malware

Why am I unable to update Windows? Do I have a virus?

Mike from Lake Forest, CA

Episode 1072

Mike says his daughter's computer has a virus, and now he can't run Windows update. She was downloading music. Leo wonders what the symptoms were that led Mike to believe he had a virus. It could be a bad sector on a hard drive. Leo advises scanning with an online antivirus checker. Leo also suggests running Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool. Click on "Start," then select "Run,", type "MRT" and hit enter. He should choose to do a thorough scan. He can also try MalwareBytes.org.

How can I run as a "Standard User" in Windows without losing my current account settings?

Sam from Sherman Oaks, CA

Episode 1072

Sam is worried that his Windows computer is running as an administrator. Leo suggests creating a second administrator account that he won't use. Then downgrade his regular account to standard user. He could make them look completely different to tell them apart. Then if he needs to install something, it will ask him to log in as an administrator. Any software that needs him to run as an admin, he can just right click on it, select the "run as admin" option and type in his password. This will protect him from over 90% of all malware trying to get on his system.

Why am I getting warnings about websites being infected?

Michael from Cerritos, CA

Episode 1072

Michael has noticed that he gets a warning that some websites are suspect and it won't let him in unless he agrees to take the risk. Leo says that is a function of Google and Microsoft which searches websites and flags them as being at risk for malware. Leo says it's a good service, and helps prevent malware from poorly designed websites from infecting users, especially on the Windows platform. Forums are frequently bit because they are written in open source and rarely updated. They should fix it, because if Michael is having issues, then everyone is.

How can I get rid of a redirect virus?

Lloyd from Huntington Beach, CA

Episode 1071

Lloyd got a redirect virus. Leo says these days there really isn't an easy way to get rid of a virus because not only is he infected by this virus, but there's usually other viruses that get invited as well. Once it's on the computer, it can be so deeply embedded that any attempt to remove it can disable the operating system. So at the end of the day, the only thing he can really do is back up his data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known, good source. Then he should run all the available updates.

Is an old version of Office safe to use?

Bob from Potsville, PA

Episode 1070

Bob has a very old version of Microsoft Office and he wants to know if it's safe to continue using. Leo says that this week, a "zero day flaw" was found in Microsoft Office through the RTF rendering engine, and hackers have been taking advantage of that. So if there's an update, update it. Leo also says not to use Internet Explorer. Use Google Chrome instead. He should turn off the feature that automatically launches an app when he goes to a website as well. If he's careful, he should be able to keep using his version of Office, though.

How can I get rid of an error in Internet Explorer?

Nate from Las Vegas, NV

Episode 1069

Nate has been having an issue with his computer for a few months using Internet Explorer. Leo says that Windows "Dynamic Linked Library" files (DLL) could have been infected, causing an error and since it's spreading, it's likely to be malware. It could also be that the hard drive is getting a bit flakey and the files are on a bad sector. Or the DLL itself is corrupted. Add-ons may have been installed as well, causing issues. He should remove all of his add-ons, and try resetting his browser. He should also boot into safe mode and see if he has the same problem there as well.

Can computers infect each other from within my network?

Episode 1069

Jeanette from Royal Oak, MI
Network

Jeanette's son's computer was hacked and she's concerned that her Mac computers will be infected if he connects it to her network. Leo says that she should go into the security system preferences and turn on the computer firewall. That will protect her individual computers inside her network. What about her iPad? Leo says that she doesn't really have to worry about the tablet getting infected. Nobody is writing viruses that can infect an iPad from a Windows PC.

How can I get rid of Conduit search?

George from Vero Beach, FL

Episode 1068

George got a nasty piece of malware called "Search Conduit." Leo says that Conduit is bad, even though they swear they're legit. But if it takes over his browser and he can't get rid of it, then it's the very definition of malware. Leo advises downloading MalwareBytes from MalwareBytes.org. If that doesn't work, he should try booting into "Safe Mode" and try it then. If that doesn't work, he should try one of these:

How can I protect myself online with my new computer?

Billy from Redondo Beach, CA

Episode 1068

Billy is getting a new Windows 8 desktop and wants to be sure he sets it up with the proper security. Leo says that Microsoft is now bundling Windows Defender (formerly called Security Essentials) with Windows 8, so he'll be protected as long as he keeps it up to date. There are other things he can do to protect yourself more, though:

More Leaks from Edward Snowden Indicate NSA Plans to Infect Millions of Computers

Episode 1066

Edward Snowden signs

The most recent leak from Edward Snowden is about an NSA program called "Quantum." The Intercept, a publication created to release this information, claims that this quantum tool weaponizes the internet. It is a malware tool that can infect machines at an industrial scale exploitation. The agency has malware tools that could infect millions of computers worldwide that allows them to eavesdrop on the computer's owner. It can covertly record audio from the computer microphone and take pictures from the computer webcam.