Understanding phishing in mobile instant messaging : a study into user behaviour toward shared links

Ahmad, Rufai and Terzis, Sotirios; Clarke, Nathan and Furnell, Steven, eds. (2022) Understanding phishing in mobile instant messaging : a study into user behaviour toward shared links. In: Human Aspects of Information Security and Assurance. IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology (IFIPAICT) . Springer, GRC, pp. 197-206. ISBN 9783031121722 (https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-12172-2_15)

[thumbnail of Ahmad-Terzis-HAISA2022-Understanding-phishing-in-mobile-instant-messaging]
Text. Filename: Ahmad_Terzis_HAISA2022_Understanding_phishing_in_mobile_instant_messaging.pdf
Accepted Author Manuscript
License: Strathprints license 1.0

Download (743kB)| Preview


In recent years, users of Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) apps like WhatsApp and Telegram are being targeted by phishing attacks. While user susceptibility to phishing in other media is well studied, the literature currently lacks studies on phishing susceptibility in MIM apps. This paper presents a study that offers the first insights into the susceptibility of users of MIM apps to phishing by investigating their behaviour towards shared links. Using an online survey, we collected data from 111 users of MIM apps and found that participants frequently click and forward links during instant messaging, while factors such as the user’s relationship with the sender and the group context of the communication influence these behaviours. The results show that behaviours of most users towards shared links try to reduce their risk to phishing by trusting their friends, family and colleagues to protect them. This raises some interesting questions for further research on the effectiveness and reliability of their strategy.


Ahmad, Rufai and Terzis, Sotirios ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5061-9923; Clarke, Nathan and Furnell, Steven