phishing

Examine the Layout of a URL to Check its Legitimacy

When you want to find out if you should stay away from typing in a suspicious and possibly fake web address, check the URL's TLD (top-level domain) which should imply whether the site is legitimate or not. For example, if a web address reads Google(dot)com/blahblah then it is a legitimate Google page. However, bad guys can spoof Google and create an address like Google(dot)badguy(dot)com which may easily deceive many victims at first glance. Always be cautious of deceptive URLs and links that can infiltrate your device if clicked.

How can I protect myself from identity theft?

ID Fraud

Episode 1559

Mara from Los Angeles, CA

Mara was a victim of identity theft, and just narrowly avoided having her brokerage account drained. Leo says that Mara should change her password and turn on 2 factor authentication right away. Leo suspects the bad guys got her information from a database breach like the Collection #1 or the Marriott hack. Leo also suggests going to haveIbeenpwned.com/passwords and see if her passwords have been compromised and are known.

WannaCry is the Latest Phishing Ransomware Attack

WannaCry

Episode 1389

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?

Episode 1322

Ellen from Santa Monica, CA

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?

Episode 1285

Anne from Orange County, CA

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?

Episode 1285

Kevin from California

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?

Episode 1216

John from Arizona

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?

Episode 1185

Diane from Encino, CA

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.