Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
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.
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.
John is going to college soon and he's concerned about Wi-Fi security. Should he have a VPN? Leo says he can. He can find out how open the network is by going into iTunes to see if he can see someone else's iTunes library. If he can, then it's insecure. If he can't, then it's locked down.
John is worried about security on his new Windows laptop. Leo says to follow the archonym "UPDATE":
Derek has to create a Google account, but he wants to prevent Google from having his information. He tried to use an app to mask his phone, but it won't work. Can he use a burner phone? Leo says that he'll have to jump through a lot of hoops to prevent it, but it can be done. A burner phone will work. Then he can create a Google Voice number to use with that. Or he can just put the burner into his car for emergencies. But every time he searches, Google will know what he searched for, even when he's using a private window. The reality is, his phone carrier and ISP will know everything.
Steve is having trouble with Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. After about 2 minutes, both apps crash. Leo says that it could be malware infecting his browsers. But more likely there's a render driver that both browsers use which is causing the crash when he visits certain websites. Leo recommends doing a thorough scan using Windows Defender, and he should also run the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool from the command line. To get to that, he can press the Windows Key and type MRT. Leo also suspects that Java is broken.
Patrick hears Leo talk about Lastpass a lot, but he wants to know if Apple's password vault is secure. Leo says that Apple uses Keychain and it's very secure. It only works on Apple devices, though. And with iOS12, Keychain does autofill.
(Disclaimer: Lastpass is a sponsor)
Leo says whenever he's on communal Wi-Fi, as he will be on the cruise, a hotel, or a coffee shop, everyone's on the same network. Nowadays, places like these are getting better about making it more secure, and it isn't as risky as it used to be. But there is a potential risk that someone else on that network could snoop on him. Whenever he's using email, shopping on Amazon, or banking, all of that traffic is already encrypted. Leo thinks using a VPN on cruise ship Wi-Fi would probably slow his connection down to a point where he wouldn't be able to stream content online.
Chris wants to know if he really needs Webroot and Windows Defender. Leo says he doesn't need Webroot at all, and it's likely they paid the computer company to put it on. He should free to uninstall it. Windows Defender will do a great job and it comes free with Windows 10.