Your internet connection, web sites and services.
Internet and Web
Andrew has Verizon FIOS and wants to know if he can use his own router. Leo says that Verizon bundles the router/modem together. Leo says you won't save any money since you have to use Verizon's modem/router anyway. But if you want to do your own router, you can turn off HDCP in the Verizon router and then use your own router for a better experience. Here's a YouTube video on how - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2Jr_0P0zwY
Looking at Internet of Things phenomenon, the Portland FBI issued a blog post talking about how connecting your computer to the same network as your internet-enabled refrigerator could pose a security risk. They advise changing the device password settings from the default, make them as long as possible and unique. Leo says that it's not practical to have a separate connection for your IoT devices. But regularly updating your devices and giving them a good password is a good idea.
Joesph is getting popups. Leo suspects that there's adware installed on his computer, and you can go through add/remove programs to uninstall whatever you don't recognize. Look for browser extensions, as well. You can also run the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool and Windows Defender to get rid of any malware.
Gary recently reformatted his hard drive as part of annual maintenance. Now, though, he is having issues using an online database using his Microsoft account. If he uses a different account, it's fine. Leo says that it could be that Microsoft is copying settings the online database doesn't support. And Microsoft is making it harder to use Windows 10 with a local account. Leo also says that the database is misconfigured. Gary also can't use Internet Explorer, which the database requires. Leo says that Microsoft has killed IE, and as such, it's no wonder Gary is having issues.
Timmy has heard that Microsoft is going to kill support for Windows 7 on January 14th. Is that going to be a security problem? Leo says essentially, yes. You'll be on your own as Windows 7 goes end of life. You can get Windows 10 for free in most cases if you still own Windows 7, and Microsoft is hell-bent on getting everyone to WIndows 10. Also, after January, most other browsers and other software updates will stop supporting Windows 7 as well. But if you take it offline, you can still use Windows 7. Just not for the internet.
Mark is looking to change his ISP because his service is just too slow. DSL is only 3MBps. He's looking at wireless (WISP). Leo says that WISP isn't a bad way to go, but you have to buy all the equipment upfront, and you may have bandwidth caps. But it's an alternative for a rural area.
Risa wants to "go dark" and eliminate her cable access. She wants to know if a Chromebook will work to replace her computer. Leo says a Chromebook is great for a lot of online applications. Leo says she can cut the cord with her cable company, but if she's using the internet from that same company, she will likely have to pay more if she plans on streaming. But if she is planning on getting a landline, then she could get DSL internet access.
Johnny Jet is back with some great travel tips. With shopping services in full swing, JJ wants to talk about great gifts for your favorite traveler. Black Lane limousine service also has a travel concierge service, which will help those who are skittish about travel from door to door. They will literally walk you through everything up to gate check, and that can be very comforting. Available at 500 airports, but it does cost $200 per person per airport. But that would make a great gift.
Jacob wants to know if paying electronically is secure. He doesn't like that it has a digital paper trail that people can see what he's spending his money on. Leo says that there's a fine line between the security of digital transactions and the privacy concerns that come with them. Leo also says that facial recognition and the prevalence of security cameras are a larger concern. The police can follow you everywhere using facial recognition and know where you are at all times. So he's more concerned with that.