Security and Privacy

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

Why am I getting warning messages about Apple Keychain on my MacBook Pro?

Episode 1240

Bruce from Southern California
Apple Keychain

Bruce also has issues with the login keychain of his MacBook. Leo says that Keychain is great for secure storage, but people often forget their keychain password when they lock it. If he can't remember the password, he can always create a new keychain. Use the same password that he uses to log in. That should unlock it.

How can I protect myself on a public hotspot?

Doug from Alabama

Episode 1240

Doug does a lot of traveling on the road and he uses a open Wi-Fi hotspots a lot. He's worried about the security of using those hotspots, though. Leo says that using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a good solution, as it burrows a secure tunnel through the hotspot so that all of his data is encrypted. He'd be totally safe and secure. The downside though it that using a VPN will slow him down a lot, and they are a challenge for some to set up. And the reality is, more and more of what he'll be doing online is encrypted anyway.

Can I get rid of malware by restoring my PC?

Scott from Ventura, CA

Episode 1239

Scott wants to know if doing a restore would get rid of any malware that may be on the system after its been compromised. Leo says yes, it will. Those popups are trying to get you to call them and install software. So if he didn't do that, he's probably OK. But if he did, not only will he need to get rid of the malware, but if they charged him, they will now have his credit card information. So he'll not only have to backup his data and erase the hard drive, he'll have to cancel that credit card as well.

Can someone crack my Windows password?

Steve from North Hollywood, CA

Episode 1238

Steve was robbed recently and they got ahold of his laptop. Even though it's password protected, can they get his personal data? Leo says absolutely. A password is only to keep someone out who walks by. But if they have time, they can use password crackers to brute force the password free. That's really the most serious issue -- if he has any banking information and passwords on it. But considering that the theives may have been homeless, Leo hopes that they likely won't have the tools to take advantage of it.

Why am I getting popups saying my computer is infected?

Lee from Escondido, CA

Episode 1233

Lee gets a popup that says his computer is infected and he can't get rid of it. Leo says it's a scam, and Lee should never call the 800 number that pops up. Lee went into the task manager to kill the popup, but it kills the browser as well. Leo says that Chrome should be catching the popups and stopping them. He's now getting a popup with a bluescreen. Leo says that's a clever ploy, but it's not an actual "blue screen of death." It's just a window.

Will I have any warning that I'm being infected by Cryptowall?

Greg from Tampa, FL

Episode 1233

Greg is worried he's going to be nailed by Cyptowall. If he were to be infected, would he have some warning? Leo says you can sometimes see it happening, but it doesn't give you a warning. It's not instant though, in that it takes time to encrypt the data and if he has a hot backup, always backing up, the encrypted files can infect the backup. Having an offline backup will guard against that.

LogMeIn's Acquisition of LastPass Raises Concerns

Episode 1228

For years, Leo has advocated using the password vault Last Pass to guard your passwords. But this week, Last Pass got bought by Log Me In, which Leo says doesn't have the best track record regarding software security. There are other options out there, so Leo isn't backing off the need for a good Password vault. But whether it will be Last Pass? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, Leo is using KeePass.