Ask Leo! #629 – Privacy Threats, More PUPs, PINs vs. Passwords, and more…

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Focusing on Security and Privacy

In the first of a periodic series on increasing privacy concerns, we look at "HTTPS Everywhere" from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Continue Reading: Focusing on Security and Privacy


An Easy-to-Miss Source of PUPs

One of my assistants recently alerted me to a new (new to me, anyway) source of PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs).

In fact, it was new enough that I didn't pay close enough attention while investigating it, and almost ended up installing software I didn't want or need.

Let's use this as an opportunity to review what you need to look for when downloading software or software updates.

Continue Reading: An Easy-to-Miss Source of PUPs

How Can a PIN Be As Secure as a Password?

I get that the whole sign in-with-a-PIN thing in Windows 10 is convenient, but how can my 4 digit PIN possibly be as secure as my Microsoft account sign in password?

It can be as secure – perhaps even more secure – because it's actually used in a slightly different way.

You can also choose to increase its security by using some of the same techniques we use for passwords in general.

Continue Reading: How Can a PIN Be As Secure as a Password?


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Glossary Term


PUP is an acronym that stands for Potentially Unwanted Program.

PUP is generally used to refer to programs that are accidentally or surreptitiously downloaded and installed, usually as an unexpected or unwanted side effect of installing something else. Most examples involve undesired toolbars, but this class of annoyance can be just about anything.

The term "potentially" is used because sometimes people actually do choose to install software that others would consider unwanted and even borderline malware.


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

Featured Comments

Turn Off Fast Startup in Windows 10

Jim Talbert writes:

I was glad to see the fast startup until I deduced that if I begin to use some apps--especially EXCEL--immediately, it frequently crashes. Many times the crash causes me to lose the document I was using completely and I have to go restore it from my backup. So I find that the risks of using the fast startup immediately are great.

Old Geek writes:

Hi Leo,

I have an older HP Envy laptop with a fingerprint reader. The reader worked fine in Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 but after Windows 10, it became quirky. After I boot up, Windows Hello SHOULD be able to read my fingerprint but the reader wasn't active until I did a Restart and THEN the reader became active. After reading your article, I de-selected Fast Startup and wahlahhhhh! The reader works after each bootup now - no more having to do a Restart so effectively, it made my startups faster. Nice. THANK YOU!!!

Michael Doncaster writes:

My PC boots faster with 'Fast startup' turned off.

How Windows 10 Changed Setting Default Programs

Reverend Jim writes:

I have no objection to the change. It's nice to know that a default cannot be quietly reset without my knowing. However, I wish Microsoft would add a little detail to the "an application default has been reset" message in the action centre to indicate what the default was reset from, and what it was reset to.

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

RM writes:

I am having the same issues as most above, I have been through the recovery process and can't get access to my hotmail account.

I refuse to believe that the account is gone forever, I have critical emails/info stored that I need access to asap. I understand that Microsoft doesn't offer support for this but there must be someone to get in contact with, if you scream loud enough. Any ideas on numbers to call or people to reach out to?


Mark Jacobs (Team Leo) writes:

Microsoft doesn't pay anybody to answer the phone to help people with their free services. If you find a number it is likely that it's a scam. Be very careful.

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Posted: December 6, 2016 in: 2016
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