Comp-U-News from Comp-U-Talk
September 2010

Even if you've been fishing for three hours and haven't gotten anything except poison ivy and sunburn, you're still better off than the worm.~Author Unknown

August was a wild and crazy month. We worked like crazy so we could take a vacation. We drove like wild men to our vacation destination and now we are working like crazy to get caught up! While away, I had opportunity to meet new people. As so often happens, conversations turned into discussions of local, national and global economies. As you might imagine, there are lots of fears. One of the discussions centered on the theology of being self reliant-growing your own food, hunting your own meat, catching your own fish. I can grow beans. I can raise chickens. Fish? I don't know how to fish. When we got home, I stumbled on an article about the best places to fish, which got me thinking, maybe I should learn to fish.

I've been fishing before. The last time I went fishing I was probably ten. Dad took us kids to Lakeside and we got lots of bluegills. There was another guy fishing and he decided he didn't want the bluegills he had caught. He gave them to us. We were kids. It didn't matter to us if the fish was four inches or eight inches. We kept everything. And when we got home, Mom made us clean everything! It took hours! I haven't been fishing since.

What's interesting is my aversion to bluegill fishing from childhood days has carried over to my professional life. Except in my professional life it is called "phishing" and it refers to fraudulently collecting personal data. Phishing has become the new scourge of the internet. It combines with malware (malicious software) and scareware (evil pop ups that declare you have a problem and attempt to sell you bogus solutions to the problem) to wreak havoc on the end user.

It used to be that you could avoid most dangers simply by avoiding unwholesome sites. Stay away from porn sites and download sites is what we used to say. Unfortunately, bad stuff is showing up everywhere and the popularity of social networks, blogs and wikis have become the breeding ground for phishing. They rely on six basic social principles to get you to "take the bait".

Rule of Reciprocation: Give them your personal information-get a free gift.

Commitment and Consistency: once you make a decision to do something, you will follow thru rather than lose face.

The Principle of Social Proof: "Follow the Leader" mentality. Others are doing it so I will too.

The Principle of Liking: You're my friend, you're cute, you're nice, how could I possibly say no?

The Principle of Authority: We are trained to respect and obey authority figures.

The Principle of Scarcity: Time is running out! Quantities are Limited!

My suggestion: Since I'm sort of an authority on these things, and I'm kind of cute, and most people like me, and everybody else is doing it, I would suggest that you watch for these gimmicks. And you need to do it today! Tomorrow might be too late! Your other option, because I like to give people two options; You can bring me a fish so I don't have to learn to catch them myself.

Safe Surfing,

~ Janet

To read more about the 6 principles see: