Security and Privacy

Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.

How can I get rid of an AntiVirus Software?

Trend Micro

Episode 1613

Josh from Austin, Texas

Alex is trying to get rid of Trend Micro antivirus software on his computer, but it won't go away. Leo says these days, antivirus software can't really be removed by a simple uninstall command. It's too embedded in the system. You need to download and install their removal tool, which will custom remove the antivirus software. Here's where you can get it.

How Does Malware Work?

 Tiny Hardware Firewall

Episode 1612

Manny from Greenwood, Louisiana

Manny got a Tiny Hardware Firewall, and he really likes it for when he's on the road. It was recently updated by THF and he wants to know how often he has to send it in to get updated. Leo says that security flaws have to be acted upon by getting one to click on something so the malware can take advantage of it. Often, so-called zero-day exploits are designed around this, and people have no real way of knowing they've been hacked. But keeping a system and THF patched, will mitigate vulnerability, except for zero-day exploits, which are patched pretty quickly. 

Faceapp Causing Concern to Privacy Advocates and Congress

FaceApp

Episode 1611

The mobile app called FaceApp is causing concern with privacy advocates, and even members of Congress because people are concerned that their photos are being uploaded to servers in Russia. But the developer, who worked for Microsoft when he got the idea, assures that all photos are uploaded to Amazon cloud servers. The bigger concern is that the terms of service grant FaceApp the ownership of your likeness forever. Leo says, though, that it's just legal-speak that's written in the broadest possible terms.

FaceApp Raises Privacy Concerns

FaceApp

Episode 1610

Everyone is up in arms about the app FaceApp and it's privacy concerns. People are concerned because the app will upload your images to a third party server and use them whenever and however they want. Leo says that the server is not in Russia, but is actually Amazon Cloud Services. It also has a boiler plate terms of service that users should pay attention to, that transfers your likeness rights to them to do whatever they want. Period. While technically true, it's also probably true of Instagram, Facebook, and others.

Can my company spy on my data at home?

Episode 1609

Chris from Long Island, NY

Chris wants to know if he uses the professional version of Microsoft 365 at home, can his company see what he does? Leo says only if you use the corporate One Drive. Courts have upheld that if you use company resources, they have every right to look at your data without warning. So they can spy on you. So it's always best to keep your personal and business stuff separate. So it's wise to use a personal version of Office, just to be sure. Or go with Google Docs or an open source office like Libre Office.

Are Hotspots Secure?

Tiny Hardware Firewall.

Episode 1608

Tucker from Kentucky

Tucker wants to use a captive portal wifi hotspot, but is it secure? Some are poorly made and can leak your data, others can sell data or even input advertising into it. Is Opera a good one? Leo says it's not exactly a VPN, and by giving away the service, that costs money. So they have to be making money somehow. Also, it's not strictly a VPN, it's a proxy service. One thing that Leo recommends is the Tiny Hardware Firewall. It has a built-in webserver, dual wifi radios, and a built-in hardware firewall.

Should I Use Cortana?

Cortana

Episode 1605

Ken from Merced, CA

Ken wants to know if he should make Cortana his personal assistant in Windows. Leo says no. It's more hassle than it's worth and Leo turns it off on all his Windows devices. It's really only worth turning on if the user actually uses it.  But it's a huge privacy leak because Windows sends data to Microsoft to make Cortana more useful -  LOTS of data. So Leo isn't a fan of that. 

Is the Yubikey Safe for Authenticating Online?

Yubikey 

Episode 1603

Don from Omaha, NB

Don wants to use a Yubikey to keep his computer safe online. Leo says that the Yubikey is serious two-factor authentication that enables users to generate a code to offer an extra level of security. It's a physical USB device that spits out a code with a one time password. Leo uses it for his email, Twitter, and a host of other sites online. He wishes his bank would support it. He keeps it on his keychain, using a Type C connector. But he can get a Type A adapter as well.

There's even an open source version called SOLOKEYS, which Leo says is every bit as good.

How can I securely wipe a hard drive?

Solid State Drive

Episode 1601

Duke from Redondo Beach, CA

Duke wants to replace his hard drive. How can he get wipe the drive securely before recycling it? Leo recommends Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN). It uses military-grade erasing techniques to completely wipe the drives. What about those computers that aren't running? Leo says to take them out of a non-working computer and use a universal drive adapter by Newertech. Then you can connect it to a working computer and wipe the drive.