Universal Site Advisory

By Larry Teren

I’m guessing that most of us use an internet browser plug-in that identifies questionable sites to visit. When we click the link, rather than seeing the home page, instead a screen appears that may read: “WHOA! ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO GO THERE?” And then it explains what type of trouble you should expect to experience.

We don’t expect to see this type of warning to show up when going to a media site that has thousands of visitors daily. The other day, however, I clicked on the saved location of the sports news site that I check out almost daily to find out if there is anything new going on with the Chicago Cubs. The moment I clicked the link I got the WHOA! Message. It advised me strongly to back off, which I did. I thought maybe it was a mistake. I pasted in the saved link on the subpage for information on the Chicago Bulls. Same thing happened again. The final time I clicked on the main page of the site. The trifecta of warning messages appeared so I gave up.

Wow! A national sports news organization with radio and television outlets all over the country getting cyber punked by an evil hacker. Could my site adviser software be sending out phony warnings? Nah! I doubt it. I waited until the next morning and all was fine. No more site advisory warnings. I have to believe their IT department saw it as well and made the necessary adjustments to get rid of the browser highjacking.

It got me to thinking that there should be a human counterpart to this excellent protection to help us avoid the unpleasantries of the real world. For example, the other day I noticed that a video went viral on the ‘net showing a woman accompanied by her husband and son having a breakdown when TSA officials at an airport apparently touched her the way she didn’t like.

If there had been a human site adviser available, he surely could have had a sit down with her before she went to the airport. I imagine he would have said, “hey, lady. I know you are the sensitive kind. I’m just saying, like you know what I mean, that those TSA people are not always the most professional. Deal with it. If they frisk you more than you would have liked, just keep your cool and think about the plane ride and destination. Otherwise, you are only going to make it worse on yourself, as well as aggravate a whole bunch of other people waiting behind you. It’s not worth it. Just deal with it. Okay?”
And then it would be for her to decide how to react after she got the proper warning. Just as I did when I received the website warning. I backed off and did something else rather than expose my computer to malware.

If you are going to the store, the universal site adviser would grab you by the collar as soon as you got behind the wheel and prevent you from turning the key in the ignition. He or she would say something like, “whoa there, hot rod! We both know you are going to get caught in some Murphy’s law situation at the grocery store. The person ahead of you is going to have three items but one will need a price check. It doesn’t matter if it is in the regular or self-service checkout lane. It’s gonna happen. Deal with it. You want to throw a tantrum? Stay home. And on the way back from the store you are going to decide to put more gas in the tank. Don’t get upset when you see the price went up 5 cents since the last visit 4 days ago. You don’t like it? Don’t drive a car.”

But life doesn’t have universal site advisers. We ignore our parents admonishing us so are we really going to listen to someone else? Instead we do a slow burn when things don’t go right and ask why we put ourselves into those situations. At least we have protection on the Internet. Who’s deal is it now?

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