Security and Privacy

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

What should I do about my data if I'm selling my computer?

Episode 1376

Jeff from Valley Village, CA
HDD

Jeff wants to do some spring cleaning by getting rid of some old computers, but is concerned about privacy and the data on the hard drives. Leo says that the easiest thing to do is to simply remove the hard drives. He could also use something like Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) to completely wipe the drive. It erases everything by writing zeros across the drive, and then erases it again. If he does that several times, he'll be safe from everyone save the NSA. Solid State Drives, however, can be easier to get data off of.

ISPs Promise That User Data Is Safe in Spite of New Privacy Rules

Episode 1376

URL

It may not be an April Fool's Joke, but it sounds like one. Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast have moved to assure customers that while Congress has officially passed a law stripping privacy protections from internet users, their data will not be sold and they won't be spying on customers. This begs the question — why did they need the law passed in the first place?

Senate Votes to Overturn FCC Regulation Designed to Protect Privacy

Episode 1375

Senate Building

The Senate has voted to overturn an FCC regulation that was designed to protect customer privacy. The regulation that was put out in October of last year said that internet service providers would have to ask for customer permission before selling personal data, such as browsing history, current location, and more.

Read more at WashingtonPost.com

What's to stop the Turkish iCloud hackers from getting my new password?

Episode 1374

Mike from San Diego, CA
Apple iCloud

Mike is worried about the Turkish Crime Family's iCloud hack. If he changes his password, couldn't they just hack it again to get them? Leo says that Apple has said it hasn't been hacked, and even if it had been, the hackers would have to "rehack" the system to get them. If Mike has turned on two factor authentication, they can't use his password anyway.

It's annoying to use two-factor, but it's the best last line of defense to prevent his account from being compromised. Also, he can use his TouchID on a new MacBook Pro and his iOS devices to insure verification.

Turkish Crime Family Claims It Has Hacked Apple's iCloud

Episode 1374

Apple iCloud

The Turkish Crime Family is threatening to release hundreds of millions of iCloud account names and passwords if Apple doesn't pay them a ransom of millions of dollars. To prove it, they gave ZDNet 54 samples to confirm it. Apple, however, says they have never been hacked. But Leo says it's important for iCloud users to change their passwords just in case. While you're at it, if you haven't turned on two factor authentication, it would be a good idea to do that as well.

Is it safe to sign tax forms over email?

Larry from Petaluma, CA

Episode 1373

Larry has been asked to submit his tax returns electronically, which has a clickable link to electronically sign. He's hesitant, especially since a similar attempt was a phishing scam a few years back. Leo says that Right Signature, Docu Sign, and others give you a secure link to digitally sign. The problem is, how do they verify it's him that clicks on the link and digitally signs? They should be requiring a PIN code, or second factor authentication.

Police Department Gets Search Warrant for Entire Community's Google Searches

Episode 1372

Google logo

The police department in Edina, MN has secured the right to look at people's Google Search history to look for information about a fraud case they were investigating. The legal brief is to cover anyone who searched for the name of the suspect and case, and it could be the entire community.

Leo says it's crazy and that Google should fight this tooth and nail. It's classic government overreach. Leo says he doesn't mind Google's algorithm putting custom ads on his search results, but for a government to ask who searched for something and to get a list is frightening.