Ask Leo! #605 – Internet Safety, Losing Your Computer, Losing Your Account, and more…

Leo's Blog

An Update to My Internet Safety Book

I've released an update for my Internet Safety ebook. There's a free version you can get for subscribing to The Ask Leo! Newsletter, and the expanded version will be available in a few weeks.

Continue Reading: An Update to My Internet Safety Book


My Computer was Stolen. It's Password Protected; What Files Can the Thieves See?

My mid-tower computer was recently stolen in a burglary. The Windows system was password protected at start-up. What files can be accessed by those trying to enter the system?

It'll take a computer-savvy thief about five minutes to gain access to everything on your computer.

Yep. Everything.

Everything you haven't otherwise protected, that is.

Continue Reading: My Computer was Stolen. It's Password Protected; What Files Can the Thieves See?

A One Step Way to Lose Your Account ... Forever

Not a day goes by that I don't hear from someone who's in the middle of some kind of account recovery process that isn't working.

While I try to help out to the degree that I can – usually with instructions that are often no more than the service provider's instructions translated into clearer English – it's also not at all uncommon for those accounts to never be recovered.


And, to be super blunt about it, most of the time, it's the account owner's own fault.

Continue Reading: A One Step Way to Lose Your Account ... Forever

Internet Safety: 7 Steps to Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet

The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet ' FREE EditionSubscribe to The Ask Leo! Newsletter and get the 88-page Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition digital download as a gift. Based in part on this article, the Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet – FREE Edition will help you identify the most important steps you can take to keep your computer and yourself safe as you navigate today's digital landscape.

Viruses and spyware and worms … oh my!

The very concept of "internet safety" is almost an oxymoron these days.

It seems not a day goes by that we don't hear some new kind of threat aimed at wreaking havoc across machines connected to the internet.

Here are some things you can (and should) do to stay safe.

Continue Reading: Internet Safety: 7 Steps to Keeping Your Computer Safe on the Internet


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Glossary Term


Phishing is the attempt to represent one's self – typically via email – as someone or some organization that you are not, for the purposes of maliciously acquiring sensitive information.

The most common examples of phishing emails are carefully crafted to appear as if they had come from a banking institution, directing the recipient to a web site which itself looks very much like the bank's official website. The catch is that the email is not from the actual bank, and the website is a forgery. By fooling the visitor into thinking that the site is legitimate, the phishers can obtain that person's log-in credentials when they attempt to log in to this fake site.

Some very poor yet surprisingly successful phishing attempts don't use web sites at all, but simply portray themselves as a major online service in email. The email requests that the recipient reply with account information, often including username and password, for some made-up yet important-sounding reason.

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

Featured Comments

Can I tell if email I sent has been read by the recipient?

Ernest Atwater writes:

I received an e-mail from my state senator's campaign office, looking for a contribution, that said, " we noticed that you have been opening our e-mails but have not responded to them recently". I used to respond to some of them, until they started coming from names I did not recognize. So I would use view source to see where they came from. When I saw it was from the senators office, I started just deleting them without opening them. Are we going to find out the government does have a way to tell if we are opening our e-mails or not?? Or were they just guessing, or bluffing?

Connie (Team Leo) writes:

Any good email sending software has the ability to track if emails have been opened, if any links have been clicked, and if the email has been replied to. It's not foolproof. For instance, an email can be opened but even the best tracking can't tell if the human being actually read it.

So it has nothing to do with government surveillance. It's just the state of the technology. It's used in businesses all the time as well.

A One Step Way to Lose Your Account ... Forever

Ken Brody writes:

One thing you don't mention, but which "should be" obvious...

When you set up those alternate email accounts to act as a recovery address for your mail account, don't forget to set up recovery methods for them as well.

And don't use the same email provider for the recovery address. (ie: don't use a gmail address as a recovery method for your gmail account.)

Are Password Managers Safe?

williamwclee writes:

any chance that a password manager is in fact a spamware capable of stealing passwords

stored whenever there is internet connection?

Leo writes:

Of course. That's why you only download and install trusted password managers with good reputation, and only download them from their official sources.

Ask Leo! on Business

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