Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
There's a botnet called "Reaper" that has been growing at an alarming rate. It's a network of compromised devices, mostly routers, that is likely in the millions. We don't know who is doing this, or who's controlling it, and we can't stop them from doing it. It's sophisticated enough that it could be a nation and not just an individual. We still have no idea what it could be used for, either.
Dean installed Norton but he's having trouble with it. Leo says that Windows 10 has Defender built in and it's probably running. Antivirus software won't work well when there's more than one antivirus installed. So Dean should remove the Norton one with the Norton Remove tool. If he has trouble using the removal tool, he should run in Safe Mode with Networking. That will prevent additional drivers from loading and should make it easier to remove it. He should also make sure he uses the right removal tool. Norton has several different ones depending on the utility it is.
Carlos wants to know about biometric behavioral passwords. Leo says that the idea has been around for awhile. Google uses gate analysis to know if you're the one holding the phone. It could be the future.
Tom wants to know where he can find a YubiKey, and whether or not it's accessible for the blind. Leo says they are accessible, and he can get it at yubico.com. This is a little USB device that plugs into a USB port, and the computer sees it as a keyboard. The YubiKey will light up, and then press the button on the key. Just make sure the cursor is in the correct field that it will need to fill, and it will fill in the password. This doesn't work for an iPhone, however, because it doesn't have a USB port.
Joe wants to know about the Tiny Hardware Firewall. Leo says it's a clever solution for those who want to use open Wi-Fi hotspots safely. Tiny Hardware Firewall will give him an additional layer of protection by encrypting all of his Wi-Fi traffic with a virtual private network. Leo adds that it also adds another layer called the Black Hole Cloud service which gives users their own cloud server. This makes it lightning fast. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is about $35, plus a fee for their VPN, which could be about $100 a year.
Avast/Piriform has confirmed that its popular CCleaner app has been infected with malware for the last several months and that users who have used it may have had their computer's compromised. Avast says they believe that they've fixed the problem and that no users have been harmed by the hack. But Leo says he worries about the term "we believe," and this is yet another reason why using these kinds of apps to protect yourself gives you a false sense of security.
David's mother received a call from a scammer that asked for her Admin password, which she gave out. After that, they deactivated David's admin account. Leo says the computer is compromised and recommends reinstalling Windows while educating his mother about scammers and sensitive information.
Avast has installed something called "Grime Fighter" and it's taken over Scott's computer. What can he do? Leo says this is why he's not in favor of using third party antivirus software anymore. They give you a false sense of security and it can open up additional vulnerabilities. Leo suspects that Grime Fighter is not from Avast, but instead is pretending to be. At this point, the only thing you can really do is back up your data, format your hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known good source. And if you must have an AVS, use Microsoft's own Windows Defender.
Johnny Jet is in Texas for the opening of the NFL at Cowboys Stadium, plus he's going to a Rangers game as well. There, he found out that ballpark nachos were invented at Arlington Stadium. With Hurricane Irma bearing down, Johnny has put together some great information on resources. Check it out here - http://www.johnnyjet.com/hurricane-irma-travel-resource-page/.
Brad's mother has been getting calls from "Microsoft" saying that her computer may be hacked. Is that legit? Leo says it's a scam. They use a robot dialer to randomly call numbers out of the phone book and will try and get victims to install something or give them remote access to the computer. Once they have that, the game is up. Microsoft will NEVER call you.