Be Very Careful and Skeptical of Email Attachments, Even From "People" You Know

Most of the malware and ransomware that comes through the internet and onto our systems is thanks to email attachments. If you see an "invoice" with an artificially rushed, demanding tone from a powerful figure (such as your work boss) and they've attached a "PDF", be very skeptical and do not open it. The same goes for links, since they can take you to a very shady site. Make sure to update your computer with security patches to prevent infection from background exploit kits across the web.

How can I get my XP desktop back after installing Webroot?

Windows XP

Episode 1138

Betty from Menneffee, Ca

Betty bought Webroot software for her XP Machine. She renewed and reinstalled it. Now she sees nothing on her screen. The problem with XP is that Microsoft no longer supports it and flaws are making Betty vulnerable. No antivirus will protect her from those vulnerabilities. Leo suggests going into the programs and uninstall everything and start from scratch. Also, here are a few steps Betty can take to protect herself since Microsoft has stopped supporting XP:

Why am I getting ad pop-ups from linked words on my website?

Episode 910

Don from Monrovia, CA

Don is noticing a lot of underlined and linked words that trigger pop-ups on his website. There are some sites that will underline keywords that trigger pop-up ads when the pointer moves on top of it. However, Leo says if he's seeing it on his own site, then it's malware and it's probably doing even worse. Leo says to make sure his OS (Windows 7) is updated regularly. It may have come with a download. Leo's opinion though is to back up his data, format the hard drive, and reinstall Windows. That's the only way he can be sure it's clean.

A technician wiped my drive because it had a virus, and all he left me with was a PST file. Is that all my data?

Episode 890

Joe from Cherry Valley, CA

No, unfortunately that PST file is just an Outlook file that has contacts, calendar and email information. It doesn't sound like anything else had been backed up. The technician should have warned him before wiping his drive, but it's also very important to perform a backup before getting it repaired.

If I backup my computer, will viruses get backed up too if I'm infected?

Episode 890

Sally from Lake Balboa, CA

They could be, the backup program or service won't know what's good or bad. The good news is viruses are always programs, and she'd have to run a program to get infected. Occasionally a data file can contain a virus, but it's rather unlikely. Backups don't typically include programs, just the user's unique files, so she probably is not backing up viruses. Especially since she's on the Mac, and the Mac doesn't have any viruses that are in this data/file format.

I'm afraid my old computer has malware on it. How can I restore the backup to a new computer without also restoring malware?

Episode 883

Tom from Agoura Hills, CA

Tom just bought the new Vizio All in One Desktop and wants to restore from the backup he made on a machine he suspects may be infected. Leo advises not putting the new computer on the network until he turns on Windows Firewall. The best thing to do is backup his data, take the old, potentially infected computer offline, then put the new computer online. He can install his applications, then run a virus scan on his external backup drive.

How do I remove a Smart HDD virus from my computer?

Episode 876

Boris from Woodland Hills, CA

A site called Bleeping Computer is a great resource for cleaning malware off of your system. They have a removal guide that could help Boris get rid of that virus. However, Leo says that almost in every case, someone who has one virus also has more. So he could end up removing that one and go on computing without knowing about other viruses he could be infected with.