Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
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.
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."
Jeff has an iPhone 4 and wants to know if there's an app that will map his travels through his GPS. Leo says that Glympse is a great app that does that if he wants people to know when he's going to arrive. Google does it natively at Google.com/dashboard under Location History, but he'd have to enable it in Google Maps.
Kathy thinks her Mac got hacked. She gave a support line remote access to her Mac and she's worried she got hacked. Leo says that if she didn't give them her credit card, chances are she's OK. But if she wants to be sure, she can download Little Snitch. It'll observe her computer activity and let her know if it does phone home or let someone remotely access it again. She should also turn on her software firewall.
Bob has been seeing that the Microsoft scam is targeting seniors. Seniors are getting calls from "tech support" at Microsoft saying they're infected. Bob says that he tells all his clients that it's a scam, but they find it's very authoritative. Leo says that's why seniors are much better off with tablets instead of computers. Leo says that he believes the same technicians that actually handle tech support overseas are moonlighting making these calls.
Dennis has an older Windows XP machine with two drives - one for programs, one for data. Lately, Malware Bytes has been finding "suspicious files." Could they be malware? He quarantined the files and now he can't access his data. When he unquarantined them, they were deleted. Leo says it could be a false positive.
Chris has heard about the "Black Phone," which claims to be the most secure and private phone on the market. Leo says that it claims to prevent spying on by not sharing any GPS data. But Leo says that it's safe only if he trusts the company. Leo says the bottom line is, if he lives his life online, it's not possible to be 100% private. The specs aren't state of the art either. It has 16GB storage and a low power processor. And who's to say that it isn't really a front for the feds trying to nab people with things to hide?
Security expert named Alex Holden published a report this week saying that a Russian gang has stolen 1.2 Billion email passwords. Leo was initially skeptical, but he knows insiders who have seen the data and he's now convinced it's real. The reason he was skeptical at first was because he was charging $250 for people to check to see if they're on that list. The news was announced at the annual DefCon Hacker convention in Las Vegas.
Leo decided to try out Facebook Messenger this week since Facebook has decided to force users to use it instead of the regular Facebook app for private messages. Leo says that not only does the app deplete your battery by constantly monitoring your activity and location, but you also can't turn off notifications on messages for longer than 8 hours in the app. As a result, Leo was more than happy to delete both the Messenger app and the Facebook app from his phone. He'll just continue to use Facebook on the desktop instead.
JC has been requiring his customers to do off site backup. But the problem is, they're all backing up to him and his network! That's getting a bit pricey. He's been thinking about using BitTorrent Sync. Leo says it's an interesting technology which allows data syncs across all bittorrent users. But it's a leap of faith because nobody knows how it really works.