People Not As Good At Spotting Phishing As They Think They Are

Source: ZDNet / Tom Foremski

January 30: Most people say they know about phishing and what it involves, yet just 5% were able to correctly identify all types of scams according to a survey of nearly 1,000 people from

Nearly everyone (96%) knew about phishing and 88% said they could accurately define it. Yet nearly half (47%) didn’t know that phishing can happen through software, 43% thought that advertisements are safe; and nearly one-third (30%) didn’t know that social media platforms can be sources of phishing.

Phishing has grown in terms of the number of people affected, expanding by 59% over a four-year period. The FBI counted more than 26,300 victims in 2018. It is in the FBI’s top four cybercrimes, which includes extortion, non-delivery and identity theft.

The survey found a large difference between generations with Baby Boomers being the least educated about threats. More than half of millennials said they are wary of online ads and fraudulent software.


The continued success of phishing is partly due to more sophisticated scams and to an increase in the number of channels that are susceptible to such exploits.

The most alarming finding of the survey is the huge gap between the high confidence of people in their knowledge of phishing (88%) and their ability to spot all the phishing scams (5%). It shows that massive education is needed because people are the weakest link when it comes to security.

Source: ZDNet / Tom Foremski

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