Principles of persuasion in social engineering and their use in phishing

Ana Ferreira, Lynne Coventry, Gabriele Lenzini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Research on marketing and deception has identified principles of persuasion that influence human decisions. However, this research is scattered: it focuses on specific contexts and produces different taxonomies. In regard to frauds and scams, three taxonomies are often referred in the literature: Cialdini’s principles of influence, Gragg’s psychological triggers, and Stajano et al. principles of scams. It is unclear whether these relate but clearly some of their principles seem overlapping whereas others look complementary. We propose a way to connect those principles and present a merged and reviewed list for them. Then, we analyse various phishing emails and show that our principles are used therein in specific combinations. Our analysis of phishing is based on peer review and further research is needed to make it automatic, but the approach we follow, together with principles we propose, can be applied more consistently and more comprehensively than the original taxonomies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Aspects of Information Security, Privacy, and Trust
EditorsTheo Tryfonas, Ioannis Askoxylakis
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages230
ISBN (Print)9783319203751
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Electronic)0302-9743


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