phishing

WannaCry is the Latest Phishing Ransomware Attack

Episode 1389

WannaCry

The latest ransomware attack is called WannaCry and it's spreading via phishing email attacks. The ransomware not only encrypts your data — it also has a built-in kill switch on websites. Security researchers may have crafted a fix to it, but there's a catch. The encryption is done using Microsoft's bit locker, and the fix is to take advantage of a flaw in the cryptographic memory that keeps the keys in RAM so it can harvest them and unlock your data.

Did I get scammed by malware?

Ellen from Santa Monica, CA

Episode 1322

Ellen feels like she got ripped off by Microsoft. She got a popup saying she had a virus and listened to it, then paid $250 for support. Leo says that wasn't microsoft. That was a bad guy. Leo says it was a browser popup and they use that to phish for gullible people to sign up. Microsoft will never, ever do that. It's even worse, though. They likely got remote access and not only do they have her credit card, they have also likely installed more malware on the computer. At this point, Ellen should call the credit card company, reverse the charge and have her card number changed.

Is it safe to be on the internet with Windows XP?

Anne from Orange County, CA

Episode 1285

Anne got an HP Envy wireless printer. Can she use it with an XP Machine? She keeps getting a popup asking for a driver update for something called "Slim Cleaner." Leo says that XP is a security issue because Microsoft has stopped supporting it. There are no fixes for it, and newer hardware won't work quite right with it because manufacturers don't expect people to use it with such old computers. Leo would not recommend banking on an XP machine. When she bought Slim Cleaner, someone actually took over her computer as well. So now there's no way to know exactly what they may have done.

Is my computer safe from hackers?

Kevin from California

Episode 1285

Kevin's mom went to a website and got a virus alert. She then called the phone number on it and they had her install something, which gave them control over her computer. Leo says that's a common scam. They probably installed a virus and maybe even turned her computer into a bot. The worst part is that they took her money and now have her credit card number. She realized her error and called him, though, and Kevin has since changed her passwords. She has trouble remembering passwords. Leo says many do and they end up using the same password over and over.

Would Microsoft ever call me?

John from Arizona

Episode 1216

John is getting phone calls about unusual activity on his computer. He was told it was from Microsoft. Leo says it's a scam, and it's usually done by actual tech support people who moonlight with phishing scams through the Microsoft Event Viewer. The idea is to get users to see the "red x's" that are actually normal events in the viewer. They fool people into to giving them their credit card, charge them $300, and then they use the remote access to install malware on the system.

Has my bank account been hacked by a popup?

Diane from Encino, CA

Episode 1185

Diane got a popup that said she had a virus. She knew it was a scam and closed out her Safari browser and turned off her computer. Then she got a bank notice that her account was compromised. Are those occurrences related? Leo says probably not. Just because a popup tells her she's infected, it doesn't mean she is. The popup was designed to get her to call someone so they can socially engineer her to install something. The bank notice probably was the result of someone who she gave her card to at a restaurant copying her information. Her Mac is safe.

Hackers Steal Millions from Banks

Episode 1162

Back in 2013, in what has been the largest hacking theft in history, hackers used malware to break into the computer networks of several major banks and stole over $300 million worldwide, and could actually be three times as large, the largest theft in history. No bank has come forward claiming they were victims and security firm Kaspersky has been retained to investigate. Leo says these attacks happen all the time and that Banks cover it up to prevent clients losing faith in the institution. How did it happen? It appears to be the old phishing scam with bank employees as the target.

How can I tell if I'm actually being scammed online?

Episode 1150

David from Torrance, CA
Scam site

David got a message from a strange link in Internet Explorer, and he's wondering if it was a legitimate tech support company. Leo says it's very important to look from right to left to see where the link is really coming from. The country code will indicate where it's originating from. Microsoft will never email him about anything, nor will they call. This is a phishing scam from a tech company pretending to be Microsoft in an effort to snag him and get his credit card information or load something malicious onto his machine.