Articles in Category: Security

Made In Russia

What to Do About Kaspersky Antivirus

Any software company with ties outside the U.S. comes under scrutiny. Should you be worried?

A bright and simple photorealistic image showing a computer screen displaying a password change interface, with a large padlock icon. The background is minimal, with faint outlines of a smartphone and a tablet, emphasizing multiple access points. A person’s hand is seen typing on the keyboard, indicating action being taken to secure the account.

Changing Your Password After a Hack May Not Be Enough

Changing your password is a common response to account hacks. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough.

Setting up or using a passkey.

What If There’s a Passkey on My Lost Phone?

Losing a device with a passkey isn’t a disaster at all. I’ll describe why that is.

A person receiving a scam call. The person looks confused while holding a phone. A large speech bubble from the phone says 'Give me the code!' Contrasting this, another speech bubble from a nearby computer screen says 'Never share this code.'

One-Time Code Contradiction: When to Share and When to Beware

You’re told not to share your two-factor or other authentication code. And then you’re asked for it.

Padlock in a chain.

Can Someone Install Something on My Computer When It’s Not Logged In?

If your computer is not physically secure, someone could install something even if you’re not logged in.

A home office with a modern aesthetic. In the foreground, a sleek desktop computer sits on a well-organized desk, surrounded by typical office supplies and decor. The room is warmly lit, creating a cozy work environment. Through the window, a slightly creepy figure is peeking in, adding a subtle element of suspense to the scene. The outside view shows a typical residential setting, enhancing the sense of a home office.

Surprising Reasons to Use a VPN at Home: More Than Just Privacy

Although a VPN service is probably not necessary at home, there are a few scenarios where you may want to consider it.

A photorealistic image of a modern smartphone displaying a notification for an unexpected two-factor authentication request.

What to Do With an Unexpected Two-factor Code

Getting an unexpected authorization code on your phone or via email can be concerning. Let’s see when it’s a sign of a problem and what to do about it.

A scene showing a concerned individual at their computer, receiving a scam phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft, aiming to assist with non-existent computer errors.

I Got a Call from Microsoft and Allowed Them Access to My Computer. What Do I Do Now?

A very common scam has people supposedly from Microsoft, your ISP, or other authorities calling to help you with computer problems. Don’t fall for it.

A vault or safe with a fogged glass front. Inside the vault, there are vague shapes of files and folders barely visible through the foggy glass.

How Do I Recover Encrypted Files From Cryptomator?

Recovering individual files from a Cryptomator encrypted vault can be tricky. I’ll discuss why and how to protect your access to those files.

A user in a modern, well-lit office environment. The user is viewing their computer screen, which displays an email with a phishing attempt; a large, transparent fish hook symbol overlays the email content, indicating danger. Beside the computer, on the desk, is a smartphone showing a notification for a two-factor authentication (2FA) request.

Beware the Middleman: How Your 2FA Could Be Compromised

Some forms of two factor authentication have vulnerabilities. Here’s how to avoid it.

An image that visually represents the theme of being cautious on Facebook Marketplace due to the rise of scams. The image features symbolic red flags to indicate warning signs, along with icons or illustrations related to Facebook Marketplace, such as the Facebook logo, a marketplace setting, and representations of the scams mentioned (moving conversations off Facebook, cryptocurrency, gift cards).

Facebook Marketplace Scams: 3 Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

Facebook Marketplace scams are on the rise. Here are three red flags that should tell you something’s not right.

A line of dominoes on a sleek, modern table. The first domino in the line is labeled "Your Password", and the subsequent dominoes are labeled with generic online service categories like "Email", "Social Media", "Banking", etc. Each domino represents a different aspect of one's digital life, illustrating the concept of how a single compromised password can lead to a chain reaction affecting various online accounts.

What Is Credential Stuffing?

Credential stuffing: less complicated than the fancy words imply and easy to prevent.

Scam Alert message

Don’t Be Ashamed or Smug

If you’re embarrassed at having fallen for a scam, it’s tempting to want hide and not tell anyone. But it’s important to learn from the experience and share it. There’s no need to feel shame.

An adorable kitten sitting at a computer desk, carefully examining the URL displayed in a web browser on the computer screen.

