Security and Privacy

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

Is there a secure way to remotely lock or unlock my door?

Episode 1560

Sam from Torrance, CA

Sam is thinking of getting an Alexa or Google Assistant to control his door locks and is worried about security and privacy. Leo says that all assistants are roughly the same. They listen for a keyword. And there's no evidence that either Amazon or Google are spying on you. Schlage makes one that is dedicated and doesn't need the assistant, so it has a directly line which can be more secure. But any iOT device can get hacked. Bottom line is, that no door lock is perfect. It's a deterrent, a suggestion. But if the bad guy wants to get in, he can.

Collection #1 Password Hacks Prove to be Older than Believed

Episode 1559

Yesterday's story about Collection #1 - a package of hacked email passwords, is actually now reported to be a few years old, so the damage is not as great as previously believed. But Leo still says that it's a wise idea to go to HaveIBeenPwned.com/passwords and see if your account has been hacked. And then change your password. In fact, it may be a good idea to change it anyway, and turn on 2 factor authentication while you're at it.

How can I get my home security system to work on my windows?

SimpliSafe Entry Sensor

Episode 1556

Ron from Warsaw, IN

Ron bought a SimpliSafe home security system, but he doesn't know how to install the sensors on windows that crank outward. Leo says that's not going to work if they close a circuit like magnets. There are other kinds of sensors, including strip sensors that can work with it. They're designed for casement windows. But will they work with Ron's system? Only SimpliSafe knows for sure.

(Disclaimer: SimpliSafe is a sponsor)

Do I need to pay for antivirus software?

Windows 10 Start Menu

Episode 1556

Kevin from Moreno Valley, CA

Kevin has an old laptop and wants to know if he needs Webroot antivirus. Leo says that back in the day, Webroot was very good. But lately, If he's able to update to Windows 10, Windows has its own antivirus called Windows Defender which is very good. Before Windows 10, Microsoft had Windows Security Essentials. Both are essentially the same, and they're free.

Is 2 Factor Authentication by SMS secure?

Smartphone and computer

Episode 1555

Carmine from Chicago, IL

Carmine has 2 factor authentication on most of his systems, but some use SMS, and he thinks that's not very secure. Leo says that there will always be a trade-off between security and convenience. But SMS is far easier to crack than independent authentication through an authenticator. Leo says to contact the cellphone company and have them put their additional layer of authentication on her phone.