Ask Leo! #525 – Machines full of malware, Cloud danger, blocking contact, SSL, and more…


How can I keep someone from contacting me in email?

How can I keep someone from contacting me in email or instant messaging?

Severing communication is an unpleasant necessity at times. For personal or legal reasons you may want someone to stop contacting you or someone you know. The rub is that you'd like everyone else to be able to contact you as before.

We can't control what other people do, but there are some ways we can either make it more difficult to be contacted, or automate the process of ignoring the contact attempts.

Continue Reading: How can I keep someone from contacting me in email?

Is the Cloud dangerous?

One of the comments that I received recently to my article on lessons learned from a fairly public online hacking was very concise:

"That's why the Cloud is dangerous."

That actually sums up what I think a lot of people are starting to feel to varying degrees.

And I think it's wrong.

I also think believing so prevents you from taking advantage of the things that the cloud can do for you. Things like protecting your data.

As well as things you've already been doing. For years.

Continue Reading: Is the Cloud dangerous?

My machine's full of malware; should I get a new computer?

I give up. My computer has been infected with malware – lots of it – and I can't seem to get rid of it all. I'm ready to throw in the towel. Should I just get a new computer? Wouldn't that just solve everything?

You should never have to buy a new computer because of malware.

I hear from people all the time who have machines infected with varying degrees of malware. Their goal is simple: their computer is crippled with malware and they just want it to work so that they can get on with their lives.

If that's you, and you're at the point where you're considering getting a new computer because of it, wait.

Before you get out your credit card and lay out money on a new computer, allow me to clear up some common confusion and possibly save you some cash.

Continue Reading: My machine's full of malware; should I get a new computer?


Saved! Backing Up with Macrium Reflect
Prepare for the worst - Bounce back from the inevitable

How to back up, step by step,
using Leo's recommended backup software.
Learn how to use it and never lose data again!

Companion videos and digital formats included.
Saved! Backing Up with Macrium Reflect

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Glossary Term


SSL is an acronym for Secure Sockets Layer.

SSL is a communications protocol intended to secure a point-to-point connection in two ways:

  • Confirmation that the connection is to the intended entity.
  • Encryption of the data being exchanged to prevent eavesdropping.

While the term SSL is still used to refer to secure connections, the underlying protocol used is in fact most commonly a newer replacement protocol: TLS. TLS and SSL are not interoperable, but TLS does have the ability to downgrade, if needed, to the older, slightly less secure SSL protocol.

Glossary Terms are featured selections from The Ask Leo! Glossary.
Have a term you'd like defined? Submit it here.

Featured Comments

My initial reactions to Windows 10 backup

James B writes:

When I teach new people our software at work, I always tell them to backup at the end of the day what they were working on that day. I tell them their team leaders won't care if they stop working five or ten minutes early to do their backup, because if you lose it, you'll be spending more than five minutes recreating it.

The other day, sure enough, someone's laptop crashed and burned. No hope of resurrecting. Problem is, IT does whole drive encryption, so they just couldn't swap the hard drive into the new laptop. When we configured the new laptop for the software and went to retrieve his backups, they were 30 to 90 days old. Some stuff was there but more important recent stuff was not.

Eventually, IT managed to get a key for the old hard drive that allowed them to plug it in to a USB cable and access the data on the old hard drive. So we were able to get his data back.

This guy was lucky. Backups are too important to be mickey mouse.

Searching precisely

James B writes:

What do I do if I have a picture of something and want to find it. For example, a piece of art was donated to a charity that I'm affiliated with. We have no idea what the value of this print is (or even if it has value). I took a photo of the art work, is there a search engine that will accept the jpg and search for similar items?

Leo writes:

Actually there is - google image search. Have an image of the painting ready as a file in .jpg format. Go to - in the search box there's a small camera icon: click that. Select "upload an image", upload the image, and see what Google has to say about it!

James B writes:

Just tried it out. The photo even had a bit of glare from the flash. Google still found my painting. Very cool. Thanks.

Leo's Blog

Why SSL?

Ask Leo! recently switched to being provided over a secure "https" connection, or SSL.

There's an assortment of reasons I elected to do this, ranging from my own curiosity to making a statement.

Continue Reading: Why SSL?

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The Ask Leo! Guide to Internet Safety The Ask Leo! Guide to Routine Maintenance Maintaining Windows XP - A Practical Guide


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