Desensitised Users Vulnerable to Phishing Attacks, Adrian Spink Says in New Find the Edge Article

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An IT security expert has questioned whether excessive pop-up warnings about phishing attacks actually make users more vulnerable to them, in a Find the Edge article published today.

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All is not lost. But we are a long way from panacea. It’s evident that technology alone cannot solve this problem and in some cases it has made things worse.

Warning messages concerning the dangers of phishing attacks could actually be desensitising users to the dangers, Adrian Spink has said in a Find the Edge article published today.

He uses his post on the business site to address data that suggests phishers are able to achieve a response from 5% of their targets, and to explain why bombarding users with warnings may not be the most sensible tactic.

Spink said: "We are all used to it. Start your computer first thing in the morning, and you’ll be warned of potential attacks by your host-based firewall. Next, go online, and your browser will warn you of the potential issues with the website you are visiting, followed promptly by the issues of sending data unencrypted.

"It doesn’t stop with security tools though – Java, Office, iTunes, etc… I could go on. Each with their own security warnings, their own updates and their own blaring popup messages to protect us – but do they?"

Spink goes on to suggest that less may be more, and to explain some steps that users and businesses can take to reduce the risks they are exposed to online.

"There are controls that can mitigate the risk though legal/legislative action, well-configured software, and – crucially – well-performed user education.

"All is not lost. But we are a long way from panacea. It’s evident that technology alone cannot solve this problem and in some cases it has made things worse.

"Continual education of users, around where the latest threats are coming from – and how to avoid them, is therefore key to any security department’s role."

The article can be read in full here: http://www.findtheedge.com/technology/security/do-phishing-attacks-exploit-desensitised-users.

Adrian Spink is CEO of an independent technology consultancy, Company85, that focusses on cyber-security. More about him can be found here: http://www.findtheedge.com/expert-panelist/adrian-spink.

Kenny Goodman, founder of Find the Edge, said: "We get so many messages hitting our eyeballs on a daily basis that we've had to develop a filter to cope.

"Adrian gives some great advice here to help you prevent that filter from endangering your online security."

Find the Edge is a business website, which invites contributions from some of the sharpest business minds around.

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