Security and Privacy

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

Did an AVS take over my computer?

Episode 1421

Scott from Denver, CO
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Avast_Software_logo_2016.svg

Avast has installed something called "Grime Fighter" and it's taken over Scott's computer. What can he do? Leo says this is why he's not in favor of using third party antivirus software anymore. They give you a false sense of security and it can open up additional vulnerabilities. Leo suspects that Grime Fighter is not from Avast, but instead is pretending to be. At this point, the only thing you can really do is back up your data, format your hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known good source. And if you must have an AVS, use Microsoft's own Windows Defender.

Can I reinstall Windows Vista on an old computer?

Episode 1418

Bruce from Carlsbad, CA
Windows 7

Bruce got an old computer and he is planning to do a reinstall of Windows Vista. He's wondering if he can wipe out all the partitions, but he's worried that he won't be able to restore it if he needs to. Leo says that Windows will save restore points, but Vista didn't have a restore partition with the Windows installer on it. So he'll have to keep the disc for restoring it if the need arises. Bruce should just understand that Vista doesn't have many updates anymore, so he should be careful using it online. If he can, he should try and get a copy of Windows 7.

Why do I keep getting malware notices on Facebook?

Episode 1418

Myrna from Twin Peaks, CA
Facebook Headquarters

Myrna got locked out of Facebook when she had to reset her account due to malware. Leo says that's Facebook's latest technique for protecting the social network against malware. But like all antivirus utilities, there sometimes can be false positives that can trigger the lockdown. Myrna even ran her own scan with ESET. Leo says that's why he doesn't like antivirus software.

Was I hacked through Facebook?

Episode 1415

Myrna from Twin Peaks, CA
Facebook

Myrna got a notification that she needed to run special software in order to get back on Facebook. Leo says that chances are good that Myrna downloaded a virus. She has to be careful when responding to popups. They're usually "phishing" scams designed to get her to run a scan or download software. It's a red flag that they're going to break into her system and use it. Since Myrna fell for it, the only safe thing to do is back up her data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known, good source.

FBI Has Been Pushing Companies to Not Use Kaspersky AVS

Episode 1415

The FBI has been contacting companies to tell them not to use Kaspersky AntiVirus Software because it represents a security threat, especially to power companies and other key industries vital to national security. Leo says it would have been better to just get the word out through the media and shows like the Tech Guy so that everyone could benefit from the warning. But truth be told, Leo isn't a fan of any antiVirus because it gives you a false sense of security. If you must use one, just use the one that comes with Windows. It's called Windows Defender and it does a good enough job.