A common complaint about using internet based programming is the risk of viruses, malware and spyware. These intruders can be a minor problem that can be easily fixed but some times they can be the source of extreme frustration and even becoming costly at times.
These common problems can infect your computer through many sources including emails and websites designed specifically to cause harm. Another way that is sweeping across the web through social media sites are shared links. Many of these shared links have been shortened leaving you with the dilemma of having to make the decision on whether or not to click on this mystery link.
A shared link is link that is shared through another user via a social site or email sometimes with a comment encouraging people to click through. If you use Twitter you probably see these all the time. They show up in your direct messages or appear as an @mention for example.
Many people have become wise to these tactics and choose to ignore or delete the message. Some people however remain trusting and click the link. While there are legitimate links out there that will send you to a website with informative or amusing content. Other links will send you to a site that has been designed to infect your system in some way.
While there is no way of knowing the intent of a link the basic rule of thumb is to never click on a link given to you if you do not know who is sending it. No matter how enticing the accompanying message may be – don’t click it! Also, if you receive an email from someone you know and the only content of the email contains is a link – don’t click it! If the email message seems fishy in anyway, even though it is from someone you know – don’t click it!
Call or email (in a separate message of course) the person you received the message from to verify the content or that they even sent the message themselves. With many of us using our computers for everything, including online banking, it is always better to be safe than sorry.