Hoodwinked: Why Our Eyes Won’t Protect Us Against Phishing and Fake Websites


Sunday, November 4th, 2018 |

Our eyes were the gatekeepers between fact and fiction, reality and myth – then the internet came along. The visual information we encounter and interact with on the web is digitally created and manipulated – and we’re not ready for it. Web pages and individual visual elements can be easily replicated, and their impact on users tracked and measured. The problem with that is that scammers take advantage of it, while we still trust our eyes. This trust can now easily be turned against us.

In the domain of email-based fraud, perpetrators have evolved beyond broad, “Nigerian Prince”-esque campaigns. No longer are they limited to crude schemes that are easily detected.

Instead, they are using sophisticated, targeted campaigns that combine social engineering with visual deception and manipulation. The goal is to generate sensory overload and trick individuals into divulging critical information, such as usernames and passwords, or to overcome their resistance with psychological pressure and shock tactics, as documented in this research report about the psychological mechanisms used in ransomware splash screens.

Read the full article on Authentic8 here.