The dumb things we do on the internet or mayest thou not be led into temptation; and the ‘why should I care?’ quotient

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Given that temptation has been around since time began (hey, Adam and Eve!), you would think that we humans would have learnt not to be suckered in by now. Internet scammers of all descriptions – spammers, hackers, you name it – rely on this human weakness. It is the foundation of their business models and THEY are upping their game in making the temptations more realistic.

From responding to emails from long-lost relatives, clicking on links to dodgy websites and providing banking details, people often cannot resist the temptation of doing something they know in their heart of hearts they shouldn’t.

I’m not talking only of the most vulnerable people in our society. I challenge each and every one of you who are reading this, to confess to at least one time when you did something dumb on the internet!

I mean have you ever clicked a link in an email that you knew was ‘nqr’ (not quite right)? Or have you chatted to an unidentified stranger online and told them more about yourself, than you would someone you actually knew? Have you bought something cheap on the internet and then discovered that the product was not as described, or didn’t even arrive?

Over the years I have spoken to many people who have been taken for a ride. And almost inevitably those people knew that what they were doing was dumb. But they did it anyway. They wanted to believe it was their lucky day when instead it was artful social engineering at play.

And some of the excuses are mind-blowing:

·      The bank account doesn’t have any money in it, so I thought it was worth giving him the account number to see if I would get the money.

·      I wouldn’t have clicked the link on my own computer, but it was a work computer so I didn’t care.

·      It was cheap so it was worth buying it to see.

·      It was on the internet, so they don’t know how to find me.

In my last article I pointed out that it is human nature to either completely avoid OR ignore risks that aren’t well understood. And in this article, I have pointed out that temptation is implicit in this ignorance.

It is concerning that everyday Australians are constantly taking ‘big’ risks – even risks to their own personal safety on the internet. They are doing this without a second thought, because they do not know why they should care. And this is why it is so critical that efforts are put into helping solve the ‘why should I care?’ quotient.

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