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Study links phishing vulnerabilities to personality traits

Steve Ragan | Oct. 8, 2013
Results from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University study indicate that women may be more vulnerable than men to attacks.

It's important to note that the researchers the point that their study sample was small and further investigation is needed. Such investigation may offer important insights into how personality traits impact decision-making online, and it may aid in the design of more effective computer interfaces, as well as security training and education.

A copy of the research paper can be downloaded here.

"Research on gender and decision-making/helping behaviors are very mixed, and once you throw in personality traits, it becomes even more complex. In general, research has found that there tend to be more women than men who rate higher in the trait of Neuroticism — so is it really gender, or is it really the personality trait that is affecting the outcome," Fincher said.

"On the flip side, there also may be variables (i.e., personality, culture, situation) that make women better at creating lures or more effective at social engineering. For example, the winner of this year's Social-Engineering Capture the Flag event held at DEF CON was a woman who blew away the rest of the field - something to think about when we review studies of this type."


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