A teenage hacker discovered flaws in his school's educational Blackboard software and presented his findings with the eye of improving security. He made a presentation at the Black Hat Hackers convention in Las Vegas. But while he could have changed his grades, he opted not so. But he did break into a college network to change his admissions status to "accepted" to make a point. And while the software company lauded the teen for discovering the flaws, he was suspended at school.
Fred is trying to import his contacts and calendars and gets a single PST file that he can't import. Leo says he can choose several different formats, including CSV. Fred also has a Dell computer and his free trial of McAfee has expired. Leo says GOOD! Get rid of it and use Windows Defender. It's one of the best AVS out there, and it comes free with Windows 10. You don't need anything else.
Facebook admitted that for years, they have been storing up to 600 million member passwords in a single text file that was unencrypted. The text file was also searchable by thousands of Facebook employees. Facebook claims nobody had abused the ability and will notify users if their accounts are compromised. So you may want to change your password anyway.
Mike's personal laptop was hacked by someone at work. He also believes that person is stalking him. Leo says that from a technological point of view, it would be wise to wipe the PC completely and reinstall Windows. But he'd also recommend contacting the police.
Ted put Linux on an old Vista Machine, but when he went to use the app Turbo Tax online, it said that it wouldn't support Linux. Leo says to try the Chromium browser in Linux. It's more open source. But being a standard web app, it should work regardless. Is it secure? Leo says it is, but it's not 100% flawless. It does have the benefit of being obscure, though. Hackers want to go after the most people, and open source is such a small segment that it's relatively off their radar. Certainly more secure than Windows Vista.
Brad accidentally downloaded some malware, but he can't find it to remove it. Leo says downloading a file is only half the equation. He then would have to run it. Since he can't find it, even in his download log, it's likely it was a failed download. On top of that, Brad runs a Mac, so he's even more secure than Windows. But he should always make sure he keeps his computer updated, just in case.
Kasperky AntiVirus was caught in the middle of a battle between the company's owners, and the Russian Security Services government agency. The company lost and now the Russians are now in charge of the Kaspersky Security Network. Leo says that he hasn't recommended Kaspersky for awhile now and even the US Federal Government recommends not using it because of the potential for spying. But it's more than a potential espionage tool, as there's a hole in the Kaspersky Network that would allow an employee of the company, or a hacker to snoop into your system.
With the now infamous Spectre and Meltdown processor flaws affecting every intel based computer for the last ten years, Intel pushed out a fast fix to plug the holes. Now they're saying not to use it. It seems that some computers will get stuck in a reboot loop. So the cure is worse than the disease. To date, there's been no evidence that the Spectre and Meltdown flaws have been exploited, so Leo is wondering if the right advice is to do nothing at all. At least until a new fix has been released, or that malware shows up that will take advantage of it.
According to a recent study funded by Google, 15% of users have reported that their email or social media account was taken over due to phishing scams. Leo says that over 25 million users were bit by an email phishing scam, while about 35,000 were victim to keystroke loggers. Leo says that this is the season for scams and that users may get emails from the "IRS" or even phone calls demanding personal information. It's always a scam and users shouldn't fall for it.
Bernie wants to know about antivirus. What does he need? Leo says that Microsoft's free version that comes with Windows will do the job just as good as any other, and it's free. But it can't stop zero day exploits. So his number one line of defense is his own behavior online.