Matt Jones

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Sandra Carpenter

Committee Member

Jodi Price

Committee Member

Jeffrey Neuschatz


Phishing, Conformity, Computer security, Electronic mail messages


Over the past decade, cybercrime has increased dramatically, and a popular way to steal someone’s information is via phishing. There are three major ways to protect from a phishing attack: automatic filters, warnings, and user training. User training makes a good safety net for the few instances when filters fail to catch a security risk and warnings go unheeded. Training is most effective when feedback is given immediately and when it is simple and engaging. Phishermen often use psychological techniques in order to gain access to sensitive information, and conformity is a well-documented phenomenon that can cause people to make decisions and act in a way that they normally would not do. If phishermen were able to create an attack that triggered conformity, the effects of that conformity could potentially overpower the effects of training. This thesis will examine the effects of conformity in an online phishing context. We will examine whether training will cause people to be less likely to conform to a majority in an online setting.



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