Security and Privacy

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

Turkish Crime Family Claims It Has Hacked Apple's iCloud

Episode 1374

Apple iCloud

The Turkish Crime Family is threatening to release hundreds of millions of iCloud account names and passwords if Apple doesn't pay them a ransom of millions of dollars. To prove it, they gave ZDNet 54 samples to confirm it. Apple, however, says they have never been hacked. But Leo says it's important for iCloud users to change their passwords just in case. While you're at it, if you haven't turned on two factor authentication, it would be a good idea to do that as well.

Is it safe to sign tax forms over email?

Larry from Petaluma, CA

Episode 1373

Larry has been asked to submit his tax returns electronically, which has a clickable link to electronically sign. He's hesitant, especially since a similar attempt was a phishing scam a few years back. Leo says that Right Signature, Docu Sign, and others give you a secure link to digitally sign. The problem is, how do they verify it's him that clicks on the link and digitally signs? They should be requiring a PIN code, or second factor authentication.

Police Department Gets Search Warrant for Entire Community's Google Searches

Episode 1372

Google logo

The police department in Edina, MN has secured the right to look at people's Google Search history to look for information about a fraud case they were investigating. The legal brief is to cover anyone who searched for the name of the suspect and case, and it could be the entire community.

Leo says it's crazy and that Google should fight this tooth and nail. It's classic government overreach. Leo says he doesn't mind Google's algorithm putting custom ads on his search results, but for a government to ask who searched for something and to get a list is frightening.

Vault 7 Showing How CIA Hacks for Spying

Episode 1370

CIA

Wikileaks has announced Vault 7, a massive collection of documents that show how the CIA uses malware and other hacking techniques to spy online. Some of the techniques includes using smartTVs as a spying device since they use cameras and microphones built into the TVs. Samsung warned of this in their terms of service for their TVs last year. But Leo says that the CIA doesn't really have a switch to turn on all TVs, and if they did, the data they'd receive would be so massive and 99.9% of it would be useless. It could be used for targeted eavesdropping, though.

How can I get out of ransomeware?

Scott from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1368

Scott got bit by ransomware on all his work computers. Since the data is backed up, the course of action is to wipe the drives, reinstall the OS, and restore from the backup. Always keep yourself backed up and updated to prevent things like this from happening.

Here's what you can do to protect yourself:

1. Keep all software and OS updated on your machine.
2. Run as a limited user. NEVER an Admin.
3. Do not click on links from strangers. Do not accept unexpected attachments.

Can the Fix Me Stick remove viruses?

Jimmy from Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1368

Jimmy wants to know if the Fix Me Stick can remove viruses from his computer. Leo says don't get since it won't provide you with anything additional that you can already download from the internet. The most important thing to look for in antivirus software is the frequency of updates. You can also make your own "fix me stick". Antivirus software gives you a false sense of security. Windows existing security software is adequate and updated often. It's best to practice safe computing. Don't click on links and don't take candy from strangers. Be smart online.

Do I have a virus?

Paul from Rochester, NY

Episode 1368

Paul got a notice through Malware bytes that he a virus, but he can't seem to get rid of it. It keeps coming back. What gives? Leo says that it may not be malware at all. it could be a false positive. But the only real way to get rid of it, if it is, is to back up your data and reinstall windows from a known good source. You could also reboot into safe mode, then remove it. That could enable it to be removed without reloading. But Leo's betting it's not malware at all. Sometimes Malware bytes causes more trouble.

What is RFID and is it safe?

Episode 1367

Joe from Anaheim, CA
RFID chip

Joe wants to know what RFID is and how it works. Leo says it works by electromagnetic energy which powers it. It picks up the energy and then broadcasts a signal with an identifier number. Its range is not very far.

How can he protect himself from people grabbing his information via RFID? Leo says that there are wallets which have metal fiber in them that prevents the energy from passing to his chip and broadcasting it.