Ask Leo! #602 – Windows 10 Acting Like Malware, Stopping Keyloggers, and more…

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Windows 10 Behaves Like Malware

Windows 10 is a fine operating system, but it's being tarnished by the over-the-top tactics Microsoft is using to get people to upgrade.

Continue Reading: Windows 10 Behaves Like Malware


How Do I Become a Computer Programmer?

My son wants to become a video-game programmer or designer. What advice do you have?

This is a very common question – particularly with video games. Kids really enjoy playing them and are often drawn to the potential of creating them as well.

I've hired a lot of programmers in my career. I've also not hired even more. So I definitely have thoughts and advice.

Continue Reading: How Do I Become a Computer Programmer?

How Do I Test Backups?

I do backups of my data using Windows but it's not maybe as retrievable as I would like it to be. I don't know exactly how to test backups to know whether they're really there. It says they are but are they? I've had to use the system image to restore function once when my computer became infected with something. I basically just transferred the system image back to my C drive and it solved all my problems. I must say I'm thankful to you for strongly encouraging everyone to do backups. I can't tell you how many friends and family have lost stuff ' everything ' because of not backing up. Pictures, important data. Loss of pictures seems to be the most heartbreaking.

Yeah, I hear those heartbreaking stories all the time, and yes, it is indeed one of the reasons that I talk so much about backing up.

Your concern about not knowing whether the backups are there or not is actually very common, as is the desire to test backups. It's so common that I include a chapter about it in each of my books about backing up with specific tools.

Let's review how you can get a little bit of confidence that what you have will be there when you need it.

Continue Reading: How Do I Test Backups?

Will Using an On-Screen Keyboard Stop Keyloggers?

Will using the on screen keyboard in Windows stop keyloggers?

The short answer is very simple: no.

I get a surprising amount of push-back on this, but the simple truth remains: while it might stop some, it's nothing you can count on to be 100% effective.

Keyloggers are a form of malware that record your keystrokes so as to capture things like your login usernames and passwords so that hackers can then get into your accounts. Let's look at the path of keystrokes from your finger to your computer to see the various ways your keystrokes can be intercepted and logged.

Continue Reading: Will Using an On-Screen Keyboard Stop Keyloggers?


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Glossary Term


A keylogger is spyware that "logs" or records your keystrokes or other activities on your machine. When you type in your user name and password to a website, the keystrokes are recorded, the information is saved, and these are made available to the hacker who put the keylogger on your computer. Keylogger programs can even take screen captures as you click your mouse, rendering many (if not most) attempts at bypassing keyloggers ineffective.

Keyloggers can work several different ways. They may:

* Send each keystroke immediately to some remote listener over the internet.

* Collect each keystroke in a temporary file, and then periodically upload that file to the author's location over the internet.

* Collect each keystroke in a temporary file, much like a spam bot, and then listen for and receive instructions from the author. In other words, the logger could upload the collected information when requested.

The collected keystrokes may never be uploaded. Instead, if someone has remote access to your machine, or even worse, physical access to your machine, they could simply come by and copy the keylogged information manually.

Finally, keylogged information may not even be kept on your machine. There are hardware keyloggers that include a little flash memory that can be quickly inserted in between keyboard and computer to capture all the data. Some time after installing the keylogger, the person behind it picks up the device containing all your information.

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Featured Comments

Clearing Up Some Windows 10 Misconceptions

Bernie Crowley writes:

I am 76 years old and went from Windows 8.1 to 10 in less than 2 days without a bump in the road. There's not a lot of difference between the two systems, and I couldn't be happier.

What's the Risk of Using Unsupported Software?

LimboSlam writes:

For anyone looking for alternative browsers with continued support for Windows XP and Vista:

Pale Moon (an Open Source, Goanna-based web browser forked-off from the Firefox/Mozilla source code) pertains to the previous UI (non-Australis) and keeps up with all security/bug fixes that are applicable to its code base; a very familiar, efficient and fully customizable interface with a number of Pale Moon exclusive add-ons/extensions and themes rapidly growing.

Slimjet (a browser based-off Chromium v50 that's packed with versatile and customizable features) will support Windows XP and Vista as it contains most of their user share. Plus continues support for NPAPI plugins and conserves memory quite well with unloading idle tabs, as well as the memory optimization feature.



Tom writes:

Microsoft's support policy states that EXTENDED SUPPORT includes ALL SECURITY UPDATES for vulnerabilities that affect the operating system. I have to agree with Julian here. One SHOULD ask why Google doesn't support Chrome on Vista -- at least in regard to security issues. Microsoft continues to patch security holes in Vista (and in IE9 on Vista) thru April 2017. Shouldn't Google provide that same level of support for Chrome?

Leo writes:

"Should"? I'm not sure there's any requirement that they do anything at all. Google is perfectly free to make the decisions they choose to make at any time, without regard to what other software vendors (like Microsoft) have chosen to do. (And we are perfectly free to go elsewhere if we don't like those decisions.) My guess is they've done some usage/market analysis and determined that the costs of continuing to support it on Vista don't outweigh whatever they're comparing against. In other words it's very likely a business decision.

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