Security and Privacy

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

How can I protect a PDF file?

Episode 1300

Eric from Los Angeles, CA
Adobe Acrobat icon

Eric wants to be able to lock a PDF file so that nobody can modify it. Leo says that every PDF creator, including Adobe Acrobat, can protect it so it can't be modified. He can also also set the PDF so that the document cannot be forwarded to anyone else. If he trusts the person that he's sending it to, he can encrypt the PDF so it requires a password to open it. But understand that if they can open it, they can make an image of it and share it outside of that. So he'll need to trust the person he sends it to.

Apple Announces iOS 10 and 'Differential Privacy' at WWDC

Episode 1297

Apple had its WorldWide Developers Conference this week in San Francisco, and announced iOS 10, watchOS 3, and macOS Sierra. Among those announcements was the new Music app which has been slightly redesigned and a new iMessages app with many new features.

Apple also announced "Differential Privacy," which aims to gather data from users without sacrificing the privacy of each individual user. Apple also stated that it would be bringing more "deep learning" to iOS, but that it would only use data on the local device and not from the cloud.

Is there a third party option to Dell's Click to Fix?

Brett from Woodbridge, NJ

Episode 1296

Brett has a Dell computer and wants to know if there's an open source program that can speed up his computer like Dell does with Click to Fix? Leo says that Dell doesn't share their secrets and Leo doesn't think that it's safe to use a third party open source option for this. Dell's Click to Fix knows its own hardware and as such, can do a targeted fix. Open source stuff can't do that and can be overly aggressive and cause more problems than it fixes.

How can I make sure open source software is safe?

Dave from Concord, CA

Episode 1296

Tony wants to know how to check to be sure the ISO of open source software is legit. Leo says that an ISO is found to be legit by signing. A hash has to be generated in order to provide proof of a legitimate ISO. If the ISO has changed, then the hash would be modified. There's also a signing key, which is based on GPG encryption. It has to be authenticated by the developers of the software.

Would Apple prompt me to change my Apple ID Password?

Dan from Fresno, CA

Episode 1295

Dan was using his iPhone 5s and he got a message that someone is trying to sign into a device using his Apple ID. Apple says that they don't send out messages like that. Leo says that isn't really accurate as he's gotten those as well. Any time you sign into a new device, you get that message. If it comes with a suggestion to change the password, however, then that could be a ploy to steal his Apple ID from a browser. He should never do that.

Why can't I visit links I get in email?

Al from Chino, CA

Episode 1292

Al recently upgraded to Windows 10 and Chrome has been giving him error messages preventing him to go to certain sites. Leo says to trust that. It's likely that the site has some malware code in it that will cause issues down the line. It could be a generic warning though. To be safe, Al shouldn't click on any links. Instead he should hover over it to see what the actual link is. It's possible to spoof a link with HTML code. In fact, Leo suggests turning off HTML in his email client. Leo suggests also using Thunderbird. It will give him the option of text only.

Why does my system tray have an EXE file in it?

Nicki from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1291

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.

What should I do now that Apple has killed Quicktime for Windows?

Ian from Lakeview Terrace, CA

Episode 1289

Ian heard that Apple has stopped support for Quicktime for Windows. He's uninstalled it, but there are programs like Adobe Premiere and Hyper Studio that depend on it. Leo says that there may be an update through the programs that will support other options. If there isn't, there should be soon. In the meantime, Ian should make sure that his browser can't launch Quicktime. He can go into the settings and disable it.