Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
Joe wants to know about the Tiny Hardware Firewall. Leo says it's a clever solution for those who want to use open Wi-Fi hotspots safely. Tiny Hardware Firewall will give him an additional layer of protection by encrypting all of his Wi-Fi traffic with a virtual private network. Leo adds that it also adds another layer called the Black Hole Cloud service which gives users their own cloud server. This makes it lightning fast. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is about $35, plus a fee for their VPN, which could be about $100 a year.
Avast/Piriform has confirmed that its popular CCleaner app has been infected with malware for the last several months and that users who have used it may have had their computer's compromised. Avast says they believe that they've fixed the problem and that no users have been harmed by the hack. But Leo says he worries about the term "we believe," and this is yet another reason why using these kinds of apps to protect yourself gives you a false sense of security.
David's mother received a call from a scammer that asked for her Admin password, which she gave out. After that, they deactivated David's admin account. Leo says the computer is compromised and recommends reinstalling Windows while educating his mother about scammers and sensitive information.
Avast has installed something called "Grime Fighter" and it's taken over Scott's computer. What can he do? Leo says this is why he's not in favor of using third party antivirus software anymore. They give you a false sense of security and it can open up additional vulnerabilities. Leo suspects that Grime Fighter is not from Avast, but instead is pretending to be. At this point, the only thing you can really do is back up your data, format your hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known good source. And if you must have an AVS, use Microsoft's own Windows Defender.
Johnny Jet is in Texas for the opening of the NFL at Cowboys Stadium, plus he's going to a Rangers game as well. There, he found out that ballpark nachos were invented at Arlington Stadium. With Hurricane Irma bearing down, Johnny has put together some great information on resources. Check it out here - http://www.johnnyjet.com/hurricane-irma-travel-resource-page/.
Brad's mother has been getting calls from "Microsoft" saying that her computer may be hacked. Is that legit? Leo says it's a scam. They use a robot dialer to randomly call numbers out of the phone book and will try and get victims to install something or give them remote access to the computer. Once they have that, the game is up. Microsoft will NEVER call you.
The news broke this week that credit reporting agency Equifax had been hacked, and that 143 Million credit files had been stolen. This is prompting a huge class action lawsuit. Leo says the three big credit agencies have a very high duty to keep customer information safe, and they failed.
Bruce got an old computer and he is planning to do a reinstall of Windows Vista. He's wondering if he can wipe out all the partitions, but he's worried that he won't be able to restore it if he needs to. Leo says that Windows will save restore points, but Vista didn't have a restore partition with the Windows installer on it. So he'll have to keep the disc for restoring it if the need arises. Bruce should just understand that Vista doesn't have many updates anymore, so he should be careful using it online. If he can, he should try and get a copy of Windows 7.
Myrna got locked out of Facebook when she had to reset her account due to malware. Leo says that's Facebook's latest technique for protecting the social network against malware. But like all antivirus utilities, there sometimes can be false positives that can trigger the lockdown. Myrna even ran her own scan with ESET. Leo says that's why he doesn't like antivirus software.
Myrna got a notification that she needed to run special software in order to get back on Facebook. Leo says that chances are good that Myrna downloaded a virus. She has to be careful when responding to popups. They're usually "phishing" scams designed to get her to run a scan or download software. It's a red flag that they're going to break into her system and use it. Since Myrna fell for it, the only safe thing to do is back up her data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known, good source.