Rant

Be Careful What You Click

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Computer Security

Over the past twenty years, our lives have gone through radical changes. Entire generations now grow up in a fully digital world, and even the older generations are starting to become more active on the internet. 

From phone calls over banking to dating, nowadays everything happens online. But they are not alone. With the migration of these services into the virtual world the scammers, the cheaters, the crooks, and tricksters of this world have followed them. 

 

Scammers online

The internet is the ideal place for these people. Here they can pose as bank officials, security companies, or even your grandparents in their attempts to scam you out of your money. Sometimes they are barely indistinguishable from the real thing, so if you’re not particularly well versed with the ways of the internet you might just be the next to fall for their tricks.

Here we are going over some of the most important things to keep an eye on when navigating the depths of the world wide web. Keep in mind that these are general tips and scams come in thousands of shapes and forms, so no one can ever prepare you for every last one of them.

 

Beware of shady (suspicious) links

Whenever someone shares a link with you that you are unfamiliar with you run the risk of ending up on a harmful website. And sometimes these links will spread themselves like a virus from person to person by infecting the victim’s computer, so you could even be receiving harmful links from persons close to you.

Example of a suspicious link: DO NOT CLICK

Should a link look weird to you, as it for example includes a lot of different letters and number combinations that don’t make any sense or comes from a website that you don’t trust it is always better to not click it? You might miss out on a hilarious video, but it’s better to err on the side of safety.

Don’t give websites too many permissions

More and more websites are adopting the strategy of quickly serving you a pop-up in your browser windows that- when accepted- immediately gives the site many more permissions like reading your address book, sending you notifications, or accessing your location. 

In its most harmless cases, this can lead to a lot of annoying notifications from sites you don’t really care about, in its most extreme cases someone might be using your contact information to scam unsuspecting people. Unless it is a site you deeply trust, it is better to stay away from these.

 

Stay away from dubious online shops

If you see an online shop with a deal that’s too good to be true your initial instinct is probably right. Now more than ever scammers are trying to make a quick buck by posing as a legitimate online shop, often luring with big discounts. Before you make a purchase check the site’s company register and use the power of the search engines to your advantage and find relevant reviews. If you can’t find either, that’s a bad sign. 

Another big tell here is that a legitimate online shop will always have SSL encryption (if it’s legitimate and does not have it you don’t want your data handled here regardless) so press the little lock on the left of the URL in your browser and you can see whether your traffic is properly encrypted. 

These days, going online is like a minefield. However, this does not mean that we can’t still enjoy the wonders of the internet. As long as you are aware of the signs above, and be careful what you click, the internet can be a fun and entertaining place. 

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