Wired Magazine is reporting that hackers have managed to encode a computer virus into DNA, which can then infect any computerized instrument that is used to analyze the strand. If hackers are now creating malware in our DNA, how can it be fought? Fortunately, though, it's not a very practical or widespread application. Yet.
Security experts found a piece of malware on the Mac which could have been around for years since it was written in an old Apple language called Pearl. Apple has immediately patched the problem, but Leo says a second version may still be active. The malware affects up to 90% of Mac users.
The news came out this week that Kaspersky AntiVirus may be linked to Russian spying of both the Russian Government and the FSB. Kaspersky has responded by offering free antivirus in the hope that people will see that as a legitimate solution. Leo wants to know if anyone will use it. It could contain time released malware that could wreak havoc.
Steven got a virus on his computer and it keeps coming back. The tech says they are getting into his computer through his IP address. Leo says that they don't know what they're talking about. He can't get it that way and if they're trying to sell him software to fix it, then he needs to find a new technician to repair his computer.
Leo suggests trying Geek Squad at Best Buy. They're a good place to start. At least it's a technician that's local, that he can visit. But at the end of the day though, his best defense is his online behavior.
Petya is the latest ransomware hitting millions of computers around the world. Most infected computers are in the Ukraine, where "patient zero" is believed to be. From there it branched out to Russia, Poland, Italy and Germany. It takes advantage of the same flaws in Windows 10 that WannaCry did. Fortunately, it hasn't really hit the U.S. yet, but we'll see more infections as time goes on. Our CIA intelligence service discovered it and didn't say anything because it could use it to spy on others.
Jeff is getting strange random key strokes appearing in his browser bar. Leo says to try a different browser. Windows comes with both Edge and Internet Explorer. If it happens in both browsers, it could be a failing keyboard. Jeff should unplug his keyboard and try a new one. If he still has the issue, then it's a Windows problem, which could be malware or a browser hijack. He could try resetting his browser first. If that solves the problem, then he's fine. If not, then it may be that he'll need to reinstall Windows from a known good source.
Gloria uses Windows 7 and she's confused whether she uses Windows Defender or Microsoft Security Essentials. Leo says that for Windows 7, she'll need Security Essentials. But it was renamed to Windows Defender for Windows 10. She can get Microsoft Security Essentials at support.microsoft.com to download it.
Carlos is getting a popup telling him he's been hacked. He's got OS X Lion on his Mac. Leo says that there's a new thing called "ScareWare" which makes people think they have been hacked or have a virus and it won't let them exit the browser until they call a number. But in reality, it's just a popup that's designed to scare people into calling so that they can convince them to install a remote app that will allow the to do something to "fix" it.
Image: SecureList / AO Kaspersky Lab
Mary has an old XP computer and she's worried about getting the WannaCry virus. Can she get a patch to protect herself? Leo says that Microsoft has ended life for Windows XP, but did make a patch for it and she can go into Updates and get it. But according to Leo, 98% of infected computers with WannaCry are Windows 7 computers. So XP isn't even on the radar. It doesn't hurt to be safe, though.