Security and Privacy

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

Do I need the LastPass app to use it on my phone?

Episode 1492

Manny from Vero Beach, FL
LastPass

Should he use LastPass on his phone? Does he need the app? Leo says that the app is just a convenience, but it's not really necessary. Android will autofill apps with LastPass, iOS not so much.

Manny also wants to know if Sonos will adopt Dolby Atmos at Home as a standard. Leo says they haven't. Atmos has that upward firing speaker design for the home, but so far, Sonos hasn't adopted it.

(Disclaimer: LastPass is a sponsor)

How can I securely wipe a computer hard drive?

Episode 1490

Julie from Valencia, CA
Hard drive

Julie recently lost her job after 25 years, and now she has to return the laptop she used. She needs to wipe it first, though. Leo says that laptop is company property and everything on it belongs to them, even if she has personal things saved on it. There is no way they can prevent her from doing it, but Leo advises talking to an attorney before she does.

Is my DNA safe with testing companies?

Episode 1490

Steven from San Antonio, TX
DNA

Steven wants to know if doing DNA analysis is safe and secure. How does he make sure that information is protected? Leo says that's a good question, and people do have the right to have their information protected. 23andMe, for instance, has a privacy policy that users must agree to, and they are very committed to keeping it secure.

(Disclaimer: 23andMe is a sponsor)

What's the best 2-factor authentication app?

Episode 1490

Tom from St. Louis, MO
Authy

Tom heard that Authy is better than Google Authenticator. Is that true? Leo says that any authenticator will be better than no authenticator at all, especially when keeping password vaults protected. Most services offer 2 factor authentication now, but the danger there is that some SIMs can be duplicated or even hijacked with some creative social engineering. In fact, the authenticator can be re-routed. Authy sends a secret number and combines it with a time of day (hashing) that changes after 30 seconds.

Twitter Error Results in Passwords Being Stored in Plain Text

Episode 1486

Twitter login

Twitter sent an email to its 330 million users recommending that they change their passwords. This is because of an error that caused user passwords to be stored unencrypted and in plain text. While this was a big flaw, Twitter is being praised for disclosing the information immediately so users can take action to protect their accounts.

Read more at Reuters.com.

What do I do when I get a popup to update Flash?

Episode 1486

Bill from Rainbow City, AL
Adobe Flash

Bill has had a problem with a popup saying he needs to update his Flash. Leo says that's a phishing scam designed to get him to install Malware. Luckily, Windows Defender usually sees it and removes it because it's an old tactic. But if it didn't, it may be really difficult to get rid of the malware. Usually, the best thing to do is backup his data, format the hard drive, and then reinstall and update Windows. Never accept gifts from strangers. He shouldn't download from someone he doesn't know. He should always go directly to the source if he thinks he needs to update something.

How can I encrypt and anonymize my web use?

Episode 1485

Jim from Indianapolis, IN
Anonymous

Jim called in to talk about how the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring not only the free press, but also bloggers, podcasters, and vloggers. Jim wonders if he should use a VPN as a hedge against that. Leo says that while anonymizing his content is a natural reaction, and while a VPN could be a useful tool, but it's not a privacy tool. In fact, encrypting his traffic shines a light on him more than just being a part of the "background noise." Also, a VPN only encrypts the traffic along the way.

Signatures Will No Longer Be Required on Credit Cards

Episode 1479

https://pixabay.com/en/credit-card-signature-credit-card-1211408/

Now that pin numbers have been associated with credit cards via the chip, the major credit card companies have announced that effective today, they will no longer require a signature when using a credit card. Leo says that's not only not surprising, but merchants rarely check anyway. But those who do, can still require it for their own records.

Credit card signatures are ending in the US on April 13th