Q: I have two questions. First, I don’t recall you ever mentioning the Opera browser. I’ve used Internet Explorer, Foxfire, Chrome and Apple’s Safari. I switch to various browsers dependent on the site I visit and what I want to accomplish. My personal opinion is that Opera beats them all with respect to security, but lacks a bit for games or graphic-intense sites. Have you tested it? If so, what is your opinion?
Secondly, regarding email security, I’ve frequently wondered why you don’t suggest setting your email client to text only for incoming messages. As it happens, a couple of days ago, my husband forwarded an email that purported to be from Amazon.com regarding a credit. Looking at the text-only version, I was able to see that it was a phishing scheme, using Amazon graphics and apparent links, but redirecting to a foreign site.
— Michael Willis, Port Orchard
A: Actually, about 10 years ago I used Opera quite a lot. I found it to be a lot less demanding on resources and faster. Opera, which was developed by a Norwegian entrepreneur, was bought by a Chinese consortium a couple of years ago. I haven’t heard anything negative about the program since.
And, prodded by you, I have just taken a fresh look at it. The browser seems to be significantly faster than any other browser I’ve used, and it has some surprising extras built in, including an ad blocker and access to free virtual private networking.
I’ll be running the program through the paces for the next several weeks and will let you know if I run into any deal killers.
As for your suggestion about setting email clients to display received emails in text-only mode, it’s a good one, though it has limitations. To begin with, a lot of people really want to be able to see images and other formatting in received emails that is eliminated in text-only mode.
Also, many people use web browsers to access their emails and some of the most popular online mail providers don’t offer that option. That said, yes, if you have security concerns, viewing in text-only mode helps.
For my part, I rely on not opening emails unless I know where they’re coming from. That and, of course, having a good anti-virus/anti-malware program scanning my mail!
Q: I bought a 1-year subscription to Malwarebytes because you had said that you used and liked it. I like it also. It is presenting me with some info that I do not know how to fix.
I have a new HP computer running Windows 10 Pro. I also use Chrome and Microsoft Edge browsers. I have Malwarebytes set to check the software every 15 minutes. After I open the Chrome Browser, Malwarebytes finds about 55 of these errors:
“PUP.Optional.Spigot.Generic, C:\Users\jofit\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\bheopabinbkcmbfpdhdknklmlfclfhbe\1.2_0, No Action By User, , ,1.0.11444”
Most of these errors are similar to what I posted above. I erase the errors from Malwarebytes and open Microsoft Edge Browser. I run the Malwarebytes again. I get NO errors with Microsoft Edge browser open.
What is with the Chrome browser to allow all of these errors?
— John FitzPatrick
A: “PUP.Optional.Spigot” is Malwarebytes’ generic detection name for a large family of browser hijackers. “PUP,” by the way, stands for “potentially unwanted program.” The malware may cause your browser’s default search engine to change or it may redirect your browser when you open a new page.
Most likely, you inadvertently downloaded the critter when you downloaded some other piece of software, such as a browser extension.
Malwarebytes does protect you from this piece of malware as long as you’re running its real-time protection module. And it does allow you to remove the malware entirely from your computer.
Instructions for doing so are on Mawarebytes’ blog under PUP.Optional.Spigot.