These warnings fight email phishing scams best

New research compares different kinds of warnings alerting email users to potential phishing scams.

Just when we think we have a handle on the tricks data thieves have up their sleeves to hack our devices in an attempt to steal our information, someone comes along with a new way to fool us, and phishing schemes on the computer can catch even the savviest of users.

Organizations that provide email services, including the commercial email clients that consumers use every day, have put numerous measures in place to fight phishing attempts, and work to educate users about avoiding suspicious links in email. Among the efforts are various warnings that alert users of potentially suspicious links.

In a study involving 700 participants ages 20 to 71, researchers evaluated three warning design features to help users more effectively assess phishing risk and avoid suspicious websites. They compared them to the more commonly used static email banner—often a colored band or box using a bold color like red that appears as a warning across the top of an email page. The three features for comparison are:

Warning placement, or moving phishing warnings close to the suspicious link in the email.
Forced attention to the warning by deactivating the suspicious link in the email body and…

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