Internet Explorer users have low IQ? Media hoaxed by bogus research

Earlier today I got a call from a journalist at a media organisation (I won’t say which one to spare their blushes..) with a plaintive cry:

“I think we might have been hoaxed. Could you take a look and see what you think?”

It turned out that many websites (CNN, BBC, NPR, CNET, Forbes, the Daily Mail, Mashable, the Daily Telegraph are just a handful) had been duped in recent days by supposed research from AptiQuant showing that users of Internet Explorer scored lower than average in IQ tests.

A claim like that is obviously going to be essential reading for anyone with a technical bent, and it was unsurprising to see so many websites report the story.

Of course, when many people read the story they probably thought – as I did – that the research was bound to be a bit shonky. You can, after all, easily mislead people with statistics or use a biased sample to get the results you want.

But, fascinatingly, it wasn’t just the research that was…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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