Fake Pop-Ups Dupe Most Users, Study Says

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2008 7:47 PM CDT
A Windows error dialog is seen in this file photo.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) – Malware makers love to create fake error-message popups, but surely those are obvious ploys that no one falls for, right? Wrong, Ars Technica reports. Psychology researchers recently tested a group of college students with a series of fake popups, each laden with what should have been warning signs. The students flunked badly, with only 9 of 42 closing the offending window.

What’s worse is that the response time didn’t differ significantly, no matter how realistic or bogus the error boxes looked, indicating that students weren’t even thinking about evaluating the boxes. Nearly half said that they considered the boxes a distraction, and all they cared about was getting rid of them.