Joe wants to know about the Tiny Hardware Firewall. Leo says it's a clever solution for those who want to use open Wi-Fi hotspots safely. Tiny Hardware Firewall will give him an additional layer of protection by encrypting all of his Wi-Fi traffic with a virtual private network. Leo adds that it also adds another layer called the Black Hole Cloud service which gives users their own cloud server. This makes it lightning fast. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is about $35, plus a fee for their VPN, which could be about $100 a year.
security and privacy
Jerry has been using an app to hack a neighbor's Wifi for free WiFi. Leo says that is a violation of federal law and Jerry really shouldn't be doing that. And it probably doesn't work anyway since most wifi routers are using WPA2 these days and that's a lot harder to crack.
Sherry is concerned because her personal information from public records show up in Google search results. Leo says that if it's public information, the only thing she can do is go to each site and demand they make her information private. But these days, it's easy to harvest that information from government sources online. And new sites pop up all the time. Privacy is really an illusion now. That's why celebrities usually create holding companies and make all their asset purchase through them, so that the paper trail is minimal.
Jeff is getting strange random key strokes appearing in his browser bar. Leo says to try a different browser. Windows comes with both Edge and Internet Explorer. If it happens in both browsers, it could be a failing keyboard. Jeff should unplug his keyboard and try a new one. If he still has the issue, then it's a Windows problem, which could be malware or a browser hijack. He could try resetting his browser first. If that solves the problem, then he's fine. If not, then it may be that he'll need to reinstall Windows from a known good source.
Alan wants to know if an antivirus utility is any good anymore for malware. How about on a mobile device? Leo says that all too often, an antivirus leaves people more vulnerable because most malware is a zero day exploit. Antivirus can't stop users from themselves, either. All antivirus utilities have to hook themselves into the OS at a very low level and the virus can actually use that as a door to more exploits. So at the end of the day, an antivirus really is only of limited benefit.
George is using a Tiny Hardware Firewall and he sees that it would let him customize the settings. Can it be made more secure? Leo says that the Tiny Hardware Firewall is pretty darn secure as is. Leo hasn't played with the configurations, but he wouldn't want to, either. He just uses it in default mode and he's completely safe.
Melinda says that after she turns on her computer and goes into her browser, it takes a really long time to get to Gmail, and it goes to her eBay and other accounts. She wonders if she got hacked. Leo says perhaps. That kind of behavior points to being hacked. Maybe someone has gotten physical access to the computer. Did she make an enemy?
Larry has been asked to submit his tax returns electronically, which has a clickable link to electronically sign. He's hesitant, especially since a similar attempt was a phishing scam a few years back. Leo says that Right Signature, Docu Sign, and others give you a secure link to digitally sign. The problem is, how do they verify it's him that clicks on the link and digitally signs? They should be requiring a PIN code, or second factor authentication.
The police department in Edina, MN has secured the right to look at people's Google Search history to look for information about a fraud case they were investigating. The legal brief is to cover anyone who searched for the name of the suspect and case, and it could be the entire community.
Leo says it's crazy and that Google should fight this tooth and nail. It's classic government overreach. Leo says he doesn't mind Google's algorithm putting custom ads on his search results, but for a government to ask who searched for something and to get a list is frightening.
Wikileaks has announced Vault 7, a massive collection of documents that show how the CIA uses malware and other hacking techniques to spy online. Some of the techniques includes using smartTVs as a spying device since they use cameras and microphones built into the TVs. Samsung warned of this in their terms of service for their TVs last year. But Leo says that the CIA doesn't really have a switch to turn on all TVs, and if they did, the data they'd receive would be so massive and 99.9% of it would be useless. It could be used for targeted eavesdropping, though.