Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fake Popup Warnings Fool Internet Users Even After Repeated Mistakes

Date:
September 23, 2008
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Most Internet users are unable to distinguish genuine popup warnings messages from false ones -- even after repeated mistakes. The fake ones were designed to trick users into downloading harmful software.

A new study by researchers at North Carolina State University shows that most Internet users are unable to distinguish genuine popup warnings messages from false ones – even after repeated mistakes. The fake ones were designed to trick users into downloading harmful software.

Related Articles


"This study demonstrates how easy it is to fool people on the Web," says study co-author Dr. Michael S. Wogalter, professor of psychology at NC State. The study examined the responses of undergraduate students to real and fake warning messages while they did a series of search tasks on a personal computer connected to the Internet. The real warning messages simulated local Windows operating system warnings, whereas fake messages were popup messages emanating from an exterior source via the Internet.

The physical differences between the real and the fake messages were subtle, and most participants did not discern them. Participants were fooled by the fake messages 63 percent of the time, hitting the "OK" button in the message box when it appeared on the screen despite being told that some of what they would be seeing would be false.

The ways people responded could potentially open them up to malevolent software, such as spyware or a computer virus, Wogalter says. Safer options, such as simply closing the message box, were infrequently chosen. The study was led by psychology graduate student David Sharek and co-authored by undergraduate Cameron Swofford.

Wogalter notes that companies and other credible entities may want to incorporate additional unique features into the real messages to allow people to differentiate between genuine warning messages and fake popups. However, he says, "I don't know if you could develop a legitimate message that could not be duplicated and used illegitimately."

Wogalter says the results of the study highlight the need to educate Internet users to be cautious. "Be suspicious when things pop up," Wogalter says. "Don't click OK – close the box instead."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Sharek, Cameron Swofford and Michael Wogalter. Failure to Recognize Fake Internet Popup Warning Messages. Proceedings of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Sept. 22, 2008

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Fake Popup Warnings Fool Internet Users Even After Repeated Mistakes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922122413.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2008, September 23). Fake Popup Warnings Fool Internet Users Even After Repeated Mistakes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922122413.htm
North Carolina State University. "Fake Popup Warnings Fool Internet Users Even After Repeated Mistakes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080922122413.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Can Bitcoin Survive 2015?

Newsy (Dec. 22, 2014) Bitcoin's stock has tumbled significantly this year, but more companies now accept it, leading supporters and critics alike to weigh in on its future. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins