97% of People Struggle to Recognize Phishing Scams

This week Intel Security released the findings of their phishing quiz which tested consumer knowledge of, and ability to detect, phishing e-mails.

The quiz presented 10 e-mails compiled by Intel Security and asked respondents to identify which of the e-mails were phishing attempts designed to steal personal information and which were legitimate. Of 19,000 respondents from 144 countries, only 3 per cent were able to correctly identify every example correctly and 80 per cent of all respondents misidentified at least one of the phishing e-mails.

Cyberscammers use phishing e-mails to get consumers to click on links to websites they’ve created solely for the purpose of information theft. They trick users into typing their names, addresses, login IDs, passwords, and/or credit card information into fields on sites that look like they belong to real companies.

Globally, the 35-44 year old age group performed best, answering an average of 68 per cent questions accurately. On average, women under the age of 18 and over the age of 55 appeared to have the most difficulty differentiating between legitimate and phony e-mails.  On the whole, men gave slightly more correct answers than women, averaging a 67 per cent accuracy rate versus a 63 per cent rate for women.  

Of the 144 countries represented in the survey, Canada ranked 26th overall in ability to detect phishing. The five best performing countries were France, Sweden, Hungary, the Netherlands, and Spain. 

Interestingly, the survey found that the e-mail most often misidentified was actually a legitimate email.

“Phishing e-mails often look like they are from credible sites but are designed to trick you into sharing your personal information,” said Gary Davis, Chief Consumer Security Evangelist at Intel Security.