Security and Privacy

Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.

Did I lose my photos?

Episode 1620

Joe from Brea, CA

Joe is a high school computer teacher, and he had scanned a bunch of photographs that he scanned on his computer. He took that folder and moved it to another folder, but it disappeared and was replaced with a file cabinet folder. Leo says that a CAB file is a compressed folder. He searched the entire computer for the folder, and it was gone. Fortunately, he had a backup. But what happened? A virus?

Have I been hacked?

:(

Episode 1617

Ross from Manhattan Beach, CA

Ross is worried he may have been hacked after searching for the Quicken Support number online and calling them. Could he have gotten a phony number? Leo says never Google phone numbers unless you go directly to their website. Leo says that hackers will buy ads for specific search error messages, and it could be that Ross had been compromised after giving them access to scanning the computer. Leo says it would be prudent to scan his system. Before doing that, since Ross is very savvy, he could do a search with Malwarebytes first. Ross did and found nothing. That's good news.

Teen Hacker Discovers Flaw in Educational Software

Black Hat Hackers Logo

Episode 1617

A teenage hacker discovered flaws in his school's educational Blackboard software and presented his findings with the eye of improving security. He made a presentation at the Black Hat Hackers convention in Las Vegas. But while he could have changed his grades, he opted not so. But he did break into a college network to change his admissions status to "accepted" to make a point. And while the software company lauded the teen for discovering the flaws, he was suspended at school.

Why Can't I Encrypt My New Hard Drive Like My Old One?

 T1

Episode 1614

Nancy from Largo, FL

Nancy has T1 drive encryption on her Samsung 1TB hard drive, but she can't see it on her laptop. Leo says she has to install special drivers that will modify the OS to encrypt the hard drive. But Leo doesn't like a third party having that kind of control. Since she had it on her old hard drive, she is aware and still has the password. So she'll have to re-download the software from Samsung. She can get it here

How can I prevent my email from displaying images?

Gmail

Episode 1613

Sam from Eugene, Oregon

Sam has worked hard to minimize his bandwidth by turning off images in his email account. But it the image still flashes briefly, what gives? Leo says that what Sam has discovered is that while the email account isn't displaying the image, it's set to display your email as HTML, and that means it's still downloading them, and that can trigger a virus or exploit. What you need to do is use an email client that only downloads the ASCII text email and not display emails in HTML. That will prevent it. Thunderbird is free and is very good. Turn off HTML and image loading.

How can I get rid of an AntiVirus Software?

Trend Micro

Episode 1613

Josh from Austin, Texas

Alex is trying to get rid of Trend Micro antivirus software on his computer, but it won't go away. Leo says these days, antivirus software can't really be removed by a simple uninstall command. It's too embedded in the system. You need to download and install their removal tool, which will custom remove the antivirus software. Here's where you can get it.

How Does Malware Work?

 Tiny Hardware Firewall

Episode 1612

Manny from Greenwood, Louisiana

Manny got a Tiny Hardware Firewall, and he really likes it for when he's on the road. It was recently updated by THF and he wants to know how often he has to send it in to get updated. Leo says that security flaws have to be acted upon by getting one to click on something so the malware can take advantage of it. Often, so-called zero-day exploits are designed around this, and people have no real way of knowing they've been hacked. But keeping a system and THF patched, will mitigate vulnerability, except for zero-day exploits, which are patched pretty quickly. 

Faceapp Causing Concern to Privacy Advocates and Congress

FaceApp

Episode 1611

The mobile app called FaceApp is causing concern with privacy advocates, and even members of Congress because people are concerned that their photos are being uploaded to servers in Russia. But the developer, who worked for Microsoft when he got the idea, assures that all photos are uploaded to Amazon cloud servers. The bigger concern is that the terms of service grant FaceApp the ownership of your likeness forever. Leo says, though, that it's just legal-speak that's written in the broadest possible terms.

FaceApp Raises Privacy Concerns

FaceApp

Episode 1610

Everyone is up in arms about the app FaceApp and it's privacy concerns. People are concerned because the app will upload your images to a third party server and use them whenever and however they want. Leo says that the server is not in Russia, but is actually Amazon Cloud Services. It also has a boiler plate terms of service that users should pay attention to, that transfers your likeness rights to them to do whatever they want. Period. While technically true, it's also probably true of Instagram, Facebook, and others.