Wired Magazine is reporting that hackers have managed to encode a computer virus into DNA, which can then infect any computerized instrument that is used to analyze the strand. If hackers are now creating malware in our DNA, how can it be fought? Fortunately, though, it's not a very practical or widespread application. Yet.
Steven got a virus on his computer and it keeps coming back. The tech says they are getting into his computer through his IP address. Leo says that they don't know what they're talking about. He can't get it that way and if they're trying to sell him software to fix it, then he needs to find a new technician to repair his computer.
Leo suggests trying Geek Squad at Best Buy. They're a good place to start. At least it's a technician that's local, that he can visit. But at the end of the day though, his best defense is his online behavior.
WannaCry is ransomware that can lock up your data unless you pay the hacker who created it. WannaKiwi, however, finds the crypto key in your PCs RAM to undo the damage. It only seems to work about a third of the time, however. That's why Leo says to make sure you don't get it by altering your behavior, and by making sure you have current backups of your data should it happen. One thing you should never do is pay up, because you don't know if you'll get your data back, or if there's something even worse getting installed.
Paul got a notice through Malware bytes that he a virus, but he can't seem to get rid of it. It keeps coming back. What gives? Leo says that it may not be malware at all. it could be a false positive. But the only real way to get rid of it, if it is, is to back up your data and reinstall windows from a known good source. You could also reboot into safe mode, then remove it. That could enable it to be removed without reloading. But Leo's betting it's not malware at all. Sometimes Malware bytes causes more trouble.
Jim is wondering if he has a virus. He tried to erase old PDF files and folders and got an error that Windows couldn't. Leo says that some viruses can survive a format, but they're unusual, and are not easily accessible in folders on Windows. They're usually hiding in the Master Boot Record or in the memory of the video card. It's probably just a precautionary message.
Artie is getting his son a Chromebook for Christmas. How can he keep it safe from computer viruses? Leo says that Chromebooks are relatively virus free, so he won't have to worry about that. To keep his kids safe online, Leo advises OpenDNS and their parental filters.
Ken's girlfriend has problems with viruses on her Android phone. They've wiped the phone and they keep coming back. Leo says that unless she's reinstalling an app that is doing it, it's probably part of her backup on Google now. The key is to not restore from the Google Backup. She should download the contacts and calendars, but not the apps. Then reinstall each app separately. Stick with the mainstream apps.
Jim has a friend who's website has received a message that their website has been hacked. Is this warning legitimate? Leo says it probably is. Most managed providers offer that feature, but there's also independent monitoring services like Site Lock. They'll monitor his website, but they won't patch it. He'd need to have a service that goes through all of his code to make sure it's patched and nothing remains of the virus that may have infected it. Jim should check out Qualys. They monitor and repair the site should it get infected.
Nicki saw an .exe file she didn't recognize in her system tray. Leo says that system trays hold icons of programs that are running and if she hovers over them, she should get some information. It could also be an error. It's causing security issues and Windows won't load her antivirus. It could be an infection, so she should update her antivirus or use Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool.
Joanne has gotten a WinZip popup that says she needs to scan and repair her computer. Leo says that is likely a phishing scam that wanted to get her to click on something and install it. She should be very careful with links that she didn't request. She shouldn't accept offers from strangers, as it's likely malware.