Careful where you click!

Admit it, you thought about clicking it, didn't you!

Admit it, you thought about clicking it, didn’t you!

The internet has tightly interwoven itself into the fabric of our lives. Many of us watched as it was born and embraced it as the greatest new thing ever, and in many ways it truly was. It still is.

The truth is, the internet is a dicey place. Casual browsing can lead to all sorts of weird and wonderful places. However, you have to be smart on how you browse. Today, I was looking for new fantasy art to perhaps feature here in the future. I clicked on an image from an unfamiliar site and my computer freaked out – or at least pretended to. It locked down the pages, I couldn’t exit my browser, and a recorded message began playing over and over. Irritating as hell.

The voice kept telling me in broken English that my computer was infected with something horrible, but if I called the convenient number on the screen they would be able to help.

Yea…right.  Not falling for it. I’ve seen this scam before.

Had I been less PC savvy, this would have been a big deal. Good thing I have a few tricks of my own. I opened the task manager and killed the browser. Boom! Problem solved.

In many ways the internet is like a big city. When you stick to familiar, well-known places and know the address you’ll arrive safely.  However, if you are cruising around looking for a good time, you are asking for trouble. Mindless browsing and following click-bait will lead you to dark alleys where people are waiting to steal your wallet. And on the internet they can disguise themselves in super-appealing, non-threatening ways that you wouldn’t expect.

Protect yourself. No one is going to do it for you. It is your responsibility to know what’s safe and what’s a bad idea.

Be smart with passwords. Don’t give them to anyone – especially anyone you don’t know online. DUH.

Install an ad blocker so you don’t see most of the garbage that is being thrown at you. If you can’t see it then you won’t be tempted to pick up any of the shiny bits.

Don’t download ANYTHING unless you searched for it yourself and are at a reputable site. Even then, after the download is complete run a scan before starting the program.

Be smart. Question everything. If something seems too good to be true, it is.

And if by some innocent mistake, someone starts talking to you and asks you to call them to fix your computer. DON’T DO IT.

You’ll thank me later.

***

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