security

Is Windows Phone 7 safe without getting updates?

Episode 1103

Don from Los Angeles, CA
Apple iPhone 5s

Don has a Windows Phone 7, he's noticing that the security updates are about to run out, and he's concerned about security. Leo says that it's not really cause for concern. He's not using the latest or greatest, but it's such a small market share, that malicious software simply isn't attacking it. Don would like to switch to the iPhone. Leo says he can. It's a good next stop in the smartphone game, and it's very secure. It's not perfect, but at the crossroads of security and convenience, Apple does a great job. In general, smartphones are very secure anyway.

Forensic Scientist Finds Security Holes in iPhone

Episode 1102

iPhone 5S

At the "Hackers On Planet Earth" (HOPE) Conference in New York this week, forensic scientist and security expert Jonathan Zdziarski identified several holes and back doors currently on the iPhone. There's even a packet sniffer that's running all the time. Apple has yet to respond to it. It's important to understand that whenever you're using a connected device, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it could reveal information to interested parties. In his presentation, Zdziarski revealed some of the data that is constantly leaked out by the iPhone.

How can I protect myself when using public Wi-Fi hotspots?

Episode 1101

Mike from Glendale, CA
Wi-Fi

Mike is wondering if he should do anything to protect himself while using these public hotspots though. Leo says this is an important question because he's on the same network with other people, so there are risks. Other people could see traffic sent to and from his computer, and could use hacker tools that are widely available to get that data. This is mostly an issue when accessing email, but since he uses gmail, it's encrypted and won't be a problem. If the sites he's on use 'secure http' (https), then he should be ok.

How can I get my computer to time out and request my lastpass password to wake up?

Dan from Upland, CA

Episode 1091

Dan has installed LastPass on his computers and his mobile phone. Leo says it's an excellent password vault. But Dan wants to have all devices time out after 15 minutes to lock it down. Leo says that's a good idea. There's a way to do this in the settings. Leo says it may be that the automatic password option has been checked and that's why he can't get it to time out and demand the password to reactivate.

Should I use Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer?

Episode 1088

Sandra from Bellflower, CA
Google Chrome

Sandra wanted to know if Leo recommended using Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer. Leo says he doesn't really like Internet Explorer, and uses Chrome instead. If she's using Internet Explorer, she should make sure to have version 11 or later to stay secure. Leo prefers Google Chrome because it has Flash built in, it sandboxes each tab, and is generally a more secure browser.

Should I get a VPN for my Android phone?

Bob from Walnut Creek, CA

Episode 1087

Leo says that a security guru would say that under no circumstances should he use a public Wi-Fi network unless all traffic on that network is encrypted, and the best way to do that is with a VPN. It encrypts all the traffic coming from a phone or computer all the way to a VPN server, which could be something he runs in his home, or a provider runs for him. At some point, everything he does is on the public internet, but at least his traffic wouldn't be broadcast to the entire coffee shop.

Why is Windows so vulnerable?

Daryl from On the Road

Episode 1084

Daryl wants to know if Linux is 100% secure. Leo says no, that standard isn't possible, but it is more secure than Windows. Why does Windows have so many vulnerabilities? Leo says that Windows has gotten better over time, but because Microsoft supports legacy code for older machines, it leaves Windows users vulnerable. Linux was written from the ground up to be more secure and it doesn't carry the burden to be "all things to all people." Since it's based on UNIX's permissions system, it's more secure.

Should I use Watchguard for my Wi-Fi network?

Ken from Toronto, Canada

Episode 1081

Ken is wondering if he should use Watchguard on his Wi-Fi network for added security. Leo says he doesn't need this. These are internet security devices, or firewalls, that he'd run in his house. Routers are not very well designed and are commodity products, so they tend to have security flaws. Getting a better router would be a better way to increase security. Leo suspects Watchguard would be more than he actually needs.