Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
Ilya spends a lot of time traveling and wants to know if Remote PC is a good way to access his computer to surf. Leo says you can, but it could be slower than using a VPN. It really comes down to your bandwidth, and what VPN service you're using. You'd certainly be more secure with a remote access product or VPN. But that doesn't mean a host nation won't see what you're doing. They'll at the very least be suspicious as to why you're using an encrypted app. So avoid authoritarian countries when using it. Leo also recommends the Ubakey.
Brown sees a TV commercial about the "Fix It Stick" which promises to clean up your computer. Is it worth it? Leo says the idea isn't all that bad, because you can boot to an external drive and then scan and clean your computer of viruses. But it really comes down to what antivirus tool they use. But you can do all that for free. So make your own!
Steve recently installed Norton AntiVirus off his Windows Vista machine, and now he's having all sorts of trouble. Now he gets a master boot record error. Leo says that's the file that starts up the computer and it's damaged. And there's also a other problems Steve is dealing with. This is why Leo hates Norton. Norton can quarantine system files and that messes up the entire works. You also probably didn't uninstall all of Norton, either. At this stage, you need to just bite the bullet and reinstall Windows. And do it with Windows 10 while you're at it. Another option is to use Linux.
Jay's mother is having issues with her bank, that here ATM card is getting accessed over and over again, even though the bank has reissued the card with a separate number. How can that be and what can he do? Leo says that a smaller bank may have lackluster security. Protections are much better on credit cards, than debit cards. You can only be on the hook for $50 with a credit card. With a debit card, the limits are higher. Always keep possession of your debit card and use a credit card for other options, like online purchases, or eating out.
Dan is going to be in a hotel for a few weeks while his apartment complex is being renovated.How can he be secure with Wifi? Leo says that a portable travel router like the Tiny Hardware Firewall will keep you good and protected. But if you turn your phone into a wifi hotspot, you're just as secure because it's encrypted, especially on GoogleFi.
The latest scam to hit the interwebs is an email saying that you've been hacked and spied upon, viewing porn online and unless you send thousands in Bitcoin, they will send the information to everyone you know. If an email plays upon your fear or strong emotions, don't fall for it!
Read more at krebsonsecurity.com.
Tom has a friend who gave a technician remote access after calling a number in a popup ad for his Echo. Leo says he fell victim to a scam and there's a good chance that his computer is infected with malware, a key logger, remote access trojans, the works. At this point, the only safe thing to do is backup the data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known, safe source, then update. Only then can he be sure his computer is safe.
Amazon's "Rekognition" face recognition software, which is being rented to police, has identified members of congress as felons. When the ACLU ran the software, designed to match people to a database of mugshots, it identified a total of 28 congressional members as felons. Amazon claims that the software was used incorrectly, and should have been set to a 99% confidence level instead of the 80% that was used.
Read more at arstechnica.com.
Bob has all his passwords inputted in a spreadsheet. Is that secure? Leo says if it works for him, that's one step better than just using the same password over and over. But if someone gets ahold of that file, they have the keys to his kingdom. That's why using LastPass, which generates complicated and secure passwords is a good idea. Bob agrees, but he doesn't know how to use it to change his passwords. Leo says if he goes to LastPass's help desk, they describe step by step how to do it.
Paul is concerned about internet of things and security. He wants to know if Plume would be a good, secure mesh router that can protect his network from the outside hacking his IoT. Leo says that Plume requires a yearly subscription to keep it up to date. Leo says it's somewhat justified because it can keep his network more secure. He's paying for security on his network, but his IoT devices may not be getting updated, so they're not secure. And his internet is only as secure as his weakest device.