Fake Popup Study Confirms Most Web Browsers are Dolts


As if college students didn't already have enough studying to do, it appears they made need to brush up on the fundamentals of PC security. For example, when presented with a popup, do you:

  • A: Click it, because what company would lie about promising to remove all your adware?
  • B: Click it, because in your hungover state you can't read what it says anyway
  • C: Click it, because that's how you assert your independence
  • D: Close it out

The answer's obvious for Maximum PC readers, but not so for those who reside on a college campus. The Psychology Department of North Carolina State University concocted a series of four fake popup dialogs, with one warning: "The instruction at '0x77f41d24 referenced memory at '0x595c2a4c.' The memory could not be 'read.' Click OK to terminate program." Only one of the warnings blended in with XP, and the others were designed to be easy to spot as adware.

Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), 25 students out of a panel of 42 clicked the button for two of the fake alerts, and 23 hit OK on the third. Only 9 of them closed the window.

So why'd they do it? Nearly half of the students said that their main concern was getting rid of the dialogs and the distraction they presented. Time to add Computers for Dummies for next semester's textbook shopping list.

Image Credit: Flickr Extra Ketchup

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