How Can I Tell If a Web Address Is Safe?

URLs are simple in concept, yet can be constructed in ways that might fool you. I’ll look at some examples and discuss what’s important.

An illustration of a person sitting at a desk, overwhelmed by a flood of phone calls and text messages pouring out from their smartphone, like water. Each call and message is visibly marked as spam, forming a wave that threatens to engulf the workspace.

6 Steps to Dealing With Phone Spam

Phone spam, be it voice or text, is as annoying as it is persistent. Here’s what (little) you can do.

A close-up of hands using a smartphone or tablet, with the device's screen displaying a clear and bright passkey icon.

How Can Passkeys Possibly Be Safe?

Passkeys may feel confusing now, but they’re a doorway to a more secure, less frustrating, passwordless future.

Visualize a secure, encrypted server with a padlock symbolizing security, and a magnifying glass over a computer screen displaying an login page, to represent the attempt to find the existing password without changing it.

How Can I Recover an Outlook Password Without Resetting It?

Microsoft doesn’t know your password. Honest. That makes recovering it without changing it challenging.

A formidable fortress stands under a clear sky, its design a blend of medieval strength and modern mystery. The large, wooden door at the fortress's entrance is secured with a robust lock, symbolizing protection and secrecy. Above this door, a sign boldly proclaims "Passwords," hinting at the digital fortification concepts within. Emblazoned on the door is a shield, an emblem of defense and security. Beside the main entrance, a small, quaint ticket kiosk offers a juxtaposition to the fortress's grandeur. This kiosk sports a sign that reads "2FA," and another says "PASS", suggesting a modern, technological gateway requirement akin to two-factor authentication. The entire scene merges the aesthetic of ancient castles with contemporary cybersecurity themes, illustrating a unique intersection of the past and present security measures.

Isn’t Putting Two Factor Codes in My Password Vault Less Secure?

Storing 2FA codes in 1Password alongside passwords might slightly reduce security, but the risk is minimal, especially compared to the convenience.

A Roman warrior in full armor, holding a large shield in a defensive stance, is standing protectively over a USB security key placed on the ground. The sky is darkened by a dense flurry of incoming arrows, emphasizing the warrior's role as the protector of this modern digital key.

How to Protect Yourself From a Two-Factor Hack

Two-factor authentication isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than not using it at all. Here are the various risks and what you can do to protect yourself.

An image that illustrates the concept of maintaining continuity and avoiding complications by keeping the same phone number when changing phones or providers. The image depicts a person holding a new smartphone,. The background features a series of faded icons representing different online services (like email, banking, and social media), emphasizing the importance of updating recovery information.

When You Change Your Phone Number, Change Your Phone Number

The ability to keep your old phone number when getting a new phone can avoid several headaches. If you get a new number, there are steps you must take.

The scene includes a metaphorical depiction of the scam process, showing a digital landscape with a piggy bank standing on one side, looking full and healthy, connected by a series of digital pathways and strings to a shadowy figure on the other side, who holds a butcher knife made of binary code, symbolizing the scammer preparing to 'butcher' the victim's savings. The background is a mix of digital and real elements, such as a cityscape blending into a circuit board, representing the intersection of technology and everyday life where these scams take place. Include symbols like chat bubbles, hearts, and dollar signs floating between the piggy bank and the shadowy figure to represent the building of trust, emotional manipulation, and financial transactions involved in the scam. The overall atmosphere should be ominous yet subtle, highlighting the deceptive and hidden dangers of online scams.

What Is a Pig-Butchering Scam?

Pig-butchering is a nasty term for a particularly painful type of scam. Here’s how to protect yourself.

An average computer user sitting at a desk, working on their computer. Above the computer, a puppeteer's hand with strings attached to the computer, symbolizing control and manipulation.

Could Malware Record My Chats and Video Calls?

If you’re curious what might happen if a hacker was in control of your computer, the question really is “What can’t they do?”

Whither Authy?

Dealing With the Demise of Authy Desktop

Authy’s desktop version is going away (darn it!). Here’s how I will replace it.

