encryption

Is the government monitoring my LastPass activity?

LastPass (a TWiT Sponsor)

Episode 1744

Mario from Lancaster, CA

Mario works at a government agency that has stiff security. He uses LastPass (a sponsor of the TWiT network) on his devices and wants to know if the government can see his data or his passwords? Leo says it's possible. They may have key loggers or screen readers that can see your activity and certainly monitor your online activity. He wouldn't be surprised if they have custom certificates that allow them to snoop, even if you're using encrypted security. But LastPass probably keeps Mario's activity safe. 

How can I encrypt my data?

Windows BitLocker

Episode 1712

Dan from New York, NY

Dan wants to encrypt all his data, so nobody can ever see it once he's gone. He already uses VeriCrypt and BitLocker. But he also has DVDs with image files and he wants to encrypt them. ISOs? Leo says that Dan can create ISOs of his DVD data. You import the data onto your hard drive and then destroy the DVD. Then you can encrypt the files using VeriCrypt or BitLocker the hard drive. 

How Can I Get Back Into an LG Phone With a Forgotten Pin Code?

LG

Episode 1711

Melissa from Minnesota

Melissa has an LG Stylo 5 mobile phone and the phone has been locked down after she inputs a pin code into it. Now she has forgotten the pin and only has 30 tries to get back in. Leo says that worst case, the phone will erase back to factory defaults. So she won't lose the phone itself. But there's data she doesn't want to lose. Can LG get the data off? 

Is Personal Vault on One Drive secure and easy to use?

OneDrive

Episode 1678

Joe from Tampa, FL

Joe wants to know if the personal vault feature of OneDrive is easier to use. He's copied and pasted folders into it and finds now that there are duplicates. Leo says that Microsoft apps save things to backup by default. Also, personal vault is encrypted for your security. It won't automatically sync from multiple places, just that my documents folder. Plus, you'd have to unlock it every time you need access. 

How can I encrypt my email?

GPG Tools

Episode 1639

Charles from Virginia Beach, VA

Charles wants to encrypt his email communications. How can he do that? Leo says that your email can go through dozens of servers before getting to the person you addressed it to. And everyone along the way can read it unless it's encrypted. It's more like a postcard, but without federal privacy protection. PGP (Pretty Good Protection) uses public-key cryptography, which has two different keys. One public, and one private. Only you can encrypt with the private key, while the public key is used to verify and open the email. You can give the public key to anyone.

What is a VPN and do I need to use it?

VPN

Episode 1621

Rene from Vancouver, British Columbia

Rene wants to know if she can use a VPN to keep herself safe and still log into sites like Facebook. Leo says that a VPN is an encrypted tunnel for your traffic that masks your data as you use it. You should be able to still log in, but some sites don't support it. How about using an airport WiFi with a VPN. Leo says that's a very good place to use a VPN, but he generally doesn't use public wifi, especially in an airport. And you NEVER want to do banking or eCommerce on one.

Is Bitlocker Safe?

Bitlocker

Episode 1616

Mary from Lisbon, North Dakota

Mary recently installed an SSD into her computer, as well as Bitlocker. Now she's getting a blue screen of death. So she started over, without Bitlocker, and got a BSOD again. Sandisk told her to update her laptop BIOS, and that worked. But Sandisk also said not to put encryption on an SSD. Leo says he encrypts every SSD drive. His phone is encrypted and they are SSDs. In fact, Windows Pro has Bitlocker built-in! And some turn on Bitlocker at the factory. So Mary is fine to use it, as long as she doesn't lose her password. 

How Can I Crack an Old Floppy Password?

floppies

Episode 1614

Mike from Riverside, CA

Mike resurrected an old computer to look through some old floppies, but they're password protected and he can't remember the password. Leo says that if Mike can figure out how he password protected it, that could give him a clue. But floppy disks weren't normally password protected. So it's an odd thing for a password pop up to happen. It may be possible to examine the disk using a Linux computer. That could lead to being able to read it. But not for very much longer, as Linux will not support floppies moving forward.