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Clickbait



Clickbait is a funny thing. For the most part, it isn't damaging to you. Or is it? Before we get into that, let's talk about various themes to let you know if you've ever been hooked by clickbait - chances are, you definitely have.


We, as a society, are so obsessed with quizzes that make absolute no difference to our lives whatsoever. For example, which Disney Princess are you? Of course, the questions in the quiz aren't remotely related to Disney. They're more questions like 'which dessert would you choose after having a vegetarian lasagne?' - as if answering these questions will give you an accurate comparison to a cartoon character from a fictional land drawn 40 years ago. However, for the most part, I believe we know that these quizzes are nonsense, but they're still fun to do, right?


It's a vicious cycle though. The more of these types of quizzes we try, the more that will be made. Why is that a bad thing? From a cyber security view, it's not. Not directly, at least. However, quizzes and articles like these are designed to keep you on their website for as long as possible. You see, if you stay on their website, you may notice some of the links on there that isn't quite as much fun. Humour me for a minute...


Does this sound familiar? You're finishing off a silly quiz or a news article that is more opinion than fact, when you spot at the bottom of the page an article title like '20 celebrities you won't recognise after gaining weight' or '10 celebrities you didn't know had passed'. (FYI, these are genuine titles I've come across. These titles are written in such a way that you feel you have to click on it, generally with a "number of something" and/or "implying that you didn't know something".


You click on it because you are just too nosey not to. Also, you'll then be able to share the new found knowledge you've acquired based on literally no research. We could call this 'Fake News' - but that's another matter.


Once you've clicked on the article, you realise, you actually did know that Kobe Bryant did sadly pass away. You knew that because it was a major headline on just about every news platform in the world. You then realise that Nicholas Cage has also passed, or has he?


So what exactly is the aim of these articles? Other than trying to keep you on their website, some sites may be able to install malware on your device. If you're on the site long enough, and accidentally clicked on the wrong thing, it's very possible. In fact, it happens all the time.


The moral of the story, get your news from a legitimate source and not just a random article from a random site you've never heard of. Although, if you do ever find yourself being quizzed on what your perfect meal at your wedding is, cheesecake is a great option for dessert.