I recently repeated a small experiment with a group of “average computer user” friends, (about 16, or so), and I was disappointed to see that the conditioned response issue to “just click” while surfing the web, was still there. This, despite my long battle to get them to modify their online behavior.
I assumed that endlessly reinforcing “clicking haphazardly, without considering the consequences, can lead to the installation of malicious code that can cause identity theft and the theft of passwords, bank account numbers, and other personal information”, would have had some impact. Apparently not.
But, I haven’t given up. It appears it will take even more repetition before progress can be made. In the meantime, I expect that curiously browsing the web blissfully unaware of the considerable malware dangers, will continue to be the modus operandi for my friends.
My friends are not alone in their “clicking haphazardly” bad habit. Many of us have learned to satisfy our curiosity simply by a mouse click here, and a mouse click there. Arguable, we have developed a conditioned response (without involving conscious thought), to – “just click”.
It’s now well established, that our conditioned human responses pose the biggest risk to our online safety and security. Our curiosity, coupled with our conditioned responses can often override our common sense, so it’s not unusual for people to open an email attachment, for example, despite knowing that the attachment could be a virus, or another form of malware.
Security experts argue that a significant number of malware infections could be avoided if users stopped “just clicking haphazardly” or opening the types of files that are clearly dangerous. To this point however, this type of dangerous behavior continues despite the warnings.
Most visitors to this site are above average users (I’m assuming that you are too), so, I have a challenge for you.
Take every appropriate opportunity to inform your friends, your relatives, and associates, that “just clicking haphazardly” without considering the consequences, can lead to the installation of malicious code that can cause identity theft and the theft of passwords, bank account numbers, and other personal information.
Help them realize that “just clicking”, can expose them to:
- Trojan horse programs
- Back door and remote administration programs
- Denial of service attacks
- Being an intermediary for another attack
- Cross-site scripting
- Email spoofing
- Email-borne viruses
- Packet sniffing
You can do them an additional favor, by pointing them to Comodo’s YouTube channel, Really Simple Security, where they can learn the basics of Internet security in a constructive, yet lighthearted way.
They’ll be glad that you took an interest in their online safety. And, best of all, by doing this, you will have helped raise the level of security for all of us.
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