Malware, viruses, hacks, and anything else that may compromise your identity online, computer, or digital device.
Security and Privacy
Australia has recently passed a bill that would require companies like Signal and 1Password to provide the government with user messages and data upon request. Many companies that offer encrypted communications, however, don't have access to that information themselves because it uses end-to-end encryption. But now that sort of encryption technology is illegal in Australia without a 'back door' being put in. If there is a back door, then access to that data isn't just available to the government, it could be available to any hacker as well.
John's mom recently passed away and had an old laptop. But when he turns it on, he gets an error "desktop not available." Leo says it's likely that the profile may have gotten corrupted, or is non-existent. Since she's been automatically logging in, that's where the error pops up. But there could be a hidden administrator account with permissions to take over all features. He can Google how to access that. Once he does, he should get the data out of it immediately. Then he should wipe the drive and start over.
Jim is having problems with Windows recognizing his external USB drive. But his image catalog says his images are there. Leo says that many photo gallery apps keep a thumbnail for fast referral. So it could have the thumbnail, but not see the original image, if the drive is disconnected or lost. Leo also says that his external drive could be getting flakey. He should get a backup drive and make a copy of his photos. He should save them online, too. Three copies, on two formats, with one off-site. The good news is that hard drives are cheap now. He can get a 1 TB drive for under $100.
Steve's printer is suddenly printing out ads. What the heck? Leo says there's a good chance he got nailed by either a browser hijack, or malware that has replaced his printer driver. He recommends using Malware Bytes, by only get it from the original creator. The chatroom says that there is a printer exploitation tool kit out there on the web. It could be that there's malware in the HP firmware as well.
Parliament in Australia is pushing through an anti-encryption law that will make it not only illegal to use encrypted communications, but will also give law enforcement and other government authorities the power to use malware to crack an encrypted network. Leo says it will endanger the security of anyone using an online service and obvious violates an individual's privacy rights. Russia has a similar law, as does England.
Marriott just announced this week that it learned of a security breach from four years ago, and 500 million users are affected. For 327 million guests, the exposed information include names, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, and arrival and departure information. For millions of others, credit card numbers and expiration dates were compromised. Marriott says it will begin emailing guests affected by the breach.
Jeff wants to use Mint online, but he's concerned about putting his data online. Leo says that Mint is very secure and he uses it for his business at Tech Guy Labs. Does Mint work with 2 Factor Authentication? Leo says yes, and it does support password vaults like LastPass. But all the security in the world doesn't protect him from a data breach.
Jane has a ton of passwords and needs a password vault to keep them all straight. She was looking at LastPass and wants to know if that's the best one. Leo loves LastPass, and they are a sponsor on the show. He has been using it for ten years and it's very secure. But it's not the only option. There's also 1Password, KeePass, and DashLane.
For a long time, scammers have been calling or displaying a popup message on PCs with the threat that their computer access will be restricted if they don't call a number and make a payment. According to the New York Times, this official looking message is coming from a scam operation in Mumbai, India - which is the main hub for call centers. Leo says that's because the real tech support people are moonlighting with this scam.
Doug likes to visit the Aviation Weather Service online, but he's been having trouble with it lately. Leo says that's because it uses Java and the Java browser plugin has probably been disabled. Doug should go into his browser settings and be sure it's installed, updated, and enabled. But it's getting harder to use Java in the browser. If he has Firefox version 52 or higher, or Chrome 42 or higher, or even Safari, the plugin would have been disabled for security reasons. So his only choice may be to use Internet Explorer for that site. He'll have to turn on scripting for Java apps.