Computer: Email: Phishing
Are you sure you want to click that?   (+7, -6)  [vote for, against]
Help for the unwary

Few things are more annoying than sharing a computer with people who aren't too bright about what they're doing. Yesterday I caught my brother actually playing on one of those banner ads that say: "punch the monkey and win a free ipod" or some junk like that. His words were, "This is fun." He's 14. *cringe* So that inspired this idea.

It shouldn't be too hard to make a program that can tell what the user is doing, such as, say, clicking on a banner ad. Right as you click, it will tell you the consequences of clicking on it, probably a little exaggerated for good measure, and then ask you if you want to proceed to click. The same could work for deleting system important files. Little brother has done this too. My computer asks me if I really want to delete the file, but it doesn't tell me what will happen if I do.

Something like this would help to educate new and ignorant persons everywhere. And save me from having to wipe the computer clean of all naughtly little things. And probably be expensive. But worth it, definitely worth it.
-- finrod, Jan 19 2005

New Mozilla 'phishing' warning box
Someone added a feature very similar to this to Mozilla just 3 days after you posted it. Perhaps you inspired it? [krelnik, Jan 25 2005]

Your nose will fall off and your ass will burn like the fire of a thousand hells. Are you sure you wish to continue?
-- Mustardface, Jan 19 2005

Hell yes!
-- Susan, Jan 19 2005

You really have to experience it to know why you don't want to click it. Verbal warnings won't fail to be ineffective.
-- phundug, Jan 19 2005

Hell yes that's what she meant! That would be awesome!
-- swamilad, Jan 19 2005

//Your nose will fall off and your ass will burn like the fire of a thousand hells. Are you sure you wish to continue? //

Thats a bit more exaggerated than I had in mind, but I like it.

Also, I've always wondered why you put the brackets around user names. Is is manditory or something?
-- finrod, Jan 19 2005

[yes] finrod [it is].

damn I screwed that up.
-- swamilad, Jan 19 2005

If you are going to the effort of defining the events which you don't want to happen on your computer, why don't you completely disallow them (or make them password protected)?
-- xaviergisz, Jan 19 2005

//If you are going to the effort of defining the events which you don't want to happen on your computer// [finrod] isn't going to. The computer will have to figure out what is dangerous and what is not. That's why this idea is in the category "computer: artificial intelligence".
-- Acme, Jan 19 2005

I envision this as something like "Bonzi Buddy" or Clippy the Word Assistant. Except instead he would rush out screaming "No you FOOL!", or lurk in the lower right corner, shaking his head, muttering "why...why...why?".
-- bungston, Jan 19 2005

A Mac used to be able to do this, kind of. You could set the alert sound to be a custom sound (instead of just a beep), like HaL saying "I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave."

Fancier approach: The Mac could be set to SPEAK the text of all alert boxes that come up, using macintalk. And an experienced Mac user could use Resedit to edit the text of alert boxes. And IE can be set to warn you anytime you do something from its list of risky internet behaviors. Using these features together, you could configure your friend's Mac to really get on his case.
-- robinism, Jan 19 2005

I think it is already implemented somewhere. For example, in Windows XP, when you are deleting a link to some MS Office facility, it warns:

Confirm Shortcut Delete dialogue window:

"Deleting the shortcut to Microsoft Office XP Professional with FrontPage only removes the icon. It does not uninstall the program."

But I would be much happier if all the system files would have such explanations, much..much longer explanations about what would be if I delete, and what these files do.

I guess only links (*.lnk) have this feature in Windows.
-- Inyuki, Jan 19 2005

//You really have to experience it to know why you don't want to click it.//

Unfortunately your fourteen year old brother will only experience playing "Spank the monkey". You will experience clearing out the malware and doing a system restore to repair the registry. That's why he will continue to play it and you won't. I know an eighteen year old (computer science undergraduate) who treats his desktop and laptop with this sort of contempt and then moves onto other peoples PC's when his don't work. He's not allowed on mine.

[Bung] - yours is definitely the right approach!
-- wagster, Jan 19 2005

We've banned him before, and told him about the naughty things he's doing, but it doesn't sink in. I like the idea of a little elf or somthing to //rush out screaming "No you FOOL!"// Maybe in slow motion. But them he might like to click just to see it. There's always another problem...
-- finrod, Jan 19 2005

The example you describe--clicking an ad--could be handled in part by hooking the iexplorer cookie alert mechanism with a spyware program such as ad-aware or spybot. Thus, instead of getting a relatively meaningless "this ad wants to put a cookie on your machine" to "this ad wants to put a browser tracker on your machine. The tracker will log all the pages you visit and report them back to your mammy, getting you the ass-whuppin you so richly deserve. Is this really what you want, boy?"
-- luxlucet, Jan 19 2005

None of this will stop a wilful 14 year old from doing what he damn well pleases. He is 14 fookin' years old and should know better. If he doesn't then parental controls should come into effect including banning him (properly!).
-- gnomethang, Jan 19 2005

Are you assuming people read the warnings? And then they heed them too? Yeah, I see it now.

I'd say, make the kid rebuild the machine for you. He's old enough to figure out how, and should have the time. Once he's a steward of the machine, he'll know not to sh@t where he eats.
-- sophocles, Jan 19 2005

Perhaps you could make it possible to punch, burn, squeeze or otherwise punish the elf. This would also serve as a distraction from whatever dangerous hijinks were going on in the first place.
-- bungston, Jan 19 2005

When I was nine, I moved the DOS directory to my directory, and changed values in BIOS setup to see what happens...
-- Inyuki, Jan 20 2005

Something like this was added to the open-source Mozilla browser just the other day. See link.
-- krelnik, Jan 25 2005

Perhaps, but doubtful. It'd be cool if I did though
-- finrod, Jan 25 2005

Yeah, my brother is about the same. He asked me how to make a "box" in a 3d modeling program and I proceeded to tell him. I had to go upstairs and click the simple "box" toggle. Gosh, even I knew more than that when I started modeling! It is amazing how dumb some people are...
-- EvilPickels, Jan 26 2005

I know someone who is about 22 and takes care of a computer the way Al-Queada takes care of Nick Berg. After he is on the internet there is about 200 malwares on the system. He is the kind of person who will install a download accelerator on a cable modem.
-- Amishman35, Jan 26 2005

I'm doing some stuff here, and notice that the computer's been a little sluggish. So on a whim, I go to check what processes are running. Woefully, a bunch of stuff I know is not supposed to be there. So now I must scan and clean. As soon as I'm done browsing the HB
-- finrod, Jan 26 2005

I would say it's a bad idea. Users are widely known for their inability to read even the simplest and most urgent messages that pop up on their screen.

Besides, nothing is as annoying as a computer that assumes its users are completely stupid - especially for people that really know what they're doing. If a systems administrator want to delete a file, he generally has a very good reason to do so, and he doesn't need warnings or other explanations.
-- Forthur, May 22 2006

So make it ask the user a couple of questions when they log in. Make them fairly simple but odd enough to stump the 14 year old, eg. What does ASCII stand for? Not difficult but too boring to remember unless you're actually interested.
-- stilgar, May 22 2006

random, halfbakery