A cartoon-style image of a race track featuring runners racing, with the runner dressed as a black hat hacker clearly winning. The black hat hacker, in a cartoonish dark outfit with a stylized black hat, should be significantly ahead of the runner dressed as a white hat hacker, who is in a cartoonish light-colored outfit with a whimsical white hat. The background should show a colorful race track, emphasizing a playful and fun approach to the concept of cybersecurity.

Are the Bad Guys Winning?

Media hype makes it seem like the bad guys are winning. They’re always in the lead – but don’t believe the hype.

An image in an ancient Egyptian drawing style that depicts a giant, expressive eye with various internet cables and connections in the background. The artwork should mimic the aesthetic of ancient Egyptian art, characterized by profile views, flat figures, and bold outlines. The design should blend the theme of Internet Service Providers' potential to monitor internet activity with the distinctive art style of ancient Egypt, incorporating elements like hieroglyphics and traditional Egyptian color schemes.

Can My ISP Monitor My Internet Connection?

Your ISP controls your internet connection, and it’s easy for them to monitor the data you send and receive. The question is, why would anyone monitor your internet?

A photorealistic image showing a modern smartphone on the left side of the frame, displaying a QR code on its screen. On the right side, a scrap of paper also showing the same QR code, implying it's a written backup of the code. The background is simple and unobtrusive, focusing attention on the smartphone and the paper. This scene represents the concept of securing a backup for two-factor authentication codes.

Another Way to Protect Yourself From 2FA Loss

A little bit of preparation when you set it up can make losing your Google Authenticator 2FA device a minor inconvenience.

A realistic hand holding a smartphone displaying a map, with recognizable landmarks in the background..

The Surprising Ways Your Videos Can Expose Your Location

Something many people do every day may expose their location in ways they don’t know.

A "Missing" poster. The poster is detailed and looks like it's pinned on a wooden board or wall. The top of the poster has bold, black text saying "Missing". Below the text, there's a high-quality, realistic photo of a mobile phone, depicting it as the missing item. The phone should look distinct and easily recognizable. The poster has a slightly weathered look, as if it has been up for a while, adding to the realism. The overall image captures the essence of a traditional missing item poster, with the unique twist of featuring a mobile phone as the missing object.

I Lost My Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) Device. How Do I Sign In?

Fear of second-factor loss prevents some people from using two-factor authentication. There’s no need to fear that scenario.

A 16:9 photorealistic collage featuring various search bar queries in different styles and fonts, scattered across the image. In the center, there is a large, bold question mark that stands out against the background of search queries. The overall composition is dynamic and visually appealing, with a focus on the central question mark symbolizing curiosity and the quest for knowledge through internet searches.

I Gave AI My Search History and Here’s What It Told Me

I was listening to a podcast recently in which one of the hosts described giving ChatGPT the history of the questions he had asked it and then asking it to build a profile on him based on that. It was interesting, of course, but it got me to thinking… why not use internet searches as … Read more

Frustrated Login

What If Password Autofill Won’t Work?

Password vaults are sometimes unable to auto-fill fields. There are several ways to work around this.

Image featuring a lock superimposed over an email icon. The email icon with the lock is central and surrounded by minimal security symbols, including a subtle shield and a sleek two-factor authentication token. The background is light and uncluttered, focusing on the idea of easy yet effective email protection. The overall aesthetic is clean and straightforward, emphasizing user-friendly digital security.

If They Got Into My Account Once, Could a Hacker Get In Again?

Once your account has been hacked, there are many things you need to consider to prevent it from being hacked again.

Wiping Data

How to Securely Wipe the Windows System Drive

Reformatting the system drive takes a little more effort than other drives. Here are three ways to get it done.

Searching for a number

How to Find a Phone Number With an Email Address

You have an email address and you want the associated phone number. It’s unlikely you’ll find it, but there are a few straws to grasp at.

A photorealistic image of a modern smartphone on a light background. The smartphone should be centrally positioned and turned on, displaying the Google logo prominently on its screen. The phone design should be sleek and contemporary, with a high-resolution display showcasing the Google logo clearly and vividly. The background should be light and neutral, complementing the smartphone and making the Google logo stand out as the focal point of the image.

