Security and Privacy

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

Is my data safe in the cloud?

Episode 1365

Alan from Santa Rosa, CA
Samsung Chromebook Plus

Alan wants a Chromebook, but he doesn't want to save his banking data in the web. What can he do? Alan can store locally if he has network attached storage, but then he'll have to make sure he can sync properly. The Cloud is safe, especially with the Chromebook. Google does a very good job with security. It's a lot safer than a Windows machine. And Alan should remember, his ISP sees everything and saves everything anyway.

How can I open XLS files?

Episode 1365

Stan from Irvine, CA
Enable Trusted Documents

Stan is having problems opening XLS files due to an error message from the "Trust Center." It'll open the file, but he can't write back to it or save it to his hard drive. Leo says that is Microsoft's security center for excel spreadsheets because it's possible for bad actors to embed commands into an Excel file. There is a workaround for this. Stan can enable all content in the Excel Trust Center settings. But that can be risky if he's unsure of the content in the file he's opening. If he's sure about it, then he'll be OK.

How does Google Voice work?

Episode 1364

Gary from San Diego, CA
Google Voice

Gary wants to know about Google Voice with the Pixel phone. Leo says that Google Voice started as GrandCentral, which he used to use for his office. Then Google bought it and created a central phone hub for everyone. It gives you a new universal number and then rings different phones until it finds you. It also has custom voicemail boxes for people in your contact list, strangers, close friends, and unknown. It also sends you a text message with the voicemail. And it's free to use.

How can I protect my elderly mother from online scams?

Kathleen from San Diego, CA

Episode 1361

Kathleen's elderly Aunt has a Windows computer which she uses to access Facebook and then Outlook for email. Her problem is that she has had a ton of malware and phishing scams that have cost her a lot of money. Leo says that the elderly have always been easy prey to scam artists. It won't happen on a Chromebook though, and she should really have her get one. Leo says to be her administrator and give her a regular user account. But even at the end of the day, that won't stop her from calling a number.

Why does Windows 7 keep saying it's preparing to delete files?

Barbara from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1361

Barbara is getting a message that Windows 7 is preparing to delete her files as soon as she turns on her computer. Leo says that if Barbara has left files in the recycle bin, it may be that when she turns on the computer, it wants to delete the files in the recycle bin because it's full. She should try emptying the recycle bin, assuming she doesn't want anything in it, and then that should solve the popup. If she reboots and the message is still coming up, there could be something wrong with her system.

Has my Mac been hacked?

Episode 1360

Brian from Lancaster, CA
macOS Sierra

Brian thinks his Mac got hit by malware. He clicked on a link that took him to a page saying his Adobe Flash player was out of date, and he installed something. Now he thinks he's been busted. Leo says that Chrome has Flash built-in, and it's always updated, so he'll never have an outdated version.

Ransomware Attack Targets Hotel Door Locks

Episode 1359

Ransomware has always been a terrible plague of the internet, where bad guys inject software into your computer through phishing emails. They usually trick you by saying it's from your bank, the IRS, or even your boss asking you to open something. When you do that, it's an application that runs and scrambles all of your data and asks you to give them money to get the data back.

How can I tell if my computer has been hacked?

Episode 1359

Ryan from Los Angeles, CA
hacking

Ryan wants to know how would he know if his computer had been hacked. Leo says that he can always scan his computer with antivirus software and with Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool. In many cases, hackers are getting around that by moving their malware into routers and other "internet of things" devices. This is why updating the router's firmware is vital.