There was a recent story posted on one of our favorite tech sites about how some clever hackers have managed to trick people by going to what they think are legitimate websites by taking advantage of the Unicode text system.

The Unicode system, which has been improving over the last two decades or more, has played a key role in letting our computers and mobile devices be able to easily display languages that don’t use the standard letters and symbols we are familiar with in the English alphabet. It is also responsible for letting us sent emoji pictures to each other. But some symbols in other languages tend to look a lot like what we think of as normal letters. By carefully buying up odd website addresses and using special strings of code in website urls, the hackers have been able to exploit these similar looking letters by making an address that looks like it goes to a familiar site when it in fact goes to a fake page designed to steal login information or install a virus or spyware.

Some web browsers, like Google’s Chrome, have wised up to this trickery and make sure the user can tell the difference between the address used by a real site and the lookalike address, but others, like Firefox and Opera, have not. Until all the major web browsers get on board, you might want to consider tying in a website address yourself instead of relying on a link sent to you in a text or email.

If you think you may have gone to an illegitimate site or were tricked into installing a virus on your computer, you can bring it by our location at:

1331 South Beckham in Tyler, just south of the hospitals and we can help you diagnosis any issues you are having.

You can also reach us at (903) 858-4383 or at