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Episode 1717 August 8, 2020

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Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Mike from San Marcos, CA Comments

Mike is having issues logging into his Chromebook. Leo says the first thing to try is to log in to his Google account on another computer. This will verify that Mike is using the right password. Then go back to the Chromebook and log in, careful to be sure that the caps lock isn't on. If that doesn't work, then he can always PowerWash to get back access.

Watch John from Fallbrook, CA Comments

John has a 55" Samsung TV that's about eight years old. He also moved away from surround sound to a soundbar. But even though his TV is a smart TV, it won't accept the internet signal to stream. He talked to Samsung and after resetting several times, they decided his chip was defective. Leo says that doesn't mean he'll have to get a new TV. Those smart tv apps are terrible because they are never updated. He recommends getting a ROKU device and plugging that into the HDMI port. Let the Roku handle the stream. But don't get the stick, they tend to overheat. Get the Roku HD.Around $89 with no extra fees. He can not only do WiFi, but also an Ethernet connection. It'll give John a much better experience. What about the soundbar? Leo says to go optical with that. And make sure to use the right cable. Or, if he is in the Apple TV ecosystem, then get the AppleTV.

John also only has WiFi through his cellphone, since he lives in a rural area. Leo says that in general, that won't be good enough unless he'll have a very fast LTE connection on the phone. But that'll burn through data pretty fast.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Luke from Trucker on the Road Comments

Luke wants to know more about Starlink and if it can be used for tracking people on the road. Leo says that Starlink satellites do not have photo surveillance capabilities, they are more like a cellular satellite, sending data up to the satellite and down to a receiver on the ground. It's very simple. Besides, there are plenty of surveillance satellites up there already. Not only that, but a mobile phone has GPS and it can be used to track every move one can make, even if they turn it off. And law enforcement can use it to track. It's a great violation of privacy that Google has fought. And lost. Leo says it's a grave threat to the 4th amendment protecting unreasonable search and seizure. 

But Starlink is legitimately exciting because it will provide high-speed internet access from low earth orbit. All over the world. 

Watch Doug from San Francisco, CA Comments

Doug wants to know how safe an open-source distro of Linux is from China. Leo says the key is that it's open-source and that likely means it's secure. HOWEVER, Leo stopped using Ubuntu because they added the capability to phone home back to Ubuntu. So he stays away from proprietary distros now in favor of community developed flavors like Debian or Manjaro Arch. Also, there's System 76s PopOS. It's great for the novice.

Watch Randy from North Hollywood, CA Comments

Randy's credit cards and bank cards have been hacked and stolen. He uses different companies. Did they steal his card numbers because of shopping online? Leo says to look at the common thread. Leo says to look at the common thread. Someone clearly got to where Randy keeps all those numbers stored. So they may have hacked into his Amazon account or his Google account. Make sure those numbers are blocked. The good news is, that his credit card companies will be monitoring it and will warn him. They will then lock the card and reissue them. 

It's also possible the computer or phone got hacked, more likely the computer. But he can wipe the phone and start over, just to be safe.  There is a known hack on Android that affects older, out of date Android devices. It sounds like that may be the case. And if he really wants to be secure, get an iPhone.

Moving forward, how can he keep them safe? Leo says to use a middle man charge card that is only used for one merchant. It's called a "burner card." Check out (TWiT Sponsor) Privacy.com. Capital One has a similar service called Eeno.

A password vault like LastPass to store cards is also a good idea.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Matt from Portland, OR Comments

Matt's mom got bit by a remote access scam and he's gotta clean up her computer to make sure it's secure. Leo says it's a common scam designed to get one to launching the "event launcher" which will show "red x's", which Leo says are perfectly normal. But if she doesn't know that, it'll make her think there's something wrong with her computer. But there isn't. Then they'll try and get her to give them a credit card to pay to fix it remotely. That gives them her credit card. Once that's done, they'll tell her they need remote access. And once that happens, they can put malware on her system, including a keystroke logger.

So what Matt needs to do is assume that the computer is infected. Back up the data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known good source. He can download the Windows 10 media creation tool directly from Microsoft. Then update it.

A better idea may be to get her a Chromebook instead. 

Watch Al from Upland, CA Comments

Al and his wife have decided to move everything up to the cloud and use a smaller Mac Air instead of his huge 27" iMac. He's uploaded everything up to Amazon. Will that be safe? Leo says it will, but it's a smart idea to have more than one backup option. Make a local backup copy and a second service in the cloud. Leo recommends Google Photos because it's free. If Al has iCloud, then he can turn on Cloud syncing and then sync them all. He can then optimize storage in Apple Photos and it'll eliminate the high res versions until he needs them, but he can still see them in Photos.