Reading this May Harm Your Computer: The Psychology of Malware Warnings

Contribution: 
Research article
Keywords: 
malware
deterrence of deception
psychology
low probability events
status quo bias
social psychology of persuasion
Reference: 
Modic, D. and Anderson, R. J. (2014). Reading this May Harm Your Computer: The Psychology of Malware Warnings. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2374379
Summary / Abstract: 

Abstract. Internet users face large numbers of security warnings, which they mostly ignore. To improve risk communication, warnings must be fewer but better. We report an experiment on whether compliance can be increased by using some of the social-psychological techniques the scammers themselves use, namely appeal to authority, social compliance, concrete threats and vague threats. We also investigated whether users turned off browser malware warnings (or would have, had they known how).

Preprint available from SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2374379

8th January 2014. The paper made the Top Ten list at SSRN. 1100 downloads in 5 days.