Q: Recently I noticed the HTTPS designation is missing from financial websites like Bank of America and Vanguard. The padlock icon shows but no HTTPS. Why is this, and should I be concerned?

— Barb J., Seattle

A: The only explanation that comes to mind is that your web browser has been configured to not display the full URL path in the search bar. You don’t mention which browser you’re using, but both Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, among others, allow users to view or to not view the entire URL path. Search your browser’s help utility for “show full URL path” for instructions.

Q: Your recent column about keeping backups safe from ransomware didn’t make clear, to me at least, if automatic backups to a resident external drive would be safe from ransomware attacks. Can you please clarify?

— Joseph Johnson, Kirkland

A: If you disconnect that external drive from your internet-connected computer after your backup, it will be safe from being encrypted by ransomware. Any device connected to a computer that is connected to the internet is potentially vulnerable.

Related Tech Q&As

Read more from Patrick Marshall here >>

Q: I’m on a Dell Alien PC, the latest update of Windows 10 and using Microsoft Outlook 2016 for email. My neighbor is on a Macintosh, latest OS edition, using Apple Mail. We both use Comcast. Whenever I send a message to my neighbor, she receives it, but I get a bounce as follows: “Delivery to the following recipients failed permanently: app4209211@gmail.com.”

The app4209211@gmail.com is not her address. Further, this address is not one that either of us recognize. It’s certainly not in my address book.


At first, I assumed she had some auto-forwarding rule turned on. I’ve looked at her rules and she has no auto-forwarding set for any address.

Per my neighbor, no one else has reported this problem when sending email to her.

Any ideas?

— Alan Caswell, Seattle

A: My guess is that someone is sending spam using your email address as the supposed point of origin. Since the only times this happens is when you send a message to one particular person, I’m figuring the spammer’s malware is on your neighbor’s computer. Why isn’t the spammer using other senders’ email addresses? I’ve got no answer for that one.

Anyway, since it sounds like you’ve got good communication with your neighbor, I’d suggest that he or she run a malware scan.

Q: I have a dated HP-Compaq PC. I have used it for a few months (bought used) but one issue has come up. I use juno.com for email. Quite often, when using the Juno link for email, if the machine sits for even a little time, I’ll get a notice saying juno.com is “not responding.” I have to do shut down and restart to get the link to respond.

— Diane Murdock

A: I suggest you first try Juno’s automated connectivity troubleshooter. You can download it at: http://help.juno.com/support/survey/cw.html?tracking=web.