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Episode 1457 January 27, 2018

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Mark from South Carolina Comments

Mark wants to know if Amazon Echo is going to be used in cars. Leo says it will. In fact, Leo just installed one in his. And we'll soon see Google's Assistant there, too. It's the next big thing in computing. Mark is also concerned that Echo could be used to spy on him. Leo says that's possible. But Leo doesn't think Amazon wants to manage all that information and the risk to its business if it was discovered that Amazon was snooping on customers would be devastating. But then again, law enforcement could always subpoena to have access to it. In the end, it's only triggered by a certain word and it's monitored by an algorithm and artificial intelligence. Plus, we're talking only a few minutes of listening per day.

Watch Brad from Wells, NV Comments

Brad accidentally downloaded some malware, but he can't find it to remove it. Leo says downloading a file is only half the equation. He then would have to run it. Since he can't find it, even in his download log, it's likely it was a failed download. On top of that, Brad runs a Mac, so he's even more secure than Windows. But he should always make sure he keeps his computer updated, just in case.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Ed from Clairemont, OK Comments

Ed set up two-factor authentication on his Mac. But it when he logs into his Apple account, it sends the two-factor authentication code to his Mac. How can that be secure? Leo says it isn't. Apple's idea of two-factor authentication is kind of interesting. The argument is, if he has the password, and he controls the hardware the two-factor code is sent to, then there's a good chance that he is who he says he is. But it would be much better to send it to the smartphone.

Ed also wants to know why his GPS location isn't where he is. Leo says that's likely because Ed's computer doesn't support GPS, so it maps to his nearest ISP IP address.

Watch Gary from Rancho Cucamonga, CA Comments

Leo says there's a new feature in Android Oreo 8.1 — it will let you know how fast a Wi-Fi access point is before joining it. Leo says any password vault should enter his password into the web portal when he signs in. Leo prefers using password vaults to any mechanism offered by the browser or phone itself. Password vaults will remember all of his passwords, and on Android, it will actually fill in the password automatically. Leo prefers LastPass and recommends it to help prevent you from repeating the same password for multiple accounts. LastPass will also generate strong passwords as well. There's also 1Password, and open source solutions like KeePass.

Watch Penny from Long Beach, CA Comments

Penny has an old tower computer that she wants to get rid of. Leo suggests keeping the hard drive and donating the rest of the PC. She tried to boot it up to move the data off the hard drive, but it won't boot. Leo suggests that she check her keyboard connection. Sometimes a computer won't boot if a keyboard isn't properly connected. The BIOS battery or motherboard battery could have died. The hard drive may have gotten stuck. It's called "stiction." Penny should try taking out the hard drive and putting it into an external enclosure to see if she can still read the data.

Watch Dan from Orange County, CA Comments

Dan wants to know if there's an app that will automatically look at his bank account and divide up his expenses to categorize them for taxes. Leo says that spreadsheets were designed with a database feature which will certainly do that. All he needs to do is set it up. There are also spreadsheet templates for Excel and others which are likely available to do what he wants. Leo also says that it may be worth doing with Mint. It's free and has a lot of automatic features.

The chatroom recommends SimplePlanning.net.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Joe from Long Beach, CA Comments

Joe wants to know how effective antivirus software is. Leo says it can work, but it really does give users a false sense of security. Zero Day exploits can still nail people within 24 hours of discovery. They can also expose people to more flaws. That doesn't mean Joe shouldn't have one, though, but Leo recommends not buying anything third party. He should stick with Microsoft's own Defender that comes with Windows 10. Ultimately, though, his online behavior is his last, best line of defense.

Leo says that ESET is also one of the best antivirus programs out there, and they don't have any security issues he knows of. He used to recommend them because they were very lightweight and updated frequently. But he really doesn't need it anymore. Microsoft is on the case with Windows Defender. He should just keep his OS up to date and monitor his own online activity. He shouldn't download things from places he doesn't know. He should also make sure not to click on strange links in emails. Be cautious.

Watch Steve from Maryland Comments

Steve's Dell computer was for the family, but now he wants to just use it for himself. How can he convert his account to admin without losing his data? Leo says it's just a matter of going into his Windows 10 user settings Control Panel and select "administrator" for his account. He'll have to have admin access to do that, but that's how it works. He can get more information how to do this at windowscentral.com.

Watch Charmaine from Costa Mesa, CA Comments

Charmaine wants to know if she can plug Amazon Echo into a surge protector. Leo says of course! Charmaine also worries that it's always listening. Leo says it is, but it doesn't actively listen unless she says one of four words: Amazon, Echo, Alexa, or Computer. It's only listening for those words. Once it hears the wake word, then it turns on the microphone and sends her request.

Watch Richard from Spring Hill, FL Comments

Richard wants to know if he can run Windows off a thumb drive for security. Leo says that's a smart idea and it's not uncommon for Linux users. He should just understand that it will be slower. But it will enable him to simply reboot if something goes wrong. Leo recommends using a disk imaging command to make a disk image onto his thumb drive and then he can just blast it back on when it goes wrong. He can even make it bootable.

Watch Jay from Long Beach, CA Comments

Jay keeps getting a popup when surfing that says he's been infected with a virus. Should he be worried? Leo says no. Chances are, it's the website that has been hacked, and a piece of javascript has been put into that site. If he closes out the website, it simply goes away. It may also end up being some sort of extension that got installed in his browser. Jay should clear out all his extensions and it should solve it. Then Leo recommends installing a plugin called uBlock Origin. That will keep them from popping up.