security

Is my computer vulnerable to attack?

Wireshark

Episode 1601

Jim from Wisconsin

Jim ran GRC Shields Up scanner on his router and he discovered that port 443 was open, not stealth. Is he vulnerable? Leo says you have to have port 443 to run on the internet, but it should be in "stealth mode." You'll also want to find out what's using it. NetStat will help you determine that. Wireshark will also do that. His fan is also running a lot. Leo says that may mean your computer is getting hotter. Probably needs to have the dust cleaned out of it.

Is a Chromebook secure?

HP Chromebook x2 - 12-f015nr

Episode 1596

Veronica from Irvine, CA

Veronica wants to know if her Chromebook works on a home network. Leo says if you have internet access, you will. Are they secure? Leo says absolutely. The thing is, a Chromebook uses ChromeOS, which uses a browser-based interface. This makes it far more secure. And if it does get infected you can simply use the "power wash" feature to start over. But it stores all your data in the cloud, which is far more secure than a hard drive on your laptop.

Why do I have to log into YouTube to watch a video?

YouTube

Episode 1596

Mike from Santa Anna, CA

Mike watches YouTube off his laptop and he keeps getting popups requiring him to log into his Google account to watch videos. What gives? Leo says that Google is starting to get restrictive on some content, and it may be that you have to log into YouTube in order to view sensitive or explicit videos. That doesn't mean anything other than topics that aren't advertiser-friendly. Leo also says it enables Google to collect data on you, so they can monetize it. Get ready, that's the future.

Is public wifi at a hospital safe?

Netgear AC1200 Dual Band WiFi Router

Episode 1589

Gordon from Long Island, California

Gordon is in the hospital, and wants to know if their public wifi is safe or should he use a VPN? Leo says that if it's using a wide-open network, then anyone can log in. It's a shared, public network. There are some risks, but your banking is safe because it's encrypted. The one thing to worry about is a "man in the middle" attack. Hospitals with public wifis could give the hospital the ability to watch what you do. That's when a VPN can come in handy. It will encrypt all traffic, by burrowing an encrypted tunnel to the internet. 

Use Reputable Apps to Scan Sensitive Documents

If you are scanning important, sensitive documents with your cell phone and sending those files over the internet, make sure to use an app from a reputable, reliable company. Do not use apps from relatively unknown developers, where images could potentially be intercepted. On Android phones, use Google Drive's scan option. On iPhone, open the Notes app and hit the + sign, then tap the "Scan Documents" option. Evernote Scannable is also a legitimate high-quality (free) scanning app.

Examine the Layout of a URL to Check its Legitimacy

When you want to find out if you should stay away from typing in a suspicious and possibly fake web address, check the URL's TLD (top-level domain) which should imply whether the site is legitimate or not. For example, if a web address reads Google(dot)com/blahblah then it is a legitimate Google page. However, bad guys can spoof Google and create an address like Google(dot)badguy(dot)com which may easily deceive many victims at first glance. Always be cautious of deceptive URLs and links that can infiltrate your device if clicked.

Should I use 2-Factor Authentication?

 Net Neutrality

Episode 1572

Joey from San Diego, CA

Joey wants to know if the new Net Neutrality bill will pass. Leo says probably not. The Senate is controlled by one party that isn't in favour of Net Neutrality and the president wouldn't sign it if it did. Their view is that the government shouldn't regulate the internet. But Leo says that while that's true, it's a good idea to have a check and balance on the internet service providers.

Should you use 2-factor authentication? Leo says yes, but Leo isn't a fan of 2FA over SMS text messaging. It's too easy to spoof, but it's better than nothing.

Be Cautious of Kaspersky Anti-Virus Software

If you're going to use antivirus software, you may want to choose something other than Kaspersky. While Leo believes Eugene Kaspersky, the CEO of Kaspersky Lab, is a great person, his company is Russian and may be prone to manipulation or seizure by the Russian government/military. In any case, Leo simply recommends excellent alternatives with less baggage. While we don't know for sure what goes on with companies like Kaspersky or Huawei, it's best to err on the side of caution.