Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
Neil is worried that the VPN Filter hack will affect his Asus router because his model isn't protected. Should he be worried? Leo says first thing he can do is update his firmware. Asus keeps their firmware up to date regularly and uses open source DD-WRT firmware. So if there isn't one, he can patch it himself. But Asus routers are great because they update them constantly. Neil should reload the most current firmware, even if he has already updated it. That will wipe out any additional problems.
Jose is concerned about being snooped on when using public Wi-Fi. What can he do to protect himself? Leo says the first thing to do is turn on hard drive encryption. That will keep his data safe should his laptop get stolen. But for just being on a public Wi-Fi, VPNs can be beneficial. VPN stands for "Virtual Private Network," and all of the traffic that goes through it is encrypted. It's like a secure tunnel through the internet. Most web pages are encrypted now, though, so no one could see his activity on those sites anyway.
Ron has messed up his Outlook. Now he can't see any images in the body of the email, and it won't download any graphics. Leo says that's a good thing! Outlook disables downloading jpgs by default because they can be hacked to include malware. That's called HTML email and it's a bad idea. So he'd have to opt-in to enable it, but Leo wouldn't. Plain text emails are always best. But if he really wants to, he can go into the Trust Center and change the settings.
Mike's personal laptop was hacked by someone at work. He also believes that person is stalking him. Leo says that from a technological point of view, it would be wise to wipe the PC completely and reinstall Windows. But he'd also recommend contacting the police.
VPNFilter has compromised over 500,000 routers in the US and can only be wiped if you reboot the router. It can also affect a vast array of routers. To find out if your router is vulnerable, check out this list at symantec.com.
While you're at it, it may be a good time to update your router firmware too.
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)
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.
(Disclaimer: 23andMe is a sponsor)
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 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.