Security and Privacy

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

How can I get rid of the FBI Moneypack virus?

Rick from Phelan, CA

Episode 1129

Rick bought a new Windows 7 PC. But while using his XP one last time, he got nailed by the FBI Moneypack virus. Leo says that the FBI is not going to make you buy a gift card and 7-11 and pay them tribute. And since it isn't locked out, you can just backup your data, format the hard drive and reinstall Windows. It's just an annoying malware popup designed to make you worry.

How can I recover my Windows 7 administrator password?

Episode 1128

Kal from Erie, PA
Password

Kal took Leo's advice and created a second user account for his wife, so she wouldn't be using the administrator account for day to day use. But then he lost the administrator password. Leo says there are bootable discs that he can use to reset the password. Here's a support document from Microsoft that will help him reset the password. He can use another computer to create this disc.

Why do ATMs display my email address?

Episode 1128

Concerned Consumer from California
ATM

Concerned Consumer is worried about his email being shown while he's using an ATM. He says that's a violation of privacy. Leo says there's no reason to show his email, but it's not the worst thing in the world to happen. The bank really shouldn't display it, though. They can easily asterix out most of the address. It's a very easy fix and it shows that the bank doesn't care that much about privacy.

My Gmail account has been hacked: how do I get it back?

Episode 1128

Francine from Palos Verdes, CA
Hacker

Francine's Gmail got hacked and now she's hearing from people she hasn't talked to in years. She knows it was a hack because she's been locked out of her account. Leo says that's the tell tale sign, as hackers will change the password in order to keep it. She ended up paying hundreds of dollars to get her email back. Leo says that Google will never charge to help get email back, and that's the danger of "googling" solutions.

What's the future of online gaming?

Episode 1126

Joshua from Nashville, TN
Microsoft

Joshua owns and operates Minecraft servers and he wants to know what the future has in store for online gaming. Leo says that since Microsoft bought Minecraft, it's possible that Microsoft could require Minecraft be run from Azure. But Leo doesn't think there's much cause to worry because the Minecraft culture is very independent. Gamers won't really feel Microsoft's presence in Minecraft for at least a year, but there's not much cause for concern. Since online gaming is social by nature, the future is bright.

How can I bypass a hard drive lock?

Episode 1122

"Old Geek in the Bronx" from New York
Hard drive

"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.

Does Facebook really have full access to my smartphone?

Mark from Anaheim, CA

Episode 1120

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.