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.
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.
Bill has had a problem with a popup saying he needs to update his Flash. Leo says that's a phishing scam designed to get him to install Malware. Luckily, Windows Defender usually sees it and removes it because it's an old tactic. But if it didn't, it may be really difficult to get rid of the malware. Usually, the best thing to do is backup his data, format the hard drive, and then reinstall and update Windows. Never accept gifts from strangers. He shouldn't download from someone he doesn't know. He should always go directly to the source if he thinks he needs to update something.
Karen's computer got taken over by a scammer who convinced her that he was from AOL when she was having trouble with her account. Leo says that gaining control of her computer remotely likely gave him that control and the only thing she can do is backup her data, format her hard drive, and reinstall windows from a known, good source. If one needs help from AOL, contact them directly here - https://help.aol.com/products/new-aol-desktop
Melanie finally managed to get her Gmail fixed. After the computer tech removed malware from her computer, her webcam doesn't work. Leo says that there's a lot of people out there that know a lot about computers and considering how bad tech support has gotten, they can be valuable help. But sometimes they can break more than they can fix, and this is one example of that. Leo suspects that while the tech was cleaning out the malware, the malware attached itself to a file and it was then removed. Or, he wiped out Melanie's browser plugins. It's hard to tell.
Kevin is having issues with his files and folders disappearing in Windows 10. Leo says that obviously that's not supposed to happen. It's easy to accidentally drag a file or folder somewhere without knowing it. He should use the search feature to try and find it again. He should also look in the trash can. If he can't find it there, then it could be a failing hard drive or malware. Some malware will do this. He can run a scan on his computer by pressing Windows Key + CMD and type "MRT" for the malicious software removal tool. Then he should run a full scan.
Nathan gets a lot of "sketchy emails," and he wants to know how he can avoid that. Leo says he really can't avoid it, but most email programs can render any malware written into an HTML formatted email neutral. If he's using his mobile device, there's really no exploits that can hijack the phone. It's possible, but not at all likely. Malware emails are more dangerous in a browser rather than an email client. He can turn off HTML in the settings if that worries him, though.
Sarah is worried she may have malware on her system. She ran malware bytes and it says she has 170 possible malware issues. Leo says that probably isn't the case. Malware Bytes will give false positives, or overreact to things in the browser it doesn't like. Malware Bytes can also slow the computer down. What really probably happened is that her browser simply crashed. Leo suspects that Sarah's hard drive is getting flaky, and is starting to fail. The good news is her computer is only a few months old and she can have it repaired under warranty.