remote access

What do I do if I've been hacked?

Episode 1739

Don from Southern California

Don's friend has a PC that got infected and scammed by someone who took control of her PC by remote access. What can she do? Leo says that all hacking attempts are designed to scare you and get you to act without thinking and call a number. Once they have you on the phone, they can use a series of tricks to get you to think you're infected. Then, they charge you to "fix it." Leo says that odds are, the computer wasn't infected, but certainly is now thanks to the remote access hack.

Have I been hacked?

Microsoft's Autoruns

Episode 1736

Chris from Orange County, CA

Chris bought a new HP Envy laptop a few months ago and he's not all that impressed with it. It's nice, but he is having issues with a wandering cursor that opens things up and moving around. It looks like someone has connected to it and done something. But when he steps in front of it, it stops. Leo says that it's likely the computer has a remote access trojan on it and someone is hunting around. When he steps in front of the webcam, it stops. So that tells Leo someone is playing around. 

Have I Removed All Remote Access Software?

finder

Episode 1731

Lori from Orange, CA

Lori googled how to remove remote access apps on her Mac, and she was able to remove them after Apple walked her through it. But she's worried that she didn't get it all. Leo says that if Apple took them off, it's a good chance Lori is fine. It's easy to get paranoid about a computer because it does a lot of things we don't understand. The only concern is that when Lori gave the original technician remote access, that he could've installed something else she doesn't know about. If she's really worried, she can always back up her data, format her hard drive, and then reinstall macOS.

Can I revoke remote access from our company IT technician?

ConnectWise

Episode 1730

Lori from Alicia Viejo, CA

Caller allowed a third party that handles support for her company, to install ConnectWise on her private computer. Is that safe? Leo says that if your company has farmed out IT support to a third-party, it's unlikely that third-party is going to lose that business by compromising your personal data. But her devices are all connected. Can she revoke it? Leo says that you can uninstall ConnectWise and remove that access. 

How Can I Be Sure My Mom's Computer Hasn't Been Hacked?

Windows 10

Episode 1717

Matt from Portland, OR

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.

How can I remotely access my subscription services?

Netflix

Episode 1655

Eric from San Diego, CA

Eric travels a lot and he wants to take his workstation and create a server he can access online. But he's concerned that his subscription licenses won't be verified if he accesses them remotely.  Leo says this is why he hates copy protection. It's a hassle for people who play by the rules. One thing Eric could do is uninstall his Creative Cloud apps on one computer and reinstall on his mobile devices. That'll clear one of his licenses for use while traveling. 

Is a VPN faster than remote access?

Episode 1520

Ilya from Los Angeles, CA

Ilya spends a lot of time traveling and wants to know if Remote PC is a good way to access his computer to surf. Leo says you can, but it could be slower than using a VPN. It really comes down to your bandwidth, and what VPN service you're using. You'd certainly be more secure with a remote access product or VPN. But that doesn't mean a host nation won't see what you're doing. They'll at the very least be suspicious as to why you're using an encrypted app. So avoid authoritarian countries when using it. Leo also recommends the Ubakey.

Is my computer infected?

Keyboard

Episode 1515

Tom from Montana

Tom has a friend who gave a technician remote access after calling a number in a popup ad for his Echo. Leo says he fell victim to a scam and there's a good chance that his computer is infected with malware, a key logger, remote access trojans, the works. At this point, the only safe thing to do is backup the data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows from a known, safe source, then update. Only then can he be sure his computer is safe.