security

Should I use a VPN on cruise ship Wi-Fi?

Cruise Ship

Episode 1538

John from Fallbrook, CA

Leo says whenever he's on communal Wi-Fi, as he will be on the cruise, a hotel, or a coffee shop, everyone's on the same network. Nowadays, places like these are getting better about making it more secure, and it isn't as risky as it used to be. But there is a potential risk that someone else on that network could snoop on him. Whenever he's using email, shopping on Amazon, or banking, all of that traffic is already encrypted. Leo thinks using a VPN on cruise ship Wi-Fi would probably slow his connection down to a point where he wouldn't be able to stream content online.

How can I turn my smartphone into a hotspot?

Episode 1536

Mark from Los Angeles, CA

Mark wants to use his Android phone as a hotspot. Leo says that it's under the Internet settings under "Hotspot and Tethering." His phone carrier must support it, usually for an extra charge. But he's having issues using any security with a password. Leo says that's not good. It shouldn't be disabled. Leo wonders if that phone doesn't support WPA2. None is not a good choice. If there's WEP, that wouldn't be great, but it's better than nothing. But he'll ideally want WPA2 with PSK (pre shared key).

Run Individual Programs as Administrator

One of the ways you can easily protect yourself against malware and viruses is by running as a "Standard" or "Limited" user in Windows. When you run as administrator, programs can easily get full access to your system, including those that might be installed without your knowledge. But when you run as a standard user, you may run into an issue where a program won't run because it requires more permissions. An example of software that would require additional permissions would be a screen recording program. When this happens, you can elect to run that individual program as administrator.

Should I renew my antivirus subscription?

Antivirus

Episode 1528

Bob from Ventura, CA

Bob has noticed that Leo hasn't been advocating for antivirus software lately, and his subscription is expiring. Should he renew it? Leo says that most malware hacks are Zero Day now, and security programs aren't really effective against them. Antivirus software even can cause problems. In general, antivirus software isn't really worth subscribing to. Windows Defender is free and offers protection that is perfectly fine. The best defense is his online behavior, and keeping the OS updated.

Facebook Gets Hacked, 90 Million Users Compromised

Facebook app

Episode 1528

Facebook reported this week that 50-90 million user accounts were hacked or compromised through three bugs in their interface that would allow a hacker to bypass password challenges through a stolen access token, video downloader access. Facebook says they have fixed the bug and made access tokens unusable for the 90 million compromised accounts. So if you had to re-log in this week, chances are that your account was compromised. Leo also says this is a good time to change your password and turn on 2 Factor Authentication in your Facebook settings.

How can I keep Face ID from opening my phone for my daughter?

Apple iPhone XS

Episode 1527

Nick from Redlands, CA

Mick bought the iPhone XS and wanted to migrate all his text messages to the new phone. Leo says in the iPhone message settings, there is a backup to iCloud feature. But it has to be on beforehand in order to save all messages in the cloud. Otherwise, they are stored locally.

Mick's wife is also having trouble with Face ID, which will unlock for her daughter. Leo says they can train it better using the "setup with alternate appearance" option.

Set Up Your Router Securely

When you get a new router, there are a few things you can do to make sure it's set up securely.

The first thing you'll do is connect it to your computer and check the manual to find out how to configure it.

Once it's connected to your computer, you'll use the browser to navigate to a special address as instructed in the manual. It should be something like 192.168.1.1. This will take you to the login screen for the router.

Is surfing the internet on LTE secure?

4G LTE

Episode 1522

David from El Monte, CA

David wants to know if he's secure surfing the internet on his mobile device. Leo says that nothing is unhackable, but LTE is encrypted and very secure. A phone can be hacked, even at the radio level, though. It's also possible for someone to spoof his SIM card. But it's too much work for the average hacker. It would have to be a state level attack in order to accomplish it. Wi-Fi is less secure, and if he's relying on WPA2 or any other Wi-Fi connection, it's possible to hack it. But that's not easy, either. Odds are, there's really not all that much to worry about.

Will a VPN keep my web traffic private?

Episode 1522

David from Anaheim, CA

David is thinking about installing a home VPN. Leo says he understands the security concerns, but he won't like using it for very long. It will really slow down his bandwidth. Leo recommends a service called CloudFlare. It changes his DNS to 1.1.1.1, and then masks his traffic so his ISP doesn't know where he's going. He can set it at the router level and he will protect every device in his house.