Should you be a nice guy when it comes to Internet etiquette? The answer isn’t so simple since it’s all depending on the context of things. For an example, a friend sent you an email for whatever purpose, important or not, you might have to reply to him or her. Down to earth Internet etiquette cannot be so disconnected from physical world, otherwise we are not who we are, as in being human with complex emotions. Thus, our strong human traits such as politeness can also be our weaknesses. This is why social engineering is useful for some bad actors who have intension to hack into your digital life.
Without going to rant much on elusive Internet/digital philosophy, let me get to the point. I’d recently received many online bank surveys through my email inbox. The politeness of online etiquette wanted me to click on the survey request link in the email so I could start a survey, because being polite is good, whether that would be on the web or off the web. Unfortunately, in the back of my head, my impolite part of the brain told me to not being so nice and polite, because the survey itself might not be sent from the bank. I think there are ways to fake emails that look like they’re from the legitimate party.
My eventual action was usually a quick delete of such email. Why? Although I’m a nobody and poor, thus my bank account would be a waste of time for whoever wants to hack into it. Thus, I’m not supposed to be all that protective toward my online bank account. Regardless, I don’t really like being hack, because it feels very invasive. Imagine a stranger just walks into your life and does whatever to you, how do you feel? This is the feeling of being hack, because you don’t know the hacker or hackers! So, it was a quick and simple decision, I rather not being polite and willy nilly clicking on a bank account survey link. I don’t care if the email is legitimate or not, I just won’t subject myself to downloading malware or virus or trojan onto my computer just so I could have a nice digital etiquette.
In summary, I think we need to be very cautious about the stuffs that go through our emails. Especially, survey invitations and what not might not be so innocent. I’m writing this post is to remind my future self and whoever else to be more cautious about Internet security in regarding to email. Furthermore, I like to remind my future self and whoever else that if a hacker has your email account, he or she can basically try to reset your passwords from your bank accounts, social website accounts, and what not. If hackers are successful at resetting your online accounts’ passwords, then they’re basically taking control of your digital life. Simply put, do you want a stranger to take over your life, albeit it’s an Internet one?