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Psychology of malware warnings

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Abstract: Internet users face large numbers of security warnings, which they mostly ignore. To improve risk communication, warnings must be fewer but better. We report an experiment on whether compliance can be increased by using some of the social-psychological techniques the scammers themselves use, namely appeal to authority, social compliance, concrete threats and vague threats. We also investigated whether users turned off browser malware warnings (or would have, had they known how).

Bio: Dr. David Modic, an economic psychologist, is a research associate at the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory. He has been researching social aspects of the Internet (i.e. cybercrime, virtual deviance, intrusions into virtual body etc) for the past fifteen years. He has been focusing lately on Internet fraud and the psychological mechanisms that are enabling it. More on:

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.

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