Dangerous Links: Be Careful Where You Click

Curiosity can be a fascinating thing. It can lead us to the answers we are looking for, however, it can also get us into trouble. This is especially true when it comes to navigating the internet. Dangerous links can make our computers vulnerable to malware and other security threats. While this notion might seem obvious, people are more likely to let curiosity get the better of them and click on something they shouldn’t.

Watch Out for Unknown Senders

How can you avoid dangerous links? The first step is to know who the link comes from. If you receive an email or Facebook message from an unknown sender, you should delete. Links embedded into the message can lead you to a malicious website, which in turn can potentially infect your computer.

Unfortunately, not everyone will follow this advice. In a recent study at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), researchers found that one in two users were more than likely to click on a link from someone they did not know.

Why People Click on Dangerous Links

Prior to this experimental study, which tested around 1700 FAU students, researchers asked students if they were aware of the risks of unknown links. According to Dr. Zinaida Benenson, lead author and Computer Science at the FAU, “The overall results surprised us as 78 percent of participants stated in the questionnaire that they were aware of the risks of unknown links.”

Over 56 percent of email recipients, and 38 percent of Facebook message recipients clicked on a link that was addressed to them. Despite their knowledge of how dangerous the link might be, curiosity lead them to click on the link anyway. This is especially true when the users either believed that they knew the sender or the contents of the email related to them in some way.

It’s important for users to be aware that attacks can occurs in this way. When receiving messages, be care to check that the sender’s traditional are correct. Otherwise, do not let curiosity get you into trouble.