Original Research

Contributing factors to increased susceptibility to social media phishing attacks

Heather J. Parker, Stephen V. Flowerday
SA Journal of Information Management | Vol 22, No 1 | a1176 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v22i1.1176 | © 2020 Heather J. Parker, Stephen V. Flowerday | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 November 2019 | Published: 15 June 2020

About the author(s)

Heather J. Parker, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Commerce, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
Stephen V. Flowerday, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Commerce, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The migration of phishing scams to social media platforms poses a serious information security threat to social media users. Users often remain unaware of the various phishing threats on social media and consequently they thoughtlessly engage on these platforms.

Objectives: The objective of this article was to identify the factors that contribute to an increased susceptibility to social media phishing attacks and propose a model to reduce this susceptibility.

Method: A systematic literature review was conducted in Emerald Insight, ScienceDirect and Google Scholar by using a search string. The identified articles underwent two rounds of screening and the articles thus included moved on to a quality assessment round. Finally, these articles were imported into MAXQDA where a content analysis was conducted, which involved extracting, coding and analysing the relevant data.

Results: The final 25 articles included in the study indicated that women with low technical and security knowledge between the age of 18 and 25, who habitually use social media and process content heuristically, are more susceptible to phishing attacks. The insights gained from conducting this review resulted in developing a model that highlights the individuals who are most susceptible to phishing attacks on social media.

Conclusion: This article concludes that certain people are more susceptible to phishing attacks on social media as a result of their online habits, information processing, demographics, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) knowledge and personality traits. As such, these identified people should be more aware that they fall into this susceptibility group and thus should behave more cautiously when engaging on social media platforms.


Keywords

phishing; social media; information processing model; phishing; social media; information processing; awareness; personality traits

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