Make a firm commitment not to be fooled into installing malware on your computer!

In this study, researchers created fake popup windows that should have been alarming, and put them in front of people at unexpected times. Most of the people clicked the OK button so quickly it was clear they didn’t give it a moment’s thought – they just wanted the dialog box to get out of the way as quickly as possible, with no thought to the consequences.

It’s up to you to protect yourself. It doesn’t matter what security software you’re running – if you click OK, you have given the bad guys permission to kidnap your family and empty your bank accounts. Researchers find too many people who would click Yes in any window, even if it looks like the one on the right, with nothing more than a snort of annoyance at the distraction.

Vista adds “User Account Control” as a critical security feature. Before any significant change is allowed, Vista greys the screen, stops the change from occurring, and asks you if you want to allow it to happen. When a laboratory tried to research rootkits (the latest name for “bad programs that hide themselves on your computer,” since “virus,” “adware” and “spyware” weren’t confusing enough), they had to disable User Account Control because the rootkits were stopped in their tracks by it.

If you’re a Vista user, then, you have an important security tool built into the operating system, and it will protect you unless you click OK on the User Account Control window without thinking about it. Rootkits are the most dangerous kind of attack and Vista can stop them dead, regardless of your security software, but only if you say No.

And if you turn off User Account Control and complain about how oh so annoying boo hoo it is to have to click OK an extra time, I have little sympathy. Responsibility for your computer is in your hands.