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Don’t Be Fooled by Bogus Pop-Up Warnings

Everybody has seen them, those boxes that suddenly appear on a computer screen seemingly out of nowhere. They shout warnings about computer-related threats. They have buttons for the user to click to make the threats go away.The problem is, some of these are legitimate and some are not. Clicking on a bogus button could easily introduce all sorts of bad code or malicious programs into your system.

A study by North Carolina State University showed that most people cannot tell the difference. While the experiment deliberately inserted subtle differences between the real pop-up warnings and the fake ones, participants were fooled 63 percent of the time. Participants clicked on the “OK” button even though they had been told that some of what they would be seeing would be false.

When such alerts pop up, close the box instead of clicking on the enclosed button.