malware

Did malware break my laptop?

Episode 1383

Janet from Santa Monica, CA
Apple MacBook Air

Janet has a 2014 MacBook Air and she's got malware. Leo says it's very rare to get malware on the mac, so it's unlikely. Janet is getting redirected to other sites. That's a browser hijack, not a virus. It's malware, but it's browser level malware. The laptop has also died as a result. Leo says that hardware can die, especially a laptop that's being carried around. A MacBook Air may be more prone because it's so thin. It could also just be a bad logic board or diode on it. It's not related to the malware/browser hijack issue, though. It doesn't work that way.

Has my browser been hijacked?

Episode 1383

Doug from St. Louis, MO
Chrome Reset

Doug's in laws are getting popups in Chrome using Facebook that malware is on their machine asking them to download something. Leo says that is a fishing scam trying to get them to download and install something. Leo suspects that there is a malicious extension in Chrome that is causing it. Leo suggests resetting Chrome to wipe out everything. They'll have to reinstall the extensions, but it's the only way to be sure. They should go to Settings and search for Reset. That'll make it go away.

Has my computer been hacked?

Episode 1382

Art from California
Hacker

Art opened his computer and something took control of Chrome and wouldn't let him shut down the app or his computer. Has he been hacked? Leo says not to panic. It's likely a javascript instruction that hacked a website. He can always force quit his browser to get out of it. He can do that by pressing Ctrl-Alt-Delete to open the task manager for Windows. On macOS, press Option-Command-Escape and Force Quit the app.

PDoS Attack Bots Are Destroying Poorly Secured Devices

Episode 1378

We're familiar with DDoS attacks, which are "Distributed Denial of Service" attacks, but there's a new form of attack that's been happening online lately. It's called PDoS, or "Permanent Denial of Service," which actually bricks the device, destroying it permanently. The rationale is that if these devices weren't bricked, someone else would use it for a DDoS attack.

Should I call the 800 number on a popup?

Episode 1379

Lisa from Palo Alto, CA
Hacker

Lisa went to a website and she got a pop up notification that her computer was infected and to call an 800 number to Microsoft. Leo says not to ever call them -- just exit the popup and move on. It's not infected and those popups are designed to insnare users. It's called a phishing scam. Lisa did it anyway, though, and gave them control of a computer. Leo says that's bad news because she doesn't really know what the hacker's done. He can install viruses on her or turn it into a bot, a keystroke logger, and use remote access to turn on her camera.

Can the Fix Me Stick remove viruses?

Jimmy from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1368

Jimmy wants to know if the Fix Me Stick can remove viruses from his computer. Leo says don't get since it won't provide you with anything additional that you can already download from the internet. The most important thing to look for in antivirus software is the frequency of updates. You can also make your own "fix me stick". Antivirus software gives you a false sense of security. Windows existing security software is adequate and updated often. It's best to practice safe computing. Don't click on links and don't take candy from strangers. Be smart online.

Do I have a virus?

Paul from Rochester, NY

Episode 1368

Paul got a notice through Malware bytes that he a virus, but he can't seem to get rid of it. It keeps coming back. What gives? Leo says that it may not be malware at all. it could be a false positive. But the only real way to get rid of it, if it is, is to back up your data and reinstall windows from a known good source. You could also reboot into safe mode, then remove it. That could enable it to be removed without reloading. But Leo's betting it's not malware at all. Sometimes Malware bytes causes more trouble.