Ask Leo! #518 – Windows Startup, Common Sense, and yes – Dancing Bunnies!


What Windows Startup Programs Do I Need?

How do I determine what Windows startup programs I absolutely need to load? Do I really need all of my protection programs like virus and spyware to load at start-up?

Ultimately, in practical terms, this is an unanswerable question. For many Windows startup programs the answer will be "I don't know".

But there are definitely steps you can take to at least understand much of what is happening at startup, and perhaps even make a few decisions based on that.

Continue Reading: What Windows Startup Programs Do I Need?

Just what is 'common sense'?

When it comes to internet safety, one of the most oft-cited pieces of advice computer professionals hand out is this:

Use common sense.

One of the most common responses is this:

Great. Just what, exactly, is that?

When it comes to technology and safety, "common sense" is incredibly important, and yet incredibly ill-defined.

Let's see if we can define it a little. I think many of the "rules" will sound familiar.

Continue Reading: Just what is 'common sense'?

Phishing: How to Know it When You See It

I've received an email from "" asking for billing details and threatening the end of my MSN service. Contacting MSN resulted in referral to a support alias, but no answer. Is this a problem, or a forgery?

Phishing is a word you hear a lot in the news these days, and this question brought it to mind.

You're right to be suspicious: this definitely sounds like a phishing expedition.

Continue Reading: Phishing: How to Know it When You See It


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Glossary Term

click bait

click bait (or clickbait) is a term applied to links, headlines or titles written in a somewhat sensationalistic way in an attempt to entice you to click through to read the associated article or post. The most common characteristic of click bait is the "over the top" terminology used to over-promise while the target material typically under delivers. Phrases like "you won't believe", or "will blow your mind" and others have become so common as to almost become parodies of themselves.

Click bait exists primarily because many advertising models are based on "impressions", or the number of times an ad is displayed and presumably seen. The more people click to visit the target page, the more the advertisements on that page are displayed, and the more money the website owner makes. It's not uncommon for the target pages to have an excess of ads.

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Featured Comments

Two-Factor Authentication: Keeps the Hackers Out

Mike W writes:

My wife and I have cell phones through AARP. No text. No internet. Voice only. The company is Consumer Cellular. Two phones - Two people - 600 shared minutes: Total price = $35.00 per month! There should be a way for two-factor authentication to work without the use of smart phones. Some of us are retired and cannot afford smart phones.

Mark Jacobs writes:

There are some services which offer the option of the authentication by voice message. Those should work with a land line.

How do I get into my Hotmail/ account if I don't have the recovery phone or email any more?

Jamac ibrahim roble writes:

Please solve this please

Leo writes:

I cannot. I am not Microsoft.

Two-Factor Authentication: Keeps the Hackers Out

Shanker writes:

Hi Leo,

The two factor authentication has really saved my gmail account recently. One night, I kept receiving the codes for my gmail account (5 times). Then, it stopped. As my wife and daughter sometimes open and read mails, I thought one of them should have opened it. My wife was with me at home, my home computer has not been in use, and my daughter confirmed Not having opened my mail a/c. Obviously, my password has been stolen. I immediately accessed my account and changed the password (tougher). As of today, my account looks safe.

I wanted to thank Google for it, but it is difficult to find a Mail ID for it.

Leo's Blog

Resist Those Dancing Bunnies

There are those who believe that anti-malware applications actually aren't needed. While I disagree with that as an absolute statement, the fact is that if you really know what you're doing – deeply – then it may be possible to be relatively safe on your own.

It's just not something I advise, since it relies on being 100% right 100% of the time when it comes to identifying and avoiding potential threats. Things have become much too complex to rely on that kind of accuracy.

Not only do I advise running anti-malware tools, I run them myself.

The real problem is something else entirely.

Continue Reading: Resist Those Dancing Bunnies

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