What is rickrolling? Well, if you’ve never been rickrolled, the best description is a zesty combination of an imaginative but harmless phishing technique, 80′s pop sensation Rick Astley, and a fun but cautionary lesson in taking care before you click ANY link online.
Basically, a rickroll works like this: You’re either surfing the web or you receive an email with an all too irresistible link. Something along the lines of “President Obama skydives without clothes!” or “Real pictures of Bigfoot skateboarding!” Frequently, rickroll links capitalize on the current thing in pop culture or national news.
“Stars of Twilight caught in knockdown dragout catfight! See photos here!” Whatever it takes to get you to click. Just like a REAL phishing scam. The difference being that when you click a rickroll link it immediately takes you to a YouTube video of Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” To the tune of 60 million views and growing.
It all started back in 2007, when the craze first caught on. By 2008, YouTube itself turned its entire front page into a rickroll generator as every single video there — you guessed it — paid off a click with the dance crooner’s twenty year old hit.
Astley finds the trend “hilarious” and his only worry is that his daughter will be teased about the practice. Rick even participated in a rickroll during the Macy’s Day Parade when popping out of a float to lip synch the song.
But while rickrolling can be a laugh, it’s also a very good teacher. Imagine that your click didn’t take you to the infectious strains of Mr. Astley’s big hit, but something far more sinister. Rickrolling is both fun and a lesson in internet safety. Practice safety before you click.
You probably are wondering how to keep your clicks within the bounds of online safety. Just click below.