Security and Privacy

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

Can a virus cause a blue screen of death?

Episode 1144

David from Burbank, CA
BSOD

David's computer started to get the dreaded bluescreen of death and he took it to the Geek Squad to get it repaired. They said it was a virus and sold him WebRoot. Leo says that the Geek Squad couldn't have been more wrong and just sold him an antivirus software he didn't need. Almost always, the problem with BSOD is either a driver or hardware issue. BSODs only happen as a result of accessing ring 1 memory on the computer and that's only drivers or hardware. Malware won't result in a BSOD.

Sony Entertainment Hacked, 40GB of Data From Servers Leaked to the Public

Episode 1141

Hacker

Sony Pictures Entertainment's servers were hacked so severely that 40GB of data was released to the public. This data includes digital copies of movies, scripts for upcoming films, pilots, and even employee personal data like social security numbers, passwords, salaries, and more. This may be the worst corporate attack in history. Employees say that this has been a long time coming and comes as no surprise since Sony has traditionally had a casual attitude towards online security.

Am I secure on public Wi-Fi hotspots?

Episode 1140

Max from Milpitas, CA
Typing on a computer

Max has Eset's security suite and when he goes onto public Wi-Fi, it shows he's invisible to other computers. Leo says that's a good thing because public Wi-Fi is visible to anyone. Eset is probably turning on the Firewall, but he doubts there's a VPN going on here. If it's secure, he'll see the URL start with "https://." There's a move to make all internet traffic encrypted. But until that time, Max will have to remember that when he's on public Wi-Fi, he's out in the open.

(Disclaimer: ESET is a sponsor)

Is Blackberry email encrypted?

Episode 1139

Michele from Santa Monica, CA
Blackberry Passport

Michele is contemplating getting a Blackberry because she thought it had the best encryption. Leo says that every smartphone can be encrypted. But the traffic coming out of the smartphone is another issue.

Encryption on the Blackberry runs through Blackberry's own servers. But even email can't really be encrypted unless she shares that encryption with the recipient.

How can I get my XP desktop back after installing Webroot?

Episode 1138

Betty from Menneffee, Ca
Windows XP

Betty bought Webroot software for her XP Machine. She renewed and reinstalled it. Now she sees nothing on her screen. The problem with XP is that Microsoft no longer supports it and flaws are making Betty vulnerable. No antivirus will protect her from those vulnerabilities. Leo suggests going into the programs and uninstall everything and start from scratch. Also, here are a few steps Betty can take to protect herself since Microsoft has stopped supporting XP:

How can I exclude streaming video from going through my VPN?

Episode 1138

Elieazer from Florence, SC
VPN

Elieazer watches TWiT through a Virtual Private Network. How can he configure his browser so that some things will go through the VPN, and other things won't? Leo says that VPNs slow things down because it routes the traffic through a VPN server. Elieazer uses ProXPN, which is a sponsor of the show. Leo doesn't think he can just choose which apps will go through the VPN, but it does make it easier to turn the whole VPN on and off.

Congress Will Allow NSA to Continue Spying Program

Episode 1138

NSA

With the 113th Congress winding down at the end of 2014, members have decided to do nothing to revise the privacy provisions of the Patriot Act, allowing the National Security Agency to collect data on Americans. Leo says that tech companies are no better. There are a few companies that are going with open source encryption of messages, like Facebook, WhatsApp, and the Google Nexus 6 is encrypted by default.

What's the best password vault?

Episode 1136

Carla from Buena Park, CA
Lastpass Vault

Carla is overwhelmed by all of the passwords she has to remember. What can she use to help manage that? Leo says a password vault will generate a unique and strong password that's difficult to crack. The best passwords are long and random with a combination of upper and lower case, numbers, letters and punctuation. Leo advises using LastPass. She can download and use it for free on the desktop, or pay $12 for some additional features including mobile use.

Secret US Spy Program Targeting Americans' Cellphones Revealed

Episode 1135

News broke this week of the U.S. Marshals Service program that's been ongoing since 2007 to gather information from Americans' cellphones. It uses small fixed-wing Cessnas equipped with 'dirtboxes' that imitate cell towers to get identifying information from citizens. According to those familiar with the program, these planes make regular flights and can scoop up data from tens of thousands of phones in densely populated areas. The program is meant to locate individuals under investigation and fugitives, but it collects information from all cellphones.