A new study done on online safety by German scientists reveals that 56% of email recipients and roughly 40% of Facebook users click on links from unknown senders. This is a particularly disturbing statistic, given what we all know about spam, malware, and phishing links that the unscrupulous embed in cyber messages designed to entice you right into dangerous, exploitative waters. It seems the main reason participants clicked on the hazardous links – even though they (78% of respondents) were well aware of the danger – was curiosity. Well, we all know what curiosity did to the cat. And, what it can do to you and your computer, data network, and business can be shocking at best, and catastrophic at worst. So, why do many people continue to click when they should delete or ignore?
It seems that enticements that involve something personal or the promise of money or prizes are too hard for most to resist. Provocative visuals were also cited by participants as reasons for the irresistible urge that got the better of them. The use of personally-identifiable names in the messages was also a big motivator, understandably (to a point). But, aren’t we smarter than this in 2016, with all we know about email phishing scams, adware, scareware, ransomware, and all of the many-faceted cyber threats bombarding us? It appears that many will gladly toss caution to the wind and gamble their luck on the craps table of the cyber sphere, if the enticement looks passable enough.
A Cautionary Tale
Well, looks aren’t everything, especially on the Web. Caution should be the order of the day for everyone – from the neophyte, individual user to the largest corporations and government bodies – no matter what link to whatever from your “old friend from high school” lands in your Facebook or email inbox. Sure, humans can be fooled. Our gullibility when it comes to supposed gifts, enticements, letters, special messages, etc. spikes in a world that tends to cut us short “out there,” offline, in the real world. But, people, and especially business enterprises need to be stalwart and vigilant on this matter. After all, with more employees claiming to use social media during work hours, the chances of someone on your staff clicking a malware-loaded link are extremely high. You really should have a “zero tolerance” policy in the workplace towards clicking on unsolicited email or Facebook links that aren’t verified by the sender and receiver as being business-related. Period.
For a Safer, Better Web
Luckily, there are steps you can take and tools you can use to make your online experience safer and better, such as link safety websites. And, if you have further questions or concerns about email and Facebook phishing and scams and better Web link safety, Hammett Technologies is the leader in providing cybersecurity and IT consulting in Washington, DC or Baltimore. Our Web security platform can keep your employees navigating safely while blocking non-business sites. Contact one of our expert IT staff at (443) 216-9999 or send us an email at email@example.com, and we will be happy to help.