Yes, You Should Give Google Your Mobile Number

Google uses your mobile number for verification if you lose access to your account. Some people don’t want to provide it. They should.

Secure Your Google Account With a New Password

How Do I Change My Password for Google Mail?

There are times when a new password is what you need. Here’s how to change it.

"The app you’re trying to install isn’t a Microsoft-verified app"

How Do I Fix “The App You’re Trying to Install Isn’t a Microsoft-Verified App”?

“The app you’re trying to install isn’t a Microsoft-verified app” message is the result of a simple setting you can change.


How to Use Just a Single Password for Everything

It’s very tempting to use only a single password everywhere. That’s dangerous, and there are better alternatives.

A photorealistic thumbnail image representing document security. The scene shows a computer screen with a Microsoft Word document open, indicating the process of password protecting the document. Beside it, a zip file icon represents password-protected archives. In the background, a virtual safe or vault symbolizes advanced encryption methods like VeraCrypt or Cryptomator. The image conveys the importance of strong encryption and backup for document security, suitable for a 16:9 aspect ratio.

How Can I Password Protect My Documents?

There are several options to keeping information private on your computer.

A photorealistic image in a 16:9 format, showcasing a close-up view of a computer screen. The screen prominently displays a large, modern-style "Sign Out" button. This button is designed to stand out with a vibrant color, possibly red or blue, against a soft, blurred background of a typical desktop interface. The background may include faint outlines of icons, folders, and other typical desktop elements, but the focus is clearly on the "Sign Out" button, symbolizing the action of logging off or exiting a digital space.

How Do I Prevent a Service From Logging Me in Automatically?

Preventing someone else from accessing your account is as easy as signing out before you leave.

A photorealistic 16:9 image illustrating a scenario where a person of Caucasian descent is handing over a digital key to a family member of African descent. The scene is set against a background filled with subtle symbols and icons representing recovery options like emails and phone numbers, emphasizing the emergency access options for passkeys. This image conveys the idea of digital legacy and the importance of ensuring trusted individuals have access to digital assets in emergency situations, highlighting the role of passkeys in modern digital security.

Passkeys and Disaster Planning

Passkeys are new, convenient, and secure. I’ll review how they affect your disaster planning. (Not very much.)

Virus, yes or no?

How Do I Tell If an Attachment Is a Virus?

You can’t prove a file isn’t malicious, but you can certainly stack the deck in your favor.

About VeraCrypt

Why Won’t My VeraCrypt Volume Back Up?

When using VeraCrypt containers, the default setting may interfere with backing up your container. Here’s how to fix that.

Photorealistic image showing a close-up of a computer monitor. On the screen, there's a detailed icon of a folder with the label 'Personal' written below it. A large, bold red question mark overlays the folder, creating an aura of uncertainty or concern. The background of the screen is a soft gradient of gray, giving emphasis to the folder and the question mark.

Can I Password Protect a Folder?

Keeping data secure is important. Being able to password-protect a folder seems an obvious approach. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Frustration at a laptop.

My Computer Is Infected With Malware. Should I Just Throw It Out?

Malware is just software. It doesn’t destroy your computer’s hardware in any way. Some work will get you back up and running without needing to destroy anything.

Safety Net

How Should I Keep Recovery Codes Secure?

Recovery codes protect you against account loss. The issue? Where to store them safely.

A padlocked folder.

Password Update Without Re-encrypting: How?

If your password is used to encrypt your hard disk, how can you change your password and still be able to decrypt your disk?

Open view...

Preparing for the Ultimate Disaster

If you’re not around to unlock all the digital data you take such care to secure, who will be able to access it, and how?

There's more to ransomware than just encryption.

Should I Disconnect My Backup Drive When I’m Not Backing Up?

Some people disconnect their backup drive when not backing up because they fear ransomware. I explain why that’s a Really Bad Idea.

Peeking at your keystrokes

Can Everything I Do Online Be Monitored at the Router?

While it’s not easy, your internet traffic can be monitored at or near your router. I’ll look at how this might be done.

Padlocked Google

Google Account Hacked? What You Need to Do NOW!

Google/Gmail account hacks happen. Take these steps to recover your account and prevent it from being hacked again.