Richard got bit by ransomware. He got an email from FedEx saying they couldn't deliver a package and then when he clicked a link, 10 minutes later he got a message saying all his files had been encrypted. They wanted Bitcoin or his data would be lost.
Barbara is getting a message that Windows 7 is preparing to delete her files as soon as she turns on her computer. Leo says that if Barbara has left files in the recycle bin, it may be that when she turns on the computer, it wants to delete the files in the recycle bin because it's full. She should try emptying the recycle bin, assuming she doesn't want anything in it, and then that should solve the popup. If she reboots and the message is still coming up, there could be something wrong with her system.
Brian thinks his Mac got hit by malware. He clicked on a link that took him to a page saying his Adobe Flash player was out of date, and he installed something. Now he thinks he's been busted. Leo says that Chrome has Flash built-in, and it's always updated, so he'll never have an outdated version.
There are a lot of ways that bad actors online can compromise your computer. As their techniques become more sophisticated, it becomes more difficult to know whether or not your system has been compromised. There are some signs to look for, however, to tell if your computer is affected by malware.
You can always scan your computer with antivirus software. Microsoft includes its own antivirus utility as part of Windows 8 and above. You can also use the Malicious Software Removal Tool by pressing the Windows Key + R, typing in "MRT," and pressing enter.
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.