Phishing Game Underscores Need for Better Security Education

Paul Lilly

Any power user who's ever fixed a friend or family member's PC or worked a job in IT knows that less savvy computer users are easy targets for spreading malware. But just in case there was any doubt, PhishMe, a provider of anti-phishing training, announced the results from its free online game intended to assess a player's phishing knowledge. The results? Not good.

The PhishMe game was available to the public free of charge for two months, with the following key findings resulting from that trial:

  • 90 percent of players believe antivirus and firewalls effectively protect against phishing
  • 95 percent of players will blindly trust an email if it looks like it come from  friend or coworker
  • Over 80 percent of players assume the text of a URL dictates where it will take you

In other words, the PhishMe game reveals "how susceptible people are to even the most basic techniques used by phishers," said Rohyt Belani, CEO of PhishMe.com. According to Belani, "the key to avoiding these threats is consistent education and training. Employees are 60 percent more likely to fall for an attack when improperly educated on phishing scams."

It wasn't just one segment of the population represented, either. Participants in the game/study came from a variety of professional backgrounds, including employees within financial services, health care, retail, government, and even technology firms.

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