encryption

How can I protect myself on a public hotspot?

Episode 1240

Doug from Alabama

Doug does a lot of traveling on the road and he uses a open Wi-Fi hotspots a lot. He's worried about the security of using those hotspots, though. Leo says that using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a good solution, as it burrows a secure tunnel through the hotspot so that all of his data is encrypted. He'd be totally safe and secure. The downside though it that using a VPN will slow him down a lot, and they are a challenge for some to set up. And the reality is, more and more of what he'll be doing online is encrypted anyway.

How can I keep my email private?

Episode 1209

Tim from Moorpark, CA

Tim wants an email service that's free, but doesn't read his email. Leo says that there has to be a way to pay the bills. Someone is paying for that free email and they do it by looking for keywords in email and then tailoring advertising to match it. There's really no such thing as a free lunch, and Leo would be leery of a service that promised free email that's 100% secure. They're either not going to be around long or they're going to monetize his activity without him knowing it.

Why does Microsoft need access to my data in Windows 10?

Microsoft Windows 10

Episode 1209

Dave from Riverside, CA

Dave wants to know more about Microsoft accessing user data in Windows 10. Leo says that Steve Gibson refuses to ever use Windows 10 because of the security features. But Leo has read the Microsoft EULA and it's no different than an ISP or any other online service. Microsoft is at least disclosing it. We have a 4th amendment right to privacy, but we also live in a dangerous time of terrorism and we have to make a provision for fighting it. There must be a balance and that's the debate that's raging.

Why can't I turn on automatic encryption on my Windows PC?

Episode 1206

Mark from Los Angeles, CA

Mark is having trouble encrypting his hard drive in Windows 8.1. He's told it's encrypted by default, but Leo says if he can't get it turned on, then his hardware probably doesn't support it. Mark should look for TPM 2.0 support. Users also need support for Windows connected standby feature. So if he doesn't have all that, he'll have to get a third party encryption utility. TrueCrypt is free and open source, but unfortunately, they've given the government a back door.

How can I wipe my mobile device completely?

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Episode 1204

Jonathan from Ohio

Jonathan wants to know if there's an Android equivalent to DBAN (Derek's Boot and Nuke). He wants to be sure to wipe his older phones and tablets completely. Leo says that the problem is that solid state discs can't really be erased effectively. It's because of the wear leveling software that SSDs use. Leo says one thing he can do is turn on encryption. That way, it's just word salad across the entire drive.

Is encryption illegal?

Episode 1203

Gary from Mission Viejo, CA

Gary is concerned with being able to encrypt his data. Is it secure? Leo says it is, but law enforcement can get the keys if asked by Microsoft. Leo says that using BitLocker is a good solution for keeping his data secure, though. What about TrueCrypt? Leo says he can use it, but it will stop working down the line.

How can I unencrypt CryptoWall Ransomware files?

Episode 1177

Chris from Huntington Beach, CA

Chris has a Dell laptop that got hit by the CyptoWall Ransom Ware. He was able to use ShareExplorer to recover some of his files, but he lost a lot of them because he refused to pay the ransom. So he has a bunch of files that are encrypted. Can he use something to unencrypt it? Leo says no. CryptoWall uses strong encryption and there would be no guarantee it could be fixed. This is why he should backup all of his data. Sometimes, an uneraser can recover data since CryptoWall erased the original and encrypted a copy. But outside of that, he's out of luck.

Verify the Identity of a Website in Your Browser

When browsing the web, you may have encountered a "certificate" warning from your browser. This happens when you're connecting to a site using encryption, and the browser can't verify the identity of that site. Every browser or operating system comes with a preset list of "Certificate Authorities." These authorities could be governments, companies, or other entities that issue identity certificates to websites. This is all part of the SSL encryption process, and it verifies that you're securely connected to the right place.