This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Deception of Phishing: Studying the Techniques of Social Engineering by Analyzing Modern-day Phishing Attacks on Universities.




Walker, Lauren Elizabeth

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




Techniques applying manipulation, persuasion, and influence have been used for centuries to conduct malicious acts of crime against others. Social engineering is the act of using various manipulation techniques to get other individuals to give private or confidential information they would not otherwise divulge. In today’s technologically connected society, social engineers have begun to focus and apply their skills onto the cyber realm in hopes of gaining access to unauthorized or private information. A sample of phishing emails attempts on an American university is utilized to analyze patterns of influence and persuasion techniques of social engineers. By understanding the patterns of the phishing emails hitting college campuses, a generic profile can be developed of what campus officials should prepare for both proactively and reactively to secure their institutions