odds are, there's really not all that much to worry about.
David is thinking about installing a home VPN. Leo says he understands the security concerns, but he won't like using it for very long. It will really slow down his bandwidth. Leo recommends a service called CloudFlare. It changes his DNS to 220.127.116.11, and then masks his traffic so his ISP doesn't know where he's going. He can set it at the router level and he will protect every device in his house.
John has a Lenovo X5 and he put a special PIN code password into his computer. Now it won't accept the code because of the special characters he used. It also won't accept his fingerprint ID. Leo says that there should be an option to recover his account with his Microsoft ID. He should go to another computer and sign onto his Microsoft account to make sure it's working and valid. He can reset it with a new login, just in case. Then he should see if the recovery option appears.
Ilya spends a lot of time traveling and wants to know if Remote PC is a good way to access his computer to surf. Leo says you can, but it could be slower than using a VPN. It really comes down to your bandwidth, and what VPN service you're using. You'd certainly be more secure with a remote access product or VPN. But that doesn't mean a host nation won't see what you're doing. They'll at the very least be suspicious as to why you're using an encrypted app. So avoid authoritarian countries when using it. Leo also recommends the Ubakey.
Brown sees a TV commercial about the "Fix It Stick" which promises to clean up your computer. Is it worth it? Leo says the idea isn't all that bad, because you can boot to an external drive and then scan and clean your computer of viruses. But it really comes down to what antivirus tool they use. But you can do all that for free. So make your own!
Steve recently installed Norton AntiVirus off his Windows Vista machine, and now he's having all sorts of trouble. Now he gets a master boot record error. Leo says that's the file that starts up the computer and it's damaged. And there's also a other problems Steve is dealing with. This is why Leo hates Norton. Norton can quarantine system files and that messes up the entire works. You also probably didn't uninstall all of Norton, either. At this stage, you need to just bite the bullet and reinstall Windows. And do it with Windows 10 while you're at it. Another option is to use Linux.
Jay's mother is having issues with her bank, that here ATM card is getting accessed over and over again, even though the bank has reissued the card with a separate number. How can that be and what can he do? Leo says that a smaller bank may have lackluster security. Protections are much better on credit cards, than debit cards. You can only be on the hook for $50 with a credit card. With a debit card, the limits are higher. Always keep possession of your debit card and use a credit card for other options, like online purchases, or eating out.
Dan is going to be in a hotel for a few weeks while his apartment complex is being renovated.How can he be secure with Wifi? Leo says that a portable travel router like the Tiny Hardware Firewall will keep you good and protected. But if you turn your phone into a wifi hotspot, you're just as secure because it's encrypted, especially on GoogleFi.
The latest scam to hit the interwebs is an email saying that you've been hacked and spied upon, viewing porn online and unless you send thousands in Bitcoin, they will send the information to everyone you know. If an email plays upon your fear or strong emotions, don't fall for it!
Read more at krebsonsecurity.com.
Tom has a friend who gave a technician remote access after calling a number in a popup ad for his Echo. Leo says he fell victim to a scam and there's a good chance that his computer is infected with malware, a key logger, remote access trojans, the works. At this point, the only safe thing to do is backup the data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known, safe source, then update. Only then can he be sure his computer is safe.