Security and Privacy

Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.

How can I share my internet access securely?

Anthony from Ontario, CA

Episode 1214

Anthony shares his internet access with a tenant who wants hardwire access to the modem. Leo says that makes it difficult to isolate, and he'll need a second router, or better yet, a third router. He should segment them on the network so that the tenant doesn't have access to Anthony's data. Leo recommends checking out PracticallyNetworked.com for how to do it.

Do I need an antivirus for Windows 10?

Murray from Tustin, CA

Episode 1214

Murray wants to know if he needs to install an antivirus for Windows 10. Leo says no. Windows 10 has its own antivirus that is automatically turned on called Windows Defender. But also, viruses spread so fast that antivirus software can't really keep up. It can't protect against 'zero day' exploits. Antivirus is really only a backup. The first line of defense is online behavior. The number 1 priority should be to keep the computer updated.

How is Secure Safe for password protection?

Carl from Rhode Island, CA

Episode 1214

Carl wants to know how Secure Safe works for password protection. Leo says they use a key that only he has, and it backs that up with second factor authentication. So only he has access to his encrypted data. Not even SecureSafe can unencrypt it, and that's exactly what Carl will want. He can store 15 passwords for free. But Leo says they check all the right boxes, so it should be OK. Leo typically recommends LastPass, which has also been vetted by security expert Steve Gibson.

Why am I getting survey pop ups when visiting websites?

Ron from Hayden, CO

Episode 1214

Ron can watch TWiT on Internet Explorer with no problem. But when he gets on Firefox, he has trouble with popups of surveys. Leo says that's not his site, that's for sure. Leo suspects that it's an issue with Flash. Internet Explorer has Flash built in, as does Chrome. So it sounds like maybe there's an issue with no Flash being installed, and Firefox might have a browser hijacker object that's popping up.

Do I have malware on my system?

Dave from Portola Hills, CA

Episode 1213

Dave was on a government website and he got a popup that he may be infected with malware, which forced him to reboot the system to get out of it. He's worried now that he's been infected. Leo says that's a good instinct. This has been happening a lot. Often, it happens if you've mistyped the URL, which leads you to a malware site. This is most likely from Javascript, though, which doesn't impact your computer and is designed to scare you into installing something or paying someone to claim to unlock it.

How can I stop popups from crashing my phone browser?

Ed from San Jose, CA

Episode 1213

Ed was surfing on his iPhone in privacy mode and his app screen suddenly locked when he was searching, saying he was engaging in illegal traffic and he had to pay $500 to unlock the screen. Leo says that's a scam done by Javascript. His phone really isn't locked down. It's not leaving anything on the system. It's "sandboxed." It's not perfect, though, as there could be holes in the Javascript code. Leo suggests double tapping the home button and swiping up to kill the app. On the desktop, NoScript will prevent this from happening by blocking Javascript.

How can I get the password field on my phone to show letters instead of dots?

Laxman from Ft. Defiance, AZ

Episode 1212

Laxman is annoyed that when he logs into his phone, he gets "dots" instead of the password itself. How can he change that so he can see the password? Leo says the idea is to stop people from looking over his shoulder and seeing his password as he types it. But Leo says that he should have the option of not having that. The security merits of it are dubious. The dots also show the first letter briefly, and people could easily record the password as its typed on the keyboard. Sadly, unless his app gives him the ability to see it, he's stuck with the dots.

What should I do if I fall victim to a phishing scam?

Frank from Lemonburough

Episode 1212

Frank got fooled by a Phishing popup. He called the 800 number that was associated with it and they charged him $300 to "fix it." Leo says they were pretending to be Apple Care. It's a scam. Frank suspected chicanery and called Apple Care, who confirmed it was a scam. Leo says that's a smart thing. So he turned off the computer. He doesn't see anything wrong with his computer, but what should he do? Leo says that chances are they probably didn't get far, so Frank is probably OK.

How can I make a DIY home security system?

Episode 1211

Tim from San Diego, CA
Nest Cam

Tim is looking to install a DIY home alarm system. Leo says he can save money doing it himself, but the majority of the cost is home monitoring, which has a monthly fee. He can do that himself by monitoring via the Internet.

Leo uses Synology, which records to a hard drive and then can be accessed online, but it's not cheap. DropCam (now "Nest Cam") is another option. They're wireless and all he would need is power. But they use a lot of bandwidth.

Do I need a third party antivirus program with Windows 10?

Alan from Washington DC

Episode 1211

Alan just installed Windows 10 on a few computers and wants to know if there's any reason to install a third party antivirus program with it. Leo says that Google has done a study about this, and they've found that most security experts believe antivirus software gives a false sense of security and doesn't guard against zero day exploits, which are the real threat now.