Spear Phishing Attacks

Type schneier
Reporter Bruce Schneier
Modified 2017-06-06T11:11:40


Really interesting research: "Unpacking Spear Phishing Susceptibility," by Zinaida Benenson, Freya Gassmann, and Robert Landwirth.

> Abstract: We report the results of a field experiment where we sent to over 1200 university students an email or a Facebook message with a link to (non-existing) party pictures from a non-existing person, and later asked them about the reasons for their link clicking behavior. We registered a significant difference in clicking rates: 20% of email versus 42.5% of Facebook recipients clicked. The most frequently reported reason for clicking was curiosity (34%), followed by the explanations that the message fit recipient's expectations (27%). Moreover, 16% thought that they might know the sender. These results show that people's decisional heuristics are relatively easy to misuse in a targeted attack, making defense especially challenging.

Black Hat presentation on the research.