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Dawn Bjork Buzbee
The Software Pro

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Hoaxes, Viruses & Urban Legends

Hard drives erased...don't open this...delete this file...I love you...worms, viruses--even the names sound like something you don't want on your computer.

First, you must absolutely have a well-established virus scanner (top choices are Norton and McAfee) installed on your computer and setup to scan all incoming email messages to protect you from legitimate viruses. Setup your virus scanner to get automatic updates to the virus definition files. If you think that you will update these files on our own, ask yourself when you last backed up your critical data files?

The next time a well-meaning friend sends you yet another warning about a message you shouldn't open, a file that you must erase, or a "true" story from a reliable source, check it out first at any of these comprehensive sites:

Urban Legends and Folklore
A comprehensive library of Internet hoaxes, email rumors, and urban legends including a Top 25 List.
urbanlegends.about.com - home page
urbanlegends.about.com/library/blhoax.htm - current netlore

Snopes.com
Before you believe everything on the Internet, in an email, or from a coffee break conversation, check out this site that sheds light on top urban legends and rumors.
www.snopes.com

Vmyths.com
Another great resource with more focus on computer virus myths, hoaxes, and virus hysteria.
www.vmyths.com

Hoaxbusters
The big list of Internet hoaxes.
www.hoaxbusters.org

 

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Password Tools

Creating and using strong passwords is a critical piece to protecting your computer, data, and security. Here are some sites that will help you create and test the strength of your password:

Strong Passwords
From Microsoft--guidelines for creating strong, more secure online passwords.
Secure Online Passwords

Password Strength Meter
Score the complexity of a password with this tool from Microsoft's Online Security site-follow the guidelines and try a password similar but not the same as your own.
Microsoft Password Checker

Diceware
This password strategy assigns a 1-6 character word, phrase or group of characters to the result of a roll of 6 dice. Use multiple rolls to build an unique combination. Download the software or passphrase list to create your password.
More about Diceware

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Great Gizmos

Note: this section is no longer updated. For the latest on cool gadgets, great gizmos, and hot technology, check out these tech websites:

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Travel Tip
Be prepared: keep spare AAA and AA batteries in your laptop case for your travel alarm, wireless mouse, presentation remote, and other electronics.
 
Did You Know?
USB = universal serial bus, a standard port that makes it easy to connect multiple peripherals.
 
 
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