Security and Privacy

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

Where is my external hard drive in Windows?

Episode 1548

Jim from Ordway, CO

Jim is having problems with Windows recognizing his external usb drive. It keeps losing it. But his image catalog says his images are there. Leo says that many photo gallery apps keep a thumbnail for fast referral. So it could have the thumbnail, but not see the original image, if the drive is disconnected or lost. Leo also says that your external drive could be getting flakey. Get a backup drive and make a copy of your photos. Save them online too. Three copies, on two formats, one off site. The good news is, that hard drives are cheap now. You can get a 1 TB drive for under $100.

Why is my printer printing out ads?

Episode 1547

Steve from Nashville, TN

Steve's printer is suddenly printing out ads. What the heck? Leo says there's a good chance he got nailed by either a browser hijack, or malware that has replaced his printer driver. He recommends using Malware Bytes, by only get it from the original creator. The chatroom says that there is a printer exploitation tool kit out there on the web. It could be that there's malware in the HP firmware as well.

Australia to Pass Anti-Encryption Law

Episode 1547

Parliament in Australia is pushing through an anti-encryption law that will make it not only illegal to use encrypted communications, but will also give law enforcement and other government authorities the power to use malware to crack an encrypted network. Leo says it will endanger the security of anyone using an online service and obvious violates an individual's privacy rights. Russia has a similar law, as does England.

Marriott Starwood Data Breach Affects 500 Million Users

Wallet

Episode 1545

Marriott just announced this week that it learned of a security breach from four years ago, and 500 million users are affected. For 327 million guests, the exposed information include names, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, and arrival and departure information. For millions of others, credit card numbers and expiration dates were compromised. Marriott says it will begin emailing guests affected by the breach.

A Popular Microsoft Scam Has Been Traced Back to India

Computer mouse

Episode 1545

For a long time, scammers have been calling or displaying a popup message on PCs with the threat that their computer access will be restricted if they don't call a number and make a payment. According to the New York Times, this official looking message is coming from a scam operation in Mumbai, India - which is the main hub for call centers. Leo says that's because the real tech support people are moonlighting with this scam.

Why can't I use Java in my browser?

URL

Episode 1543

Doug from Beaumont, CA

Doug likes to visit the Aviation Weather Service online, but he's been having trouble with it lately. Leo says that's because it uses Java and the Java browser plugin has probably been disabled. Doug should go into his browser settings and be sure it's installed, updated, and enabled. But it's getting harder to use Java in the browser. If he has Firefox version 52 or higher, or Chrome 42 or higher, or even Safari, the plugin would have been disabled for security reasons. So his only choice may be to use Internet Explorer for that site. He'll have to turn on scripting for Java apps.