Document Type



This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only


Computer Sciences

Publication Details

Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Dublin Institute of Technology for the degree of M.Sc. in Computing (Stream), June 2018.


Phishing attacks have been on a meteoric rise in the last number of years, with 2016 seeing a 65% increase. The attacks range from targeting individuals with personalised messages to spam attacks from bot accounts. With the chances of being targeted by a phishing attack increasing, it is important to identify who is most at risk in order to help alleviate this threat. The aim of this study is to examine members from several demographics and their vulnerability to three types of phishing using data collected from a survey (n = 198). The survey tested the participant’s ability to recognise spoofed phishing emails, SMS phishing (Smishing) and content spoofing attacks. The respondents were presented with questions in the form of screenshots using real world phishing examples. Their answers were collected which recorded whether they got each question correct or incorrect. The data collected was analysed using a two sample t-test or one-way Anova depending on the number of categories per demographic. This study addressed demographic vulnerability to different types of phishing and highlighted who is most at risk. The results of the research revealed that gender and income did not play a part in a participant’s vulnerability to phishing when analysing their total scores across each type of phishing. However, age, education and occupation presented statistically significant results to indicate they do.