Curiosity often the cause of infected computers

Most users are aware that messages from strangers can contain dangerous links and yet, more than half of them clicks on the links. This is the finding of FAU (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg). And the main reason? Curiosity!

The study

The study was conducted by Dr. Zinaida Benenson of FAU. 1700 FAU students received mails and facebook messages signed with one of the 10 most common names of the generation of the target audience. In the first study, the recipient was addressed personally, in the second a general signature was used. The links were directed to a special page where the clicks were recorded. Afterwards all subjects received a survey to find out why they clicked on the links. Most indicated that curiosity was the reason to click on the link, even if they were aware of the risks.

Tips to stay secure

Curiosity is an important quality. It ensures that we improve ourselves continuously. But it also increases the danger level. Our genetic memory keeps us from jumping off a cliff in order to see what is at the bottom. Virtual dangers, however, are much more distant. And yet we must take these just as seriously, as a big part of our lives and our work takes place in the digital world.

Here are some tips to ensure your security in the digital world somewhat more:

  1. Always check the name and email address of the sender of a message.
  2. Always check links before you click tjem. Most e-mail programs and Web browsers display the link when you hover your mouse cursor on it. Frequently dangerous links have addresses that do not match the content of the mail.
  3. Note spelling errors. Many dangerous messages are chock-full of spelling errors.
  4. Make sure to have a recent and updated anti-virus program.
  5. Use a browser with Google Safe Browsing (or something similar).

The test report can be found on the FAU website.


Richard de Vroede

A perfectionistic Jack-of-all-trades who dedicates all of his passion to his work.