Ryan wants to know how would he know if his computer had been hacked. Leo says that he can always scan his computer with antivirus software and with Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool. In many cases, hackers are getting around that by moving their malware into routers and other "internet of things" devices. This is why updating the router's firmware is vital.
Jim is wondering if he has a virus. He tried to erase old PDF files and folders and got an error that Windows couldn't. Leo says that some viruses can survive a format, but they're unusual, and are not easily accessible in folders on Windows. They're usually hiding in the Master Boot Record or in the memory of the video card. It's probably just a precautionary message.
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.
Jennifer's computer has been displaying a message that her computer has been blocked unless she calls a number. Leo says it's probably a popup from the browser. There's nothing wrong with her computer -- it's a scam. She should just clear her browser cache, then reboot the computer and it should be fine.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jim's dad gets bit by malware often and has to wipe his hard drive several times a year. How can he stay protected? Leo says a great option is to get him a Chromebook. They're more secure, simpler to use, and if all he's doing is surfing and email then a Chromebook is ideal.
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.