Press Release:

Wash Your Hands and Don’t Click on Suspect Links

Published on: 2020-03-12

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The approaching annual influenza season coupled with the ongoing Covid-19 emergency should be a reminder to people everywhere to regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and consider a flu shot.

With the world’s health and productivity already under threat from biological viruses, connected citizens should also remember to update their anti-virus software to keep their devices running smoothly as it is likely more of us will soon be working from home.

It has been estimated that around half a percent of the world’s economic output is lost annually due to computer viruses*, something we can ill-afford in the current climate.

“Not clicking on links in unexpected emails would eliminate much of the risk posed by online viruses and the productivity gains would put us in a better position to face the annual flu season,” says André van der Walt, ISPA chair.

While the implications of biological viruses that target human respiratory systems are obvious, computer viruses cause damage because they can pass from one desktop, tablet or mobile device to another like a biological virus, impacting humans in less obvious, primarily frustrating ways.

Anecdotal evidence suggests computer-based viruses can impact individual human beings by increasing their stress levels and feelings of anxiety. This is particularly true if there are financial or relationship implications for the owner or operator grappling with an infected computer.

ISPA provides these seven dos and donts to help protect South Africans from online viruses:

– Do consider investing in computer hardware running operating systems less prone to computer virus attack.

– Do purchase and keep updated an effective anti-virus solution on your computer.

– Do let your mouse hover over the sender’s name on a suspect email as this will often expose the underlying email address which might not be the same as the one displayed.

– Do safeguard your email address online by not distributing it carelessly all over the web.

– Do start using longer passphrases as opposed to shorter passwords.

– Don’t click on links in emails you are not expecting.

– Don’t download apps and other software from companies you have never heard of.

ISPA is a recognised Industry Representative Body (IRB) representing the interests of almost 200 small, medium and large Internet service and access provider members.


* J. Desjardins, “The $74 Trillion Global Economy in One Chart”, Visual Capitalist.

Further Information

For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.