Security and Privacy

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

"Citizenfour," a Documentary on Edward Snowden, Has Been Released

Episode 1165

Citizenfour is an Academy Award winning documentary on the story of Edward Snowden. He was a contractor for the NSA as a systems administrator working out of Hawaii, and that's how he was able to obtain information. What he did with that information is what became so controversial. He went to Hong Kong, and contacted journalists to give them this information he had collected, but didn't want anything released that would risk the lives of government operatives. Instead, he wanted journalists to tell the world, Americans in particular, what the NSA had been up to.

Should I have antivirus software for my tablet?

Episode 1166

Ray from Van Nuys, CA
LookOut

Ray is concerned with security on his tablet, and is wondering if he should have antivirus for it. Leo says that mobile devices are designed in an era where malware is a serious threat, so these newer operating systems are inherently safer because they tend to be sandboxed. If he still wants some added protection, LookOut is a very good antivirus app. That being said, Leo doesn't use an antivirus program.

Is a Wi-Fi hotspot safe for surfing the net?

Rick from Salisbury, NC

Episode 1165

Rick's wife got unlimited cell service for him, and he wants to know how to keep his tablet secure while at a hotspot. Leo says that by using his own cell service, his data is encrypted and safe. But if he's relying on Wi-Fi hotspot, then he'll have to be sure his passwords aren't given out in the clear. Especially if it's bank information. But even then, he's dealing with an encrypted portal, so it's pretty safe. He'll want to turn on encryption for his email, though.

Is Java's Kommodia safe to install?

Mark from Santa Ana, CA

Episode 1165

Mark hears that when downloading Java, junkware downloads with it. Leo says that Java is now being bundled with adware, so he should make sure he unchecks the option. Better yet, he shouldn't download and install Java unless he needs it.

He should also make sure that it doesn't load automatically in his browser, which is a security issue. Java uses Kommodia, which actually breaks the encryption technology of a browser. So Marks' wife should remove it immediately.

A Strong Message Needs to be Sent to Lenovo Over Superfish Malware

Episode 1164

With news that Lenovo has been caught using man in the middle attacks to insert adware into user browsers, Leo says that we must send a strong message to them that this is unacceptable. Lenovo claims the Superfish "add-on" was only added to consumer products to provide targeted ads in browsers, but Leo says it's malware and it deliberately violates the trust between consumers and manufacturers.

Hackers Steal Millions from Banks

Episode 1162

Back in 2013, in what has been the largest hacking theft in history, hackers used malware to break into the computer networks of several major banks and stole over $300 million worldwide, and could actually be three times as large, the largest theft in history. No bank has come forward claiming they were victims and security firm Kaspersky has been retained to investigate. Leo says these attacks happen all the time and that Banks cover it up to prevent clients losing faith in the institution. How did it happen? It appears to be the old phishing scam with bank employees as the target.

Hackers Steal 80,000,000 Customer Records From Anthem Health Insurance

Episode 1160

Hackers broke into the Anthem Health database to obtain names, birthdays, addresses, and Social Security numbers of customers. An estimated 80,000,000 records have been lost. After the hack, there have been phishing scams circulating and phone fraudsters calling people to obtain financial information. If you do get an email from Anthem, do not click the links, go directly to the Anthem website. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Anthem, hang up and call them back using their posted phone number.