malware

Why is Windows 7 taking so long to update?

Episode 1353

Bob from Pennsylvania
Windows Update

Bob's friend has a computer who's Windows 7 update is taking forever to install. Leo says that Microsoft has patched it seven times to try and and speed it up and in 2016 they finally fixed the issue. Chances are, an update failed and that's what caused the logjam. It also could be malware that disabled the update utility without his knowledge. Leo recommends clearing all the updates and starting over.

If I opened an email I didn't know, could I be hacked?

Ann from Studio City, CA

Episode 1350

Ann got an email notification from Yahoo in her inbox. She had a hunch it was bogus but didn't do anything with it. Can she still get hacked if she opens it but doesn't click on any links? Leo says that a bad guy has to get her to run a program. Leo says that opening the email is relatively harmless, so long as she doesn't click on any links.

How can I tell a phony email from a legitimate one?

Michael from Newcastle, PA

Episode 1347

Mike wants to know how to tell a real email from a phishing email. Leo says to hover over any link that would send him to a website, and see if the link is legitimate. He should never click on it. If it says to install something, or even asks for a credit card, don't do it. That's usually the first sign of an intent to do something nefarious.

Should I buy a Lenovo laptop?

Episode 1344

Dave from Escondido, CA
Google Pixel

Dave has been Christmas shopping online and he found a great deal on a laptop with 16GB of RAM and dual drives with an SSD and a spinning drive. Leo says it's similar to the Mac Fusion drive, where it has the performance of an SSD and the storage space of a spinning drive. Dave is worried that Lenovo has put malware on it, though. Leo says that it was the Superfish adware, and Lenovo got caught doing that -- twice. They have since learned their lesson. Leo likes the Ideapad and at $749, it's a great deal.

Is it safe to update my browser to read an HTML file?

Rick from Glendora, CA

Episode 1335

Rick has a free file viewer, and it's asking to update the HTML. Leo says don't trust that. HTML is the language of the web and the browser reads it. He doesn't need a special "update" to view it. The first thing Rick needs to do is run Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool. He can do this by pressing Windows Key + R, then typing "MRT" and hitting enter. He should do the full scan.

Could a repair shop install monitoring software on my computer?

Wallace from Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Episode 1325

Wallace took his computer into a repair shop, and now he's concerned that they could have put monitoring software on his computer. This is a legitimate concern, and often times it happens remotely with people calling that claim to be from Microsoft or something. If someone has physical access to the system, though, all bets are off. Taking a computer into a repair shop is an absolute act of trust. There's not much he could do about it, though, if he needed to bring it in. There's no certification process or national organization of computer techs, so he'd just have to trust them.

Why are the graphics on my PC getting large right before it crashes?

Dave from Canyon Lake, CA

Episode 1326

Dave upgraded to a Windows 10 Acer PC and his graphics are too large. Then it crashes, causing him to have to reboot. Leo says that's a common video driver issue. Leo says Dave needs to make sure he has the latest drivers from Acer. What Dave needs to do is figure out which video card he has, whether it's a dedicated video card or an integrated video card. He should look in the Device Manager to see the list of hardware. Then once he has that information, he should go to the Acer website and download the drivers. It could be via video card or machine model number.

Are third party download sites safe?

Mike from Fountain, CO

Episode 1325

Mike says that Carbonite has created a new service for an additional $10 for mirror imaging. It's a great value. Leo agrees. Being able to restore from an off site image can be beneficial no matter where he is.

Mike downloaded an app from Downloads.com and now he keeps getting other apps added. Leo says that's why he should never, ever download from a third party site because they always add other stuff. It's how they make money and Leo says it's akin to malware.

(Disclaimer: Carbonite is a sponsor)