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.
security and privacy
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.
Scott got bit by ransomware on all his work computers. Since the data is backed up, the course of action is to wipe the drives, reinstall the OS, and restore from the backup. Always keep yourself backed up and updated to prevent things like this from happening.
Here's what you can do to protect yourself:
1. Keep all software and OS updated on your machine.
2. Run as a limited user. NEVER an Admin.
3. Do not click on links from strangers. Do not accept unexpected attachments.
Jimmy wants to know if the Fix Me Stick can remove viruses from his computer. Leo says don't get since it won't provide you with anything additional that you can already download from the internet. The most important thing to look for in antivirus software is the frequency of updates. You can also make your own "fix me stick". Antivirus software gives you a false sense of security. Windows existing security software is adequate and updated often. It's best to practice safe computing. Don't click on links and don't take candy from strangers. Be smart online.
Bernie has a laptop running Windows XP and use it to run software needed for his shop. He is worried because Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows XP and its respecting software. Leo says that XP isn't being updated either and if you have to be online, not having Windows Defender and Security Essentials is the least of your problems. There currently no new malware for Windows XP but the safest course of action would be to stay off line on that machine completely. The best option is to run Windows XP in Virtual Machine on a more recent laptop running newer versions of Windows.
Joe wants to know what RFID is and how it works. Leo says it works by electromagnetic energy which powers it. It picks up the energy and then broadcasts a signal with an identifier number. Its range is not very far.
How can he protect himself from people grabbing his information via RFID? Leo says that there are wallets which have metal fiber in them that prevents the energy from passing to his chip and broadcasting it.
David wants to be able to control his lights with his mobile phone. Leo says he can with so called "smart lightbulbs" that are part of the Internet of Things. But because they connect to his network, they have a huge vulnerability that allows hackers to get into his network through the light bulb.
Ryan wants to know how would he know if his computer had been hacked. Leo says that he can always scan his computer with antivirus software and with Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool. In many cases, hackers are getting around that by moving their malware into routers and other "internet of things" devices. This is why updating the router's firmware is vital.
Brian is concerned that the more data he creates with his phone and computer, the more data is out there for people to know about him. How can he be more private online? Leo says his mobile phone leaks data in a wide variety of ways, and not even the iPhone is invulnerable anymore. The best way is to just get off the internet. Since that isn't practical, he'll have to compromise and just be careful how he shares data. He should avoid social media. He should remember that his ISP knows everything he does online.