It should go without saying that having a current backup of your computer is an essential preventative measure in case the worst happens. But there's another very simple step you can take that can potentially save you a lot of headache -- create a secondary administrator account. Make sure that account is pure and is in the default Mac or Windows configuration.
Mark wants to know if password vaults are safe and what the best one is to get. Leo says yes, they are best because they generate impossible to remember passwords and keep track of them, so Mark would only have to remember the one password to open his vault. Leo uses LastPass. There's also 1Password. It's a valuable tool that everyone should use.
Frank has been using the same password for years and now suddenly the password won't work on his Windows Surface. Could the hard drive be going out? Leo says that it's more likely a keyboard issue. He should check the CAPS lock, SCROLL lock and NUM lock to make sure they aren't enabled. Another thing to do is enable the feature that will allow him to see his password as he types it.
Mike is worried about the Turkish Crime Family's iCloud hack. If he changes his password, couldn't they just hack it again to get them? Leo says that Apple has said it hasn't been hacked, and even if it had been, the hackers would have to "rehack" the system to get them. If Mike has turned on two factor authentication, they can't use his password anyway.
It's annoying to use two-factor, but it's the best last line of defense to prevent his account from being compromised. Also, he can use his TouchID on a new MacBook Pro and his iOS devices to insure verification.
The Turkish Crime Family is threatening to release hundreds of millions of iCloud account names and passwords if Apple doesn't pay them a ransom of millions of dollars. To prove it, they gave ZDNet 54 samples to confirm it. Apple, however, says they have never been hacked. But Leo says it's important for iCloud users to change their passwords just in case. While you're at it, if you haven't turned on two factor authentication, it would be a good idea to do that as well.
Kirk created an administrator password and has forgotten it. Leo says that if he created it with his Microsoft account, he can recover it. But if he didn't, then there are ways to crack a Windows 10 login. He can use OphCrack or ConBoot to get around it. Here's a few articles to can show him how:
Every time Charles tries to open Gmail on his Google Nexus, it wants him to sign in. He's suspicious that someone may have hacked his account. Leo says that there's a lot of reasons to be advised of that, but it's always wise to run Google's Security Checkup just to be safe. It'll tell him what devices are connected to his account and also input a second factor authentication warning.
Greg lost his iPhone and wants to know how to use Find My iPhone to locate it. Leo says as long as Find My iPhone is turned on, he should be OK. If it was put it in Airplane Mode, it won't broadcast because the radios are turned off, though. It's probably lost, and even if someone could find it, Greg has a complicated password and it'll wipe the device after 10 attempts.
Yogi uses a text file to store all his passwords. It's encrypted, and his passwords are randomly generated. He then cuts and pastes the password to enter it. Is that safe? Leo says yes. If his computer has a key logger, it can't read a cut and paste like it can his typing. An easier way, though, would be a password manager like LastPass or 1Password. Steve Gibson also has a password generator at grc.com/passwords
Freddie's brother in law died and he's trying to get into his Linux laptop to settle his estate, but he doesn't have password. Leo says that if he can get into recovery and read the hard drive, then he's OK. He could have also encrypted the hard drive to make it impossible to get into it. Since he didn't do that, though, it may be possible to bypass it with single user mode and run with root access by pressing CTRL + S on startup. Or, Freddie can get third party software that can find the password and crack it. Google "Linux Unlock Disc." There's also an option for emergency access.