Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
"The Old Geek in the Bronx" has an issue with a computer repair that the Geek Squad did, where they password protected the hard drive preventing access to the system. The Geek Squad denies they did it! Leo says that searching for "cracking a locked hard drive" on Google, he can find some solutions. Dell says they can unlock a hard drive if he would ship it to them. Hard drive passwords are very secure and difficult to break. And he'll probably have to buy gold support from Dell to do it, but he can.
Jeff recently bought a Windows 8.1 computer and it comes with McAffee. Does he need it? Leo says no, Windows comes with a far better antivirus utility called Windows Defender. McAffee is put on the computer because the company makes money putting it on every computer. He should uninstall it immediately and activate Windows Defender.
Leo says yes, this is true, but it isn't something to worry about. Both Apple and Android require that developers request permission to do things on the smartphone. Apps can request to have access to the phone dialer, texting, microphone and more. It does cause concerns among users primarily because they don't know why these apps are requesting such permissions. For example, in order to use Facebook Messenger to make a phone call or send out a text, the app needs access to the phone's operating system to do it. Otherwise the app won't have that functionality.
Greg's PC got attacked by Crypto Locker, malware that encrypts user data and holds it for a ransom of $500. They require Bitcoin and they do that because it's not traceable. Greg decided to not pay the ransom, formatted his hard drive and now he's going to recover his data from Carbonite. But it didn't backup everything.
Frank gets a popup Windows update request and he doesn't know if he can trust it. Leo says that Frank is right to ask that question. He'll want to be careful, say "no," and then go to Windows Update and search for them there. It's always a good idea to reject anything that's pushed onto him online.
Laxman uses Windows 7 as a limited user, but he can't remember his administrator password. How can he recover it? Leo says Lophtcrack was a utility that hackers use to crack the administrator password. But Symantec bought it and killed it.
There's also a utility by PogoStick.net, where he can download a LiveCD.ISO, burn it to a CD and then boot his computer. The utilty will remove the password and let him reset it.
Adam has been keeping his bank information and passwords in the notes section of the iPhone, and he's wondering how secure that really is. Leo says that having different passwords for every account is a good thing and using a password manager is the best way to handle them. So take that next step and get LastPass. He should also turn on second factor authentication on every site that supports it.
With the breaking news that several celebrities who had their cloud accounts hacked and nude photos published on the internet, Leo says that this underscores the need for second factor authentication. Companies use secret questions so that you can answer them and get your password or reset it. But Leo says that people make the mistake of answering these questions truthfully. And for a celebrities, that's very easy to discover. Leo uses pneumonics and puts in bogus answers that only he knows and nobody can guess.
Jonathan just picked up a Samsung Galaxy S5. He wants to know if Android has a backup option similar to iCloud. Leo says there's no way to backup everything, but Android will backup apps and settings, which include Wi-Fi Passwords, to his Google account. That way when he logs into his Google account with a new phone, it'll restore his apps and settings automatically.
Leo says since most MacBook Pros come with SSDs now, it's important to turn on drive encryption right away. If he doesn't encrypt the drive from day one, some data could end up unencrypted on that drive. Turn on encryption before putting private data on it. The Mac comes with something called File Vault for encryption, which he can access right from the Mac's System Preferences. He just has to turn it on, and he won't even know it's running. The only reason to do this is in the event that his computer was stolen.