Holiday Cheer... Good for Us,
Bad for Our Computers!


    In this Holiday Season, we are all bombarded with invitations to download screensavers, greeting cards, shopping assistance software, and many other offerings related to the holidays and the gifting season.
    No matter how cute, no matter how seemingly "useful", no matter how innocuous and festive and benign and celebratory, choose this season to be smart enough to ignore all this stuff you don't need.
    Almost all of these proffered "gifts" or "goodies" are vehicles to install (and monitor) spy-ware, ad-ware, or other malicious programs on your computer.  The most innocent among them just track your shopping habits, to target you with advertising.  The least innocent may be sending your personal information, keystrokes typed, or other sensitive information to a hacker or thief in cyberspace.
    Think about it... you are a REALTORŪ and you use your personal computer for your business, right?  Do you really need a pretty snow scene on your screen, or little Holiday lights twinkling 'round your monitor?  Is a "Bowling for Santa's Elves" game important enough to risk all your data, contacts, and email?  Is that animated greeting card from your cousin Bob really worth more than the prospecting database you've built over the last three years?
    A significant portion of your fellow human beings are online, and many of them don't believe in Christmas, Chanukah, or Kwanza.  They just know that the month of December offers an incredible economic opportunity, and that people who are engrossed in the festivities of a major religious or seasonal holiday have let their guard down, and are sitting ducks for every kind of nefarious merchandising scheme imaginable.  These holidays, in America, have become a commercial love-fest of buying, selling, shopping, trading, and increased communication of religious and familial sentiment;  a veritable goldmine for the opportunist, the criminal, and the technically adept mischief-makers, world-wide!
    Please, take that extra moment to think about any offer, any email that contains active content (graphics that dance or drop snow,  games to play on your screen, etc.), or any software from any source that only serves to clutter up your computer and waste your resources for decorative purposes.
    Have a safe, non-advertised, non-commercial, you-don't-need-this-lousy-merchandise Holiday Season!

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