malware

How do I get rid of malware on my computer?

Episode 1136

Linda from El Segundo, CA
Laptop

Linda has a Windows 7 machine that has been infected with malware. Leo says that ultimately, it's probably best to use the recovery discs that came with the computer. Most OEMs don't include original Windows install discs, but usually offer recovery discs. She could try cleaning the malware off, but usually malware invites more viruses, so it's the malware she doesn't know about that she should be concerned about.

New Vulnerabilities Discovered on Operating Systems

Episode 1133

Root Pipe and Wire Lurker are two new vulnerabilities hitting computers. Root Pipe is hitting OS X but Leo says it can only be activated by someone sitting at your computer, so it shouldn't really be a huge cause of concern. Meanwhile, the Nigerian scam has been reported to have caused over $12 Billion in loses last year.

Meanwhile, a new report says that consumers are reaching "breach fatigue" over all the security breaches that have happened of late.

How do I get rid of the Conduit "Search Assistant" on my Mac?

Paul from Virginia Beach, CA

Episode 1130

Paul got nailed by a "search assistant" malware and he can't get rid of it. Leo says the good news is that it probably hasn't wormed it's way too deep. It's probably been installed as an extension into the Mac. He has to be careful because bad guys have made pages alleging to uninstall with a program, when it actually installs more malware.

How can I get rid of the FBI Moneypack virus?

Episode 1129

Rick from Phelan, CA
Virus

Rick bought a new Windows 7 PC. But when he was using Windows XP one last time, he got nailed by the FBI Moneypack virus. Leo says that the FBI is not going to make him buy a gift card at 7-11 and pay them tribute. Since he isn't locked out, he can just backup his data, format the hard drive and reinstall Windows. It's just an annoying malware popup designed to make people worry.

My Gmail account has been hacked: how do I get it back?

Episode 1128

Francine from Palos Verdes, CA
Hacker

Francine's Gmail got hacked and now she's hearing from people she hasn't talked to in years. She knows it was a hack because she's been locked out of her account. Leo says that's the tell tale sign, as hackers will change the password in order to keep it. She ended up paying hundreds of dollars to get her email back. Leo says that Google will never charge to help get email back, and that's the danger of "googling" solutions.

How can I get rid of a browser hijacker that came along with other software I installed?

Episode 1126

Brian from St. Louis, MO
Downloading

Brian wound up getting a browser hijacker. Leo says that's the risk of downloading software these days -- it often will come bundled with other unwanted programs. Typically, during the install, there will be checkboxes for other programs which should be unchecked. It's not technically considered malware, but they were likely obscure in how it was worded and it tricks users into installing these programs. Leo strongly advises against using third party download sites like CNET's Download.com because of this. Only download software from the original developer.

How can I reinstall Windows?

Stephanie from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1124

Stephanie bought a Samsung Windows 7 notebook and it's been a disasterous affair. She wishes she had bought a Mac. Leo says that Apple has a much better way to teach users how to use computers with their One to One teaching. She tried to get tech support with a phone number given to her from friends who used remote desktop and now she got infected. Can she wipe it and start over? Leo says sure, if she has a system recovery disc that came with the computer. She should get her data off first, then wipe the drive and reinstall Windows. And she should make sure she updates it completely.

Did a website crash my hard drive?

Sue from Redondo Beach, CA

Episode 1124

Sue went to a website to watch Bob Dylan live on stage and her computer got "fried." Leo says that there's no website that can short out a computer. And it's not in the interest of a hacker to be that destructive. They want vulnerable computers to exploit them. So it's important to keep the computer updated. She should also update Flash, her PDF reader, drivers, and just about everything can be exploited. Leo also recommends using Google Chrome, because it sandboxes Flash and updates it all the time. So she doesn't even have to install Flash on her system.