security

How can I keep my new computer secure online?

James from Newberry Park, CA

Episode 1133

James just bought a new computer and he's concerned that Microsoft Security Essentials won't be good enough. Leo says that Microsoft Security Essentials works just fine, but he will have to keep it updated and constantly patch Windows. If he's not patching Windows with updates, even Essentials won't be able to protect him completely. Other things he can do is:

New Vulnerabilities Discovered on Operating Systems

Episode 1133

Root Pipe and Wire Lurker are two new vulnerabilities hitting computers. Root Pipe is hitting OS X but Leo says it can only be activated by someone sitting at your computer, so it shouldn't really be a huge cause of concern. Meanwhile, the Nigerian scam has been reported to have caused over $12 Billion in loses last year.

Meanwhile, a new report says that consumers are reaching "breach fatigue" over all the security breaches that have happened of late.

How can I recover my Windows 7 administrator password?

Episode 1128

Kal from Erie, PA
Password

Kal took Leo's advice and created a second user account for his wife, so she wouldn't be using the administrator account for day to day use. But then he lost the administrator password. Leo says there are bootable discs that he can use to reset the password. Here's a support document from Microsoft that will help him reset the password. He can use another computer to create this disc.

Can I replace my computer with a tablet?

Episode 1125

Tara from Venice, CA
Acer Chromebook

Tara has a lot of computer stuff that she really doesn't need. Can she use an iPad and still do online banking securely? Leo says Tara can, but it's more dependent on the security of the bank than the iPad. If the bank's security is up to date, then absolutely she can do it. Leo also says she can keep her Wi-Fi and use a Wi-Fi enabled Chromebook instead. It's essentially a browser based computer with nothing else. Just about everything she does is online these days, and that makes the Chromebook an excellent and secure alternative.

How can I bypass a hard drive lock?

Episode 1122

"Old Geek in the Bronx" from New York
Hard drive

"The Old Geek in the Bronx" has an issue with a computer repair that the Geek Squad did, where they password protected the hard drive preventing access to the system. The Geek Squad denies they did it! Leo says that searching for "cracking a locked hard drive" on Google, he can find some solutions. Dell says they can unlock a hard drive if he would ship it to them. Hard drive passwords are very secure and difficult to break. And he'll probably have to buy gold support from Dell to do it, but he can.

Does Facebook really have full access to my smartphone?

Mark from Anaheim, CA

Episode 1120

Leo says yes, this is true, but it isn't something to worry about. Both Apple and Android require that developers request permission to do things on the smartphone. Apps can request to have access to the phone dialer, texting, microphone and more. It does cause concerns among users primarily because they don't know why these apps are requesting such permissions. For example, in order to use Facebook Messenger to make a phone call or send out a text, the app needs access to the phone's operating system to do it. Otherwise the app won't have that functionality.