Don’t follow links, download or open attachments in emails, no matter what the subject is. If the link is from a trusted friend, you may be safe (unless he is infected) if you type it into a browser yourself (you can have one thing appear in text and a different link when you click on it). It isn’t safe out there, and trying to remember a few subject lines or file names that are dangerous is not useful. There are just too many bugs out there to use this method of protection. If the bug is known, an up to date antivirus should alarm if you make a mistake—it is the new & unknown that will infect you. Firefox tends to be a safer browser than Internet Explorer, especially if you use NoScript—which blocks scripts on the page unless you whitelist them. NoScript has one big disadvantage, if you don’t know what to allow some pages will not display correctly.

The dangerous subject line approach is like trying to remember all the places where a crime has been committed and not going there. It is much safer to develop situational awareness and have a plan for flight (get away from the danger) or fight (disarm or disable the attacker). Know what is going on around you—if it seems “off” get away. That “bad” feeling in your gut is your friend. That whispered warning from the Holy Spirit should not be ignored. This applies in real life and in cyberspace.

OK, so the local Stop-&-Rob (convenience store) has been the scene of 3 robberies in the past month—all after 10 pm. Lets not be there! The website for downloading warez (cracked software) has infected numerous people. Don't download from them. It is cheaper in the long run to use open source software or buy the real product from a reliable source. Free porn sites (you shouldn't be looking anyway!) are only useful for malware researchers, since you can often find the newest bugs there.

Edward D. Hinckley
Hinckley's Hyperlinks
303.507.0900 cell
719.487.8520 home / office
14546 Pine View Road, Larkspur, CO 80118

PS, if you just clicked on the NoScript link above, you know how easy it is to fake a link.