Security and Privacy

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

How can I restore my backup quickly from Carbonite?

Greg from Laguna Hills, CA

Episode 1119

Greg's PC got attacked by Crypto Locker, malware that encrypted his data and holds it for ransom of $500. WOW. They require bitcoin and they do that because it's not traceable. Greg decided to not pay the ransom and went format his hard drive and now he's going to recover his data from Carbonite. But it doesn't backup everything. Leo says Greg can set Carbonite to backup everything on his computer if he sets it that way. And they do versioning. And they're support is very understanding and helpful. He's doing the restore and he says it's taking days to accomplish.

Should I trust software update popups?

Frank from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1119

Frank gets this popup Windows update request and he doesn't know if he can trust those. Leo says that Frank is right to ask that question. You want to be care and by default say "no" and then go to update and search for the latest updates and install them. That way you're protecting yourself. It's always a good idea to reject anything that's pushed on you online.

How can I recover my Windows Administrator Password?

Laxman from Arizona

Episode 1119

Laxman uses Windows 7 as a limited user and he can't remember his administrator password. How can he recover it? Leo says Lophtcrack is a utility that hackers use to break into the administrator password. But Symantek bought it and killed it. There's also a utility by, which you can download LiveCD.ISO, burn it to a CD and then boot your computer. The utilty will remove the password and let you reset it.

How can I keep data secure on the iPhone?

Episode 1116

Adam from The Bronx, NY

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.

Celebrity Nude Data Breach Underscores Need for Second Factor Authentication

Episode 1116

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.

How can I backup my Android Phone like iCloud?

Episode 1116

Jonathan from Hollywood, CA
Samsung Galaxy S5

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.

What are the first things I should do after buying a MacBook Pro to protect my data?

Jeff from Raleigh, NC

Episode 1115

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.

Microsoft Refuses to Turn Over Emails to Government

Episode 1114


Pending appeal, Microsoft has refused to turn over emails stored in Ireland to the US government. If Microsoft loses on appeal, it'll have to turn over the emails however. This is a scary thing because it could mean that the reach of the US courts extend beyond our shores, and around the world. In the view of Microsoft and many legal experts, federal authorities have no jurisdiction over data stored in a foreign country, and this would violate the sovereignty of Ireland.

Leo thinks that companies like Microsoft and Apple will see this as an opportunity to fight for user privacy.

What's the best free antivirus software?

Greg from Camarillo, CA

Episode 1114

Greg has been using AVG and he's ready to move to another option. Leo says he's not much of a fan of AVG, and instead recommends Microsoft's Security Essentials. Windows 8 doesn't need it since it comes built in as Windows Defender. But for Windows 7, Security Essentials is best. Leo also recommends not running in administrative mode, and he should demote his account to "standard user."