Patrick Marshall answers your personal technology questions each week.
Q: Thanks for the recent article on VPN networks. I recently installed HOTSPOTVPN on my iPhone and find it easy to use. However, I have found that it prevents some apps from working properly. So far, I have problems with Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines, Starbucks and my banking apps. These will not allow me to sign in or don’t work as they should when I do connect. Is this usual with a VPN? If I sign out of the VPN they work fine.
— Leslie Gracey
A: Yes, you’re right on. VPNs won’t work with all websites. In particular, banking sites often don’t accept VPN connections. At the same time, virtually all bank sites use encryption for your online activities. The problem is that the encryption generally doesn’t kick in until you log in, and the password you use to log into the bank site may be detected by someone scanning your traffic. As a result, I don’t recommend doing banking or other sensitive activity on a public Wi-Fi connection unless you are able to do so after launching your VPN.
By the way, I travel quite a bit and I’m often working in Starbucks. I haven’t had any trouble launching my VPN after connecting to Starbucks Wi-Fi. If you’re trying to connect to Starbucks Wi-Fi after launching your VPN, just wait to launch your VPN until after you’ve made the connection.
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Q: Just wondering if you have any ideas about how to get rid of something called ImgSync from Image8.pubmatic.com? I don’t know how or where it came from, I am very careful about emails and websites. I use Norton and MalwareBytes Pro; no luck even finding it in my machine.
— Pat Fayerweather
A: My research indicates that ImgSync is a piece of adware. It’s a surreptitious program that was inadvertently downloaded onto your computer and that is aimed at serving ads and collecting data from cookies on your computer. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any surefire means of removing it. And that is, sadly, often the case with malware. Malware creators are constantly creating new malware designed to evade detection by anti-malware programs and it may take some time for the anti-malware programs to catch up.
Related Tech Q&AsRead more from Patrick Marshall here >>
You may want to search the internet for “remove ImgSync,” but be forewarned that some of the suggestions don’t make logical sense. And don’t go to any sites unless you’ve got the real-time protection of Malwarebytes turned on. Malwarebytes reports that some of the sites are suspected of themselves being the source of malware.
Q: Why does it take 10 days to unsubscribe from an email solicitation? That’s 10 more days to harass you.
— Bob Lalande, Tacoma
A: I can’t account for that, either. But here’s the deal. If you are unsubscribing from a legitimate party, just block their emails as spam until they’ve processed your request.
How to do so depends on what email program you’re using. But generally, if you right-click on the email in question in your inbox you’ll see options for what you can do with it. Look for an entry that says either “junk mail” or “spam.” Click on that and you should see an option for blocking the sender or marking the mail as spam.
If, on the other hand, you’re not sure about the sender, you don’t want to use the unsubscribe option anyway. If it’s from a spammer, clicking on the unsubscribe button just lets them know your email address is a real one. And, by the way, if it’s from a real spammer, blocking their emails is unlikely to work. Spammers regularly send from different email addresses to get around that.