security

Can I Still Use My Chromebook After "End of Life?"

ChromeOS

Episode 1761

Jeff from Santa Rosa, CA

Jeff has a Chromebook that has reached "end of life." What? Leo says you can still use it, but they won't be supporting them with updates anymore. But it's still secure for use. If it's that old, however, it may be time to upgrade it. The latest round of ChromeOS devices support Android apps and are much more powerful. And the price ranges are very affordable. 

Is My Parents' Computer Secure?

Windows 10

Episode 1760

Brad from Cheyenne, WY

Brad set up his parents' new Windows computer with bookmarks so they can easily visit their favorite websites. Is that secure? Leo says, unless someone else has physical access, it's secure. He's also had it set to go to sleep and require a password after 10 minutes of inactivity. Leo says that's a good idea. But Leo also recommends giving them a basic user account, not an administrator account. That way they can't install anything or give someone remote access, or even privilege escalation. Based on what Brad has laid out, their computer is pretty locked down. 

Don't Use a "Free" or Super-Cheap VPN Service

A VPN is a way to mask an online user's physical location, which is a great way to maintain privacy and security....while also allowing one to watch TV & Netflix in another country (Japan)! VPNs do what "incognito modes" in browsers don't. However, you don't want to sign up for a super low-cost or free VPN service, as those can be quite suspicious. They have to be making money somehow, and it is likely by selling user information (sort of the antithesis of what VPN users want).

How Can I Prevent My Android Phone From Being Hacked?

Android 11

Episode 1756

Kim from Mission Viejo, CA

Kim is worried that her Android phone may get hacked. How can she prevent it? Leo says that Android is more open source and is more vulnerable to attack than an iPhone. But really, the best way to guard against it is to keep your phone up to date with Google's security updates. Can she get hacked by clicking on a link? Leo says it's possible, but the most common way is to download a bad app from the App store. Only download apps that are well known from well-known companies. Avoid any apps from Russia.

Make a Backup Copy of Your Strong Passwords

First of all, get a password manager such as Lastpass (TWiT sponsor), 1Password, or Apple's Keychain. Any password manager is better than no password manager. Secondly, it might be a good idea to create a backup (like your important computer files) of those strong passwords in case something goes wrong with accessing your vault of account information. Maybe make a USB key of passwords and store it in a super safe and secretive location at home just for worst-case scenarios regarding your master password.

Allow the Relevant Permissions for Your iOS Apps Requesting Access

If an application needs to share Photos and Video to an iOS device, it needs to store the files in the Photos album of your device in order to work. On an Apple device, the permissions will be granular. If you want to send a picture through an app like Facebook Messenger, you will get a pop-up asking for your permission to access your device's photos. That is normal, so don't freak out. If an app is asking for permissions to certain areas of your iOS device (like Contacts, Location, etc.) that don't seem to relate to the app's function, be wary.

Why Doesn't My Laptop Mic Work?

Vantage

Episode 1750

Jim from Los Angeles, CA

Jim is having problems with his new laptop and a microphone that doesn't work. Leo says to run the Lenovo Vantage software to see what it says about the microphone. It may just be an issue that a driver update can fix. Also, check Windows privacy settings. He may have turned off the mic. Windows Key -> Privacy. Check to see if the mic is turned off. But if those don't work, Jim's laptop is still under warranty. He can also check under the BIOS settings to see if the mic is shut off. F4 (or Fn->F4) may also turn it off.