Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
Nick is heading to Paris and he wants to know if he can bring his T-Mobile flip phone. Leo says it would be a good idea to contact T-Mobile and get an international calling plan. He's also planning on bringing his laptop, but he's worried about Wi-Fi security. Leo says it's about as safe there as it is here, meaning that it's best to use encryption if he's visiting any sites that are public. He should avoid banking online if he can. Banks will encrypt his traffic, though. The greater risk is his email and logging in, so that's where he'll want to be encrypted.
Gary wants to connect to his home network over the internet so he can see his dog via his Samsung camera and talk to him. It requires uPNP to do this. Leo doesn't like uPNP because it has security issues with opening a port to the outside world. The problem is that it's automatic. If malware gets in, it'll open via uPNP and Gary will be vulnerable.
Leo says he can DMZ it or use as guest. Port forwarding is the manual way to do this, and is completely safe. So if he can find out the port that his Samsung camera uses, he could do it that way.
Gloria is an artist and uses her computer to order her supplies. She's been bit by malware called "Sweet Pacs." Leo says that Gloria inadvertently agreed to install the Sweet Pacs toolbar, which has basically taken over her browser. The chatroom says it's part of an ad site called "Conduit," which brags that they have 250 million users. Leo says most of them have been duped into installing the toolbar.
Ransomware topped the list of cyber threats in 2013, according to Malware Bytes. Chief of these was Cryptolocker, which encrypts your data and holds it ransom for $300. You have only 72 hours to pay up before the key to get your data back is lost forever. Leo says that even police stations have been bit by it and were forced to pay up.
Don has been sandboxing his PC via SandBoxie to combat CryptoLocker. Leo says it works! He's wondering if it works with Outlook. Leo says he hasn't used it, but he says that Steve Gibson says it's legit. But Leo says that it's still wise to backup data anyway.
Jonathan is thinking about digitizing home videos for his family and is wondering what form of media to put them on since his family uses iPods and tablets, etc. Leo says that in that case, putting them up on YouTube is a good idea and he can just keep the channel private. It also means that anyone can watch it. Making it available for download means that he'd have to format it for different versions depending on what device is being used. Leo says he won't have that issue with streaming.
The latest NSA revelation comes from more documents leaked by Edward Snowden. It shows that the NSA has 50,000 computer networks in a 'sleeper cell' that can be turned on at any time. Leo points out that as impressive as this sounds, a 50,000 computer bot net is relatively small compared to what spammers and hackers have for commercial purposes.
Connie is worried that since her dad leaves his computer on, it's more vulnerable to attack. Leo says no, that's not how it works. There are things that Connie can do to protect him better, though:
1) Use a Mac (he does)
2) Get a router. The router will act as a dumb box that won't allow malware to pass in or sniff what he's going online.
3) Teach him to guard his behavior by not clicking on attachments or links in email, etc. And always be suspicious of them, double-checking the URL before clicking on the link.
Kyen has been hearing that an SSD cannot be securely erased. Leo says that is correct. No matter what you do to wipe the drive, it's always best to use the built in encryption technology of Mac or Windows, or even the utility that comes with the drive. Even when overwriting the SSD 13 times, someone will be able to pull the data from it, in theory. In reality, nobody really has the technology to get all the data back, though. But some fragments will always remain. This also applies to smartphones and tablets. This makes encryption even more important.
"One Card to Rule them all, One Card to Charge them. One Card to Bring them all, and in debt bind them." That's the idea of Coin, a one size fits all digital credit card that can be programmable for all cards, and can switch between them as users use it. Leo says the marketing has been fantastic with it, but he wonders how secure Coin will really be. And will merchants buy into this idea?