security

How can I open XLS files?

Episode 1365

Stan from Irvine, CA
Enable Trusted Documents

Stan is having problems opening XLS files due to an error message from the "Trust Center." It'll open the file, but he can't write back to it or save it to his hard drive. Leo says that is Microsoft's security center for excel spreadsheets because it's possible for bad actors to embed commands into an Excel file. There is a workaround for this. Stan can enable all content in the Excel Trust Center settings. But that can be risky if he's unsure of the content in the file he's opening. If he's sure about it, then he'll be OK.

Has my Gmail account been hacked?

Episode 1362

Charles from Vienna, VA
Gmail Logo

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.

Is smartphone tethering secure?

Episode 1360

David from El Segundo, CA
Tiny Hardware Firewall

David tethers his computer through his mobile device, but he's wondering if it's secure. Leo says it's probably more secure because cell phones are encrypted now. Using the Wi-Fi through his phone is a different matter, if he's at a public hotspot. At that point, his traffic is out in the clear and easily grabbed. If he's going to use a hotspot, Leo advises using the Tiny Hardware Firewall and a VPN. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is like a router that then connects to his phone.

How to Tell If Your Computer Has Been Hacked

There are a lot of ways that bad actors online can compromise your computer. As their techniques become more sophisticated, it becomes more difficult to know whether or not your system has been compromised. There are some signs to look for, however, to tell if your computer is affected by malware.

You can always scan your computer with antivirus software. Microsoft includes its own antivirus utility as part of Windows 8 and above. You can also use the Malicious Software Removal Tool by pressing the Windows Key + R, typing in "MRT," and pressing enter.

Ransomware Attack Targets Hotel Door Locks

Episode 1359

Ransomware has always been a terrible plague of the internet, where bad guys inject software into your computer through phishing emails. They usually trick you by saying it's from your bank, the IRS, or even your boss asking you to open something. When you do that, it's an application that runs and scrambles all of your data and asks you to give them money to get the data back.

Why does Windows 10 keep telling me I'm unprotected?

Episode 1357

Bret from Wood-Ridge, NJ
Windows 10

Bret has Windows 10 and uses Windows Defender, but it keeps telling him he's unprotected -- even if he's just run a scan. Leo says there's a little red flag in the task menu, and if he opens that up, it will tell him what's unprotected. Bret says it's just notifications that keep coming up, and Leo says he can just turn those notifications off. Leo suggests looking at the screen that tells him what's unprotected. If he doesn't have protection updates turned on, he may want to do that. If he wants to be as safe as possible, he should turn all that stuff on.

Pwn2Own Competition Shows What Platforms are Most Secure

Episode 1357

Hacking

Pwn2Own is an annual competition held at CanSacWest in Canada. Prizes are awarded to the hackers who can most quickly hack various operating systems and programs. This year a million dollars in prizes will be awarded, meaning it attracts the best hackers in the world. The money awarded is directly related to the difficulty in hacking the target. The most money goes to anyone who can hack an Apache web server.

Read more at blog.trendmicro.com.

Study Finds Squirrels are the Biggest Threat to Critical Infrastructure

Episode 1357

Eastern Grey Squirrel

A recent study has found that the greatest threat to our critical infrastructure is squirrels. Not hackers, not enemy states, not organizations, but squirrels. Small animals have been responsible for more than 1,700 power cuts affecting 5 million people.

Read more at bbc.com.

Image By BirdPhotos.com (BirdPhotos.com) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons