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Avoid being phished, distraction free computing, zero day exploits

Avoid being phished by emails from your “bank” or “credit card company” to change your password by hovering your mouse or pointer over the big button you are being tempted with and looking at the web address that your browser or email program will show right there or in the lower left part of your web browser. Look very carefully at this web address and if, for example, Chase is trying to get you to view problems with your account and the link the mouse hover reveals some website with nothing Chase.com related, then don’t go there. Or, you could just call the bank, credit card company, business or whomever, and double check the alerts legitimacy.

Consider making your computer more distraction free by: disabling notifications in Windows and OS X; removing clutter on your desktop; blocking distracting websites like Facebook during hours you want to be productive; using distraction free modes in Word; stopping auto-play of videos in YouTube and Netflix; and using a password manager to quickly fill in forms without a lapse in security.

Protect your eyes in this digital age by: avoiding glare on or behind the screen; keeping your eyes from drying out; and exercising them by rolling them around and changing the focus every 20 minutes or so. Remember the 20/20/20 rule, every 20 minutes look away 20 feet for 20 seconds or more.

Create your own web browser start page with www.start.me where you can combine information from many different sites into one customized for you web page.

Another top ten list of passwords to avoid include: x, Zz, St@rt123, 1, P@ssw0rd, bl4ck4ndwhite, admin, alex, qwertyuiop, 1qaz2wsx.

Zero day exploits refer to software exploits found by hackers before others in the security field find and fix them, so by definition they are usually undetectable. Things you can do to help avoid them include: keeping your operating system up-to-date and do the same for all applications (don’t forget to uninstall software not currently in use and review this every few months); use the latest version of web browsers; make sure your firewall is working and test with Gibson Research Corporation’s Shields Up; and use a password manager so you can use distinct and complex passwords without fear of not remembering them.