security

Block JavaScript and Pop-Ups in Your Browser

Chances are good that at some point while browsing the web, you've encountered annoying pop-ups with suspicious warnings or messages. There are even some scams that pop up a message saying you've been involved in illegal activity and prompt you to pay some amount of money to "unlock" your system. Most of these scams are done through JavaScript, and disabling this would prevent this from happening.

Do I need an antivirus for Windows 10?

Murray from Tustin, CA

Episode 1214

Murray wants to know if he needs to install an antivirus for Windows 10. Leo says no. Windows 10 has its own antivirus that is automatically turned on called Windows Defender. But also, viruses spread so fast that antivirus software can't really keep up. It can't protect against 'zero day' exploits. Antivirus is really only a backup. The first line of defense is online behavior. The number 1 priority should be to keep the computer updated.

How can I get the password field on my phone to show letters instead of dots?

Laxman from Ft. Defiance, AZ

Episode 1212

Laxman is annoyed that when he logs into his phone, he gets "dots" instead of the password itself. How can he change that so he can see the password? Leo says the idea is to stop people from looking over his shoulder and seeing his password as he types it. But Leo says that he should have the option of not having that. The security merits of it are dubious. The dots also show the first letter briefly, and people could easily record the password as its typed on the keyboard. Sadly, unless his app gives him the ability to see it, he's stuck with the dots.

How can I make a DIY home security system?

Episode 1211

Tim from San Diego, CA
Nest Cam

Tim is looking to install a DIY home alarm system. Leo says he can save money doing it himself, but the majority of the cost is home monitoring, which has a monthly fee. He can do that himself by monitoring via the Internet.

Leo uses Synology, which records to a hard drive and then can be accessed online, but it's not cheap. DropCam (now "Nest Cam") is another option. They're wireless and all he would need is power. But they use a lot of bandwidth.

Do I need a third party antivirus program with Windows 10?

Alan from Washington DC

Episode 1211

Alan just installed Windows 10 on a few computers and wants to know if there's any reason to install a third party antivirus program with it. Leo says that Google has done a study about this, and they've found that most security experts believe antivirus software gives a false sense of security and doesn't guard against zero day exploits, which are the real threat now.

Why does Microsoft need access to my data in Windows 10?

Episode 1209

Dave from Riverside, CA
Microsoft Windows 10

Dave wants to know more about Microsoft accessing user data in Windows 10. Leo says that Steve Gibson refuses to ever use Windows 10 because of the security features. But Leo has read the Microsoft EULA and it's no different than an ISP or any other online service. Microsoft is at least disclosing it. We have a 4th amendment right to privacy, but we also live in a dangerous time of terrorism and we have to make a provision for fighting it. There must be a balance and that's the debate that's raging.