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Want to Compromise Your PC's Security? Keep Clicking That Spam

Wow. Just, wow. According to a new survey of e-mail users, half of all consumers have "opened spam, clicked on a link in spam, opened a spam attachment, [or] replied or forwarded it."

In other words, computer users routinely engage in activities that leave them susceptible to fraud, phishing, identity theft, and/or malware infections.

Here are a very telling couple of excerpts from the recent Email Security Awareness and Usage Survey conducted by the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group:

Even though over eighty percent of email users are aware of the existence of bots, tens of millions respond to spam in ways that could leave them vulnerable to a malware infection.

This is a problem because spam is one of the most common vehicles for spreading bots and viruses. The malware is often unknowingly installed on users' computers when they open an attachment in a junk email or click on a link that takes them to a poisoned Web site, according to [MAAWG chairman Michael] O'Reirdan.

Oh, people. People, people, people. Just this morning I received a PowerPoint attachment from my very own mother -- and didn't open it. Know why? Because it had obviously been forwarded dozens of times before it landed in her inbox, and because her PC has suffered from infections in the past. (Gee, Mom, wonder why. :)

The moral of the story is, and remains, think before you click. All the security software in the world won't protect you if you click links and visit Web sites you shouldn't.

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