Articles in Category: Security

Why does this malware keep coming back?

There are tools out there that can remove malware completely so that it does not come back. But it’s worth taking a look at your own internet habits.

Why haven’t you mentioned CryptoPrevent?

Preventing one type of malware is not going to help you in the long run. And if it does help in the short run… then you may have a bigger problem!

If My Anti-virus is Working Properly, Do I Still Need a Firewall?

There is no such thing as perfect anti-virus software, so it’s wise to have another line of defense when online.

Do I Need to Worry About the Latest Security Breach?

That’s a composite of several questions that I’ve received relating to a recent theft of something like two million user accounts and passwords. I’ll address this specific incident, but I also want to discuss some things to consider with any large scale account theft.

Why does this ad imply I have a criminal record?

It can be pretty frightening when a search result delivers back to you the term you were searching for as an ad… particularly if you were searching for your name. But it might not be any more sinister than that.

Do I Need to Deactivate My Old Anti-virus Before Installing the New One?

It’s best to uninstall old anti-virus software before installing a new one, assuming you make sure to stay safe during the transition.

Should My Anti-virus Scans Include My External Drives?

Malware can certainly insert itself on external drives. The question is how high is the risk?

Is Shockwave Player safe?

The security of Shockwave, like many programs, depends on how you use it, and if you keep it up to date.

How safe is iCloud?

When you put your privacy in the hands of online companies it’s going to boil down to: How much do you trust them?

What Information Does a Laptop Leak on a Wireless Network?

There is very little about your computer that can be transmitted over a WiFi connection… provided you know how to keep yourself safe on the internet.

How does a site identify me when I am using a VPN?

There are lots of modules and widgets available online that help websites appear to identify who you are. Your VPN isn’t involved at all.

Does a VPN give me complete security?

A VPN service can offer a certain amount of security, but it ‘s dangerous to think it’s doing things for which it is not designed.

Is it safe to let my daughter purchase online using my email address?

Sharing an email address may seem like a good idea, as long as you’ve considered all the ramifications.

How does website or VPN encryption work?

Using a bunch of mathematical magic, a key pair is generated. But that’s just where the fun starts.

Why Are Sites Making It Difficult for Password Managers?

Long passwords are your top-line of defense in internet security. Don’t let any trends steer you in the other direction.

Can My Computer Be Hacked if I’m Offline at an Internet Café?

Internet café hackers can get at you in a number of different ways, but how much do you really need to worry?

Do I Need to Stop Using Microsoft Security Essentials?

Recently statements were made by a Microsoft spokesperson that some interpreted as implying that Microsoft was giving up on Microsoft Security Essentials. I went to the source and asked for clarification.

Will my internet activities of years ago come back to haunt me?

We just don’t know how long information will stay public on the internet, so it’s best to assume that it will be forever.

Can an ISP Remotely Access My Computer without My Knowledge?

Knowing who you are dealing with is the key to safe remote access. It’s not the technology that’s a problem. It’s the person on the other end of the remote access!

Why didn’t my firewall stop this malware?

Firewalls and security software are important tools to keep your computer safe. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as perfect protection from the variety of threats on the internet.

Can a flash drive that has a Linux install on it become infected?

Depending on the format of the drive, how the malware finds you, and how you access Windows, you may or may not have a problem! Does that sound vague enough for you?

Can I Be Sure My Machine Is Malware Free?

Believe it or not… you can’t prove that you don’t have malware. But when your computer slows down, it doesn’t necessarily mean malware.

How Long Does Google Keep My Account Information?

Once you delete your account, your information will be gone… but there may be backups. Ultimately, anything online or shared is completely out of your hands.

Will Someone Hacking My Router Show up on My Computer?

Router hacking is rare, but it can happen. I’ll discuss what it is.

Can a hacker get away with only my address book?

If you’ve been hacked… you’ve been hacked. That means the hacker had access to everything on your computer or in (and linked to) your email account. In either case, you need to review your security.

Should I Provide My Credit Card to Sites that Are Free?

Free services should not ask for a credit card. While this could be a scam, there are some legitimate reasons why a site may ask for a credit card number.

I’m being abused by email. What do I do?

Once something is posted online, it can remain public virtually forever. It’s important to understand how that works and take steps to protect yourself where needed.

