Should I be worried if a financial website address doesn’t start with https?

Q: Recently, I noticed that the HTTPS designation was missing from financial websites like Bank of America and Vanguard. The padlock icon is displayed 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 not to display the full URL path in the search bar. You don’t mention which browser you’re using, but Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, among others, allow users to show or not show the full URL path. Search your browser’s help utility for “Show full path to URL” for instructions.

Q: Your recent article on protecting backups against ransomware did not clarify, at least for me, whether automatic backups to a resident external drive would be safe from ransomware attacks. Can you clarify please?

—Joseph Johnson, Kirkland

A: If you disconnect this 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 connected to the Internet is potentially vulnerable.

Related Technical Questions and Answers

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Q: I’m on a Dell Alien PC, latest Windows 10 update and using Microsoft Outlook 2016 for email. My neighbor is on a Macintosh, latest edition of the operating system, using Apple Mail. We both use Comcast. Every time I send a message to my neighbor, she receives it, but I get a bounce like this: “Delivery to the following recipients has failed permanently: [email protected]

The [email protected] is not his address. Also, this address is not the one we recognize. It’s definitely not in my address book.

At first I assumed she had an automatic forwarding rule enabled. I looked at her rules and she didn’t set automatic forwarding for any address.

According to my neighbor, no one else reported this problem when sending an email.

Ideas?

—Alan Caswell, Seattle

A: I’m guessing someone is spamming using your email address as a supposed point of origin. Since this only happens when you send a message to a specific person, I’m guessing the spammer’s malware is on your neighbor’s computer. Why isn’t the spammer using other senders’ email addresses? I don’t have an answer for that one.

Anyway, since it looks like you have good communication with your neighbor, I would suggest that he or she run a malware scan.

Q: I have a dated HP-Compaq PC. I use it for a few months (bought used) but a problem occurred. I use juno.com for email. Quite often when I use the Juno link to send emails, if the machine sits still for a little while, I get a notice that juno.com is “not responding”. I have to shut down and restart to get the link to answer.

—Diane Murdock

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

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