security and privacy

Is My Backup Safe From Ransomware If It's Unplugged From The Network?

iDrive

Episode 1727

Glen from California

Glen wants to know if ransomware can happen if you unplug your backup from the network. Leo says not until he plugs it back in. But it's less likely with a home-based system than say, a commercial network. So clean up the infected computer before reconnecting the backup, otherwise, it could infect it. A lot of ransomware also has time-released capability. It may not infect right away. So if Glen has backup unplugged from the network, he should keep it that way until he's wiped the hard drive and removed the ransomware. 

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. 

Is my data on the dark web?

HaveIBeenPwned.com

Episode 1706

Ed from Huntington Beach, CA

Ed is worried because he got a warning that his data has been found on the dark web. What can he do about that? Leo says you can't really do anything. Data breaches happen all the time. You can change all your passwords, and Leo recommends doing that with your bank, and if your credit card number has been compromised, you can change that. But in most cases, the dark web compromise is mostly your email address, and that's it. 

Check out HaveIBeenPwned.com to see if your email information has been grabbed. 

Should I use NextDNS?

NextDNS

Episode 1702

Pete from Amesbury, MA

Pete heard about a device to keep his iPad private called NextDNS. Does it use a VPN? Leo says that DNS is essentially the internet address system in IP numbers. DNS is the phone book for it. NextDNS bypasses your ISP so that they don't know what you're browsing on. It will encrypt the traffic to NextDNS and back. But your browser is still visible. The thing about VPNs is that they are a tunnel that encrypts everything and slows things down. Leo uses NextDNS on all his devices, but you'll go through the free tier pretty quickly. But it's not very expensive.

Should I Uninstall My Adobe Flash Security Utility?

Episode 1697

Dino from Claremont, CA

Dino uses a label program to create address labels. But after an update, it stopped working. Support wants him to uninstall the Adobe Flash Security option. Leo says that's a problem because flash is a security issue itself and turning off the security app makes you vulnerable. Leo also recommends exporting out data and then finding a better label program.

How can I secure my WiFi router?

TP Link Router

Episode 1684

Bruce from Carlin, NV

Bruce wants to know how he can secure his WiFi router. Leo says to first enter the router address (198.x.x.x) and then change the default password. Then, turn off Administer via WLan. This will prevent someone from the outside controlling your router. Step 3, turn off UPNP (aka universal plug-in play). This prevents a device inside of your network, like an Xbox, opening up your router to the internet when you don't want it to. Lastly, turn on WPA2 security encryption.

Using Zoom has multiple security and privacy issues

Zoom

Episode 1684

While Zoom is helpful in keeping people connected during the Covid19 isolation, it also has huge privacy issues. Firstly, Zoom installed a web server on the background of Apple computers that would stay even if you uninstalled the software. Apple has fixed that, but Zoom was very slow to respond. There are also security issues with "Zoom bombing" where trolls are crashing meetings and posting offensive material.

Issues With Zoom Security for Users

zoom

Episode 1683

Zoom operates a web server on your mac when you use it, and if you uninstall it, the server stays on your computer and is a security risk. Leo says he understands why it was designed that way, but having to keep it on your computer makes your computer a bot, and that's a bad thing. Zoom was also reporting your personal data to Facebook if you installed it on a mobile device. VERY BAD. When initially apprised on it, they didn't act right away. Now they're saying they have halted development to fix the problem.