10 2016 | SECURITY

 11 Hooked: 50% of users click on potentially harmful links even though most of them are aware of the risks. © Shutterstock

Let’s go phishing

A recent study from the University of Erlangen Nuremberg revealed that 50% of users click anything that’s sent to them, even if they know that it is potentially harmful.

Have you ever watched a toddler hammering away at the shiny multicolored icons on a mobile phone? Cute, eh? But next time you spur on these little digital adventurers in their wide-eyed, saliva-dripping enthusiasm: Think! And be aware of the fact that we’re not evolving much from this behavior as digital grown-ups. “Bullsh**,” I can hear some of you muttering under your breath right now. We are evolving into great exponents of the rational human mind as we grow older and become more experienced. Edison, Einstein, Jobs or even Zuckerberg are a few great examples. 

Well sort of. There’s one key problem with that assumption, however – talent, learning and culture help people make rational decisions. But what they’ll keep in spite of that, is their childish sense of curiosity. And curiosity can be a bitch. At least when you are working in IT security. This is a theory supported by researchers at the University of Erlangen- ­Nuremberg, who sent simulated “spear phishing” attacks to 1,700 university students from fake accounts. The results were astonishing – and a little disturbing to say the least: 50% of users clicked on the link even though most of them were aware of the risks of unknown links. Therefore, we at paysafecard’s security team hope that you’ll keep one thing in mind: It’s not technology, programs or machines that are causing problems with IT-security.