Can Search Engines Track My Searches?

Search engines have numerous (and quite amazing) ways to gather information on people and the way they search. It’s nothing to worry about unless you have some critical need for privacy.

Why Doesn’t Malware Appear in the Add/Remove Programs List?

Malware not showing up in the Add/Remove Programs list doesn’t surprise me at all. After all, malware’s success is based on its ability to hide from you!

What’s an Exploit?

Industry experts use the term “exploit” in several ways, which makes warning messages pretty unclear. Stay safe by assuming the worst.

Do I really need to uninstall these programs to update my anti-virus?

When you install a new anti-malware tool on a machine that has similar programs already, you may see a warning about possible conflicts. Basically, you have three choices to continue.

I’m not seeing a padlock with my https site. Is it safe?

https should be safe as long as the padlock icon indicates that the certificate is correct. That proves that you’re visiting the site that you believe you are. If you don’t see it, you should be concerned.

How Do I Keep My Computer from Being Hacked at Night?

Hacking attempts happen all day long. You really need to protect yourself 24/7. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to stay safe.

How do I check a website for malware without infecting my own machine?

This is a difficult problem to solve. Steps to protect yourself from a malicious website could mask the problem so you never see it. I can give you a few suggestions.

How Do I Remove Only My Personal Information from a Computer?

Unfortunately, there is no practical way to determine what is and what isn’t personal information. Securing a computer to give away is an all-or-nothing proposition.

Do I need to run the Malicious Software Removal tool?

Malicious Software Removal Tool is something that’s downloaded and run by automatic updates, regardless of  the anti-malware tools that you may already use, to provide a base level protection to the operating system.

Is It Safe to Leave My External Backup Drive Connected?

My fairly strong opinion is that if you’re backing up to an external drive, leave it plugged in. Otherwise you’ll be missing backups on those days you forget to plug it in.

Why am I getting security certificate errors?

If you are seeing this across a family of sites or just one site, it’s possible (in fact it’s even most likely) that it’s a problem on the server’s side. It may be a designer error. It may even be a malicious site.

How Do I Remove Ransomware?

Ransomware is often not easy to remove because it blocks you from your system. Restoring from a backup is the easiest recovery option, but I’ll look at a few more as well.

If an IP address doesn’t do it, then how does Google know my location?

Google can find your location through multiple datapoints that you probably don’t even realize you’re sharing. There’s a lively and important debate about how much data entities can and should collect and correlate.

Why is Microsoft Security Essentials constantly saying potentially unprotected?

The “potentially unprotected” warning seems fairly common in situations where you really are still protected. I’ll cover several theories as to why it might appear.

Would changing user names result in additional security?

Common wisdom is that you should change passwords periodically; so should you change user names too? My take: common wisdom is wrong from the start.

Why Do Services like Google and Microsoft Ask for a Phone Number?

Many online services request that you provide additional information such as your phone number. I’ll look at how that’s typically used and why it’s a good thing.

I Canceled a Suspicious Download. Am I Safe?

Cancelling a suspicious download in progress typically prevents any part of the download from impacting your machine. Unfortunately there are still a few problems we should look out for.

Is a Long Password of Repeating Characters Good or Not?

The problem is that we don’t know what approach hackers are using to break your password. So, to be safe, the best password is both long and complex.

Is Geotagging My Photos a Bad Thing?

When you take a picture, your camera saves “metadata”, or data about the picture. Geodata can be used to place an image in a geographical location.

What If a Password is Limited to only 8 Characters?

Some devices, sites and software use passwords that are limited to 8 characters. Today that’s often insufficient, but I’ll look at what steps you can take to increase security.

I Run No Anti-virus Software and Now Have Viruses. What Should I Do?

It’s very possible that your machine has become so infected that recovery really isn’t a possibility. If this is the case, the only practical solution is to wipe the slate clean and start over from scratch.

How do I get rid of this advertising popup that keeps coming back?

If your anti-malware tools removed the malware but this browser hijack keeps coming back, then you might be doing something to invite it back on to your system.

How Do I Create a Windows 7 Password Reset Disk, and Why Would I Want To?

Windows includes a little-known and little-used feature that allows you to reset your Windows password if you’ve lost or forgotten it. There’s only one catch: you need to prepare.