Think before you click

By | March 15, 2011
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What’s the first thing you learned when you were first learning to use a computer? If you think about it, the first thing you learned to do was to click things. You have to click an icon to open your email or browser. You have to click a link to go to a web page. All of us, when we first start to learn computers are click happy. It’s fun. How many other things can you do it life and get instant results? On a computer, you click something and something usually happens.

The trouble is that clicking becomes a knee-jerk reaction. There’s just something fascinating about a hyperlink. You just want to click it. How many of you clicked the previous sentence? It looks like a link, but it’s not. And we hope by now you trust us enough to know we’re not going to put any dangerous links in our newsletters. But admit it, even if you didn’t click on that sentence, you were tempted to, right?

Criminals and pranksters and spammers – all of the malevolent ones who lurk on the Internet, prey on those who just cannot resist a link. And even those of us who know better than to click links when we shouldn’t sometimes find ourselves wondering where the link leads to.

Despite what some experts say, if someone gets their identity stolen is by clicking a link that leads to a phishing site.

The quickest way to get your computer infected with bots, viruses, spyware, adware and malware is to click links without thinking. Even if you have the best antivirus and the two best antispyware programs installed and updated on your computer – you shouldn’t be clicking links in untrusted emails or Web sites of which you’re not sure.

There are new viruses and Trojans being spread around the Internet that are highly evolved. They appear to be legitimate programs, and install as legitimate programs, but once installed they proceed to shut down your security programs (antivirus, antispyware, etc.) and proceed to unload their nefarious bundle unto your computer. And once that happens, you’re computer is helpless. The virus can spread so fast, by the time you realize what’s happening, it’s too late. A very good friend of mine had that happen to him. He clicked a link in an email that he shouldn’t have – it appeared to have come from a friend. By the time he called me, it was too late. He had to format his computer and reinstall Windows – and three weeks later he is still reinstalling all his programs because he didn’t listen to me when I told him to keep a good, mirror-image backup. He does listen to me now though.

My friend is not a beginner. By anyone’s standards he’s very smart and very careful. But because one time he didn’t think before he clicked, it cost him a lot of time and a lot of aggravation. It could have cost him a lot more.

Whether you’re talking about computers or the Internet – everything is just a click away. Not thinking before you click a link could cost you a lot. Software programs cannot think – but you can. Antivirus and antispyware can only protect you from malicious files and programs – but they cannot protect you from yourself.

Yes, when you’re on the Internet everything is just a click away – and so is having your computer ruined, your identity stolen or your bank account drained.

Think before you click a link.

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