Security and Privacy

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

Has China Hacked All Our Corporations?

Episode 1529

According to Bloomberg, China added a tiny chip, about the size of a grain of rice, to network motherboards that would allow China to Spy on corporations. The chip was discovered by Amazon Security, which notified federal authorities. The servers were created by Chinese company Elemental, and are on everything from network business servers to NAVY WARSHIPS. Investigators have discovered that the chips were installed by the PRC at the manufacturing plant. But here's the twist ... everyone is now denying it.

Should I renew my antivirus subscription?

Antivirus

Episode 1528

Bob from Ventura, CA

Bob has noticed that Leo hasn't been advocating for antivirus software lately, and his subscription is expiring. Should he renew it? Leo says that most malware hacks are Zero Day now, and security programs aren't really effective against them. Antivirus software even can cause problems. In general, antivirus software isn't really worth subscribing to. Windows Defender is free and offers protection that is perfectly fine. The best defense is his online behavior, and keeping the OS updated.

Have my email accounts been hacked?

Email

Episode 1526

Linda from Colorado

Linda thinks her email accounts on Google and Yahoo have been hacked. She tried to log in, and it says "account no longer exists." What can she do? Rich says she may or may not have luck recovering it because Google has billions of accounts, and there's no deal tech support. Here's a good place to start to recover her account: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/7682439?hl=en.

Is surfing the internet on LTE secure?

4G LTE

Episode 1522

David from El Monte, CA

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.

Will a VPN keep my web traffic private?

Episode 1522

David from Anaheim, CA

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 1.1.1.1, 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.

How can I recover my Windows 10 password?

Windows 10

Episode 1521

John from Dana Point, CA

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.

Is a VPN faster than remote access?

Episode 1520

Ilya from Los Angeles, CA

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.

What happened to my computer after uninstalling Norton?

Episode 1520

Steve from Bellflower, CA

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.

How can I protect my ATM card?

Episode 1517

Jay from North Carolina

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.