Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
Ron has messed up his Outlook. Now he can't see any images in the body of the email, and it won't download any graphics. Leo says that's a good thing! Outlook disables downloading jpgs by default because they can be hacked to include malware. That's called HTML email and it's a bad idea. So he'd have to opt-in to enable it, but Leo wouldn't. Plain text emails are always best. But if he really wants to, he can go into the Trust Center and change the settings.
Mike's personal laptop was hacked by someone at work. He also believes that person is stalking him. Leo says that from a technological point of view, it would be wise to wipe the PC completely and reinstall Windows. But he'd also recommend contacting the police.
VPNFilter has compromised over 500,000 routers in the US and can only be wiped if you reboot the router. It can also affect a vast array of routers. To find out if your router is vulnerable, check out this list at symantec.com.
While you're at it, it may be a good time to update your router firmware too.
Should he use LastPass on his phone? Does he need the app? Leo says that the app is just a convenience, but it's not really necessary. Android will autofill apps with LastPass, iOS not so much.
Manny also wants to know if Sonos will adopt Dolby Atmos at Home as a standard. Leo says they haven't. Atmos has that upward firing speaker design for the home, but so far, Sonos hasn't adopted it.
(Disclaimer: LastPass is a sponsor)
Julie recently lost her job after 25 years, and now she has to return the laptop she used. She needs to wipe it first, though. Leo says that laptop is company property and everything on it belongs to them, even if she has personal things saved on it. There is no way they can prevent her from doing it, but Leo advises talking to an attorney before she does.
(Disclaimer: 23andMe is a sponsor)
Tom heard that Authy is better than Google Authenticator. Is that true? Leo says that any authenticator will be better than no authenticator at all, especially when keeping password vaults protected. Most services offer 2 factor authentication now, but the danger there is that some SIMs can be duplicated or even hijacked with some creative social engineering. In fact, the authenticator can be re-routed. Authy sends a secret number and combines it with a time of day (hashing) that changes after 30 seconds.
Twitter sent an email to its 330 million users recommending that they change their passwords. This is because of an error that caused user passwords to be stored unencrypted and in plain text. While this was a big flaw, Twitter is being praised for disclosing the information immediately so users can take action to protect their accounts.
Bill has had a problem with a popup saying he needs to update his Flash. Leo says that's a phishing scam designed to get him to install Malware. Luckily, Windows Defender usually sees it and removes it because it's an old tactic. But if it didn't, it may be really difficult to get rid of the malware. Usually, the best thing to do is backup his data, format the hard drive, and then reinstall and update Windows. Never accept gifts from strangers. He shouldn't download from someone he doesn't know. He should always go directly to the source if he thinks he needs to update something.
Jim called in to talk about how the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring not only the free press, but also bloggers, podcasters, and vloggers. Jim wonders if he should use a VPN as a hedge against that. Leo says that while anonymizing his content is a natural reaction, and while a VPN could be a useful tool, but it's not a privacy tool. In fact, encrypting his traffic shines a light on him more than just being a part of the "background noise." Also, a VPN only encrypts the traffic along the way.