Visible to the public Biblio

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A., Jesudoss, M., Mercy Theresa.  2019.  Hardware-Independent Authentication Scheme Using Intelligent Captcha Technique. 2019 IEEE International Conference on Electrical, Computer and Communication Technologies (ICECCT). :1—7.
This paper provides hardware-independent authentication named as Intelligent Authentication Scheme, which rectifies the design weaknesses that may be exploited by various security attacks. The Intelligent Authentication Scheme protects against various types of security attacks such as password-guessing attack, replay attack, streaming bots attack (denial of service), keylogger, screenlogger and phishing attack. Besides reducing the overall cost, it also balances both security and usability. It is a unique authentication scheme.
Baral, Gitanjali, Arachchilage, Nalin Asanka Gamagedara.  2019.  Building Confidence not to be Phished Through a Gamified Approach: Conceptualising User's Self-Efficacy in Phishing Threat Avoidance Behaviour. 2019 Cybersecurity and Cyberforensics Conference (CCC). :102—110.

Phishing attacks are prevalent and humans are central to this online identity theft attack, which aims to steal victims' sensitive and personal information such as username, password, and online banking details. There are many antiphishing tools developed to thwart against phishing attacks. Since humans are the weakest link in phishing, it is important to educate them to detect and avoid phishing attacks. One can argue self-efficacy is one of the most important determinants of individual's motivation in phishing threat avoidance behaviour, which has co-relation with knowledge. The proposed research endeavours on the user's self-efficacy in order to enhance the individual's phishing threat avoidance behaviour through their motivation. Using social cognitive theory, we explored that various knowledge attributes such as observational (vicarious) knowledge, heuristic knowledge and structural knowledge contributes immensely towards the individual's self-efficacy to enhance phishing threat prevention behaviour. A theoretical framework is then developed depicting the mechanism that links knowledge attributes, self-efficacy, threat avoidance motivation that leads to users' threat avoidance behaviour. Finally, a gaming prototype is designed incorporating the knowledge elements identified in this research that aimed to enhance individual's self-efficacy in phishing threat avoidance behaviour.

Patil, Srushti, Dhage, Sudhir.  2019.  A Methodical Overview on Phishing Detection along with an Organized Way to Construct an Anti-Phishing Framework. 2019 5th International Conference on Advanced Computing Communication Systems (ICACCS). :588-593.

Phishing is a security attack to acquire personal information like passwords, credit card details or other account details of a user by means of websites or emails. Phishing websites look similar to the legitimate ones which make it difficult for a layman to differentiate between them. As per the reports of Anti Phishing Working Group (APWG) published in December 2018, phishing against banking services and payment processor was high. Almost all the phishy URLs use HTTPS and use redirects to avoid getting detected. This paper presents a focused literature survey of methods available to detect phishing websites. A comparative study of the in-use anti-phishing tools was accomplished and their limitations were acknowledged. We analyzed the URL-based features used in the past to improve their definitions as per the current scenario which is our major contribution. Also, a step wise procedure of designing an anti-phishing model is discussed to construct an efficient framework which adds to our contribution. Observations made out of this study are stated along with recommendations on existing systems.

Buber, E., Dırı, B., Sahingoz, O. K..  2017.  Detecting phishing attacks from URL by using NLP techniques. 2017 International Conference on Computer Science and Engineering (UBMK). :337–342.

Nowadays, cyber attacks affect many institutions and individuals, and they result in a serious financial loss for them. Phishing Attack is one of the most common types of cyber attacks which is aimed at exploiting people's weaknesses to obtain confidential information about them. This type of cyber attack threats almost all internet users and institutions. To reduce the financial loss caused by this type of attacks, there is a need for awareness of the users as well as applications with the ability to detect them. In the last quarter of 2016, Turkey appears to be second behind China with an impact rate of approximately 43% in the Phishing Attack Analysis report between 45 countries. In this study, firstly, the characteristics of this type of attack are explained, and then a machine learning based system is proposed to detect them. In the proposed system, some features were extracted by using Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques. The system was implemented by examining URLs used in Phishing Attacks before opening them with using some extracted features. Many tests have been applied to the created system, and it is seen that the best algorithm among the tested ones is the Random Forest algorithm with a success rate of 89.9%.

Uda, Satoshi, Shikida, Mikifumi.  2016.  Challenges of Deploying PKI Based Client Digital Certification. Proceedings of the 2016 ACM on SIGUCCS Annual Conference. :55–60.

We are confronted with the threat from the theft of user-id / password information caused by phishing attacks. Now authentication by using the user-id and password is no longer safe. We can use the PKI-based authentication as a safer authentication mechanism. In our university, Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), we deployed On Demand Digital Certificate Issuing System for our users, and employ the PKI-based client certificates for log-on to web application, connecting to wireless network (including eduroam), using VPN service, and email sender signing. In addition, National In-stitute of Information (NII), which are providing common ICT infrastructure services for Japanese universities and institutes, started a service to issue client certificates in this year. So use of the electronic certificates will become more popular within a few years in Japan. However, there are not so enough cases deploying the electronic certificate based authentication in University infrastructure, we still has many tips and issues on operating this. In this paper, we introduce the use case of the electronic certificate in JAIST, the challenges and issues, and consider the future prospects.

Tamrakar, Anjila, Russell, Justin D., Ahmed, Irfan, Richard, III, Golden G., Weems, Carl F..  2016.  SPICE: A Software Tool for Bridging the Gap Between End-user's Insecure Cyber Behavior and Personality Traits. Proceedings of the Sixth ACM Conference on Data and Application Security and Privacy. :124–126.

End users are prone to insecure cyber behavior that may lead them to compromise the integrity, availability or confidentiality of their computer systems. For instance, replying to a phishing email may compromise an end user's login credentials. Identifying tendency toward insecure cyber behavior is critically important to improve cyber security posture and thesis of this paper is that the susceptibility of end-users to be a victim of a cyber-attack may be predicted using personality traits such as trait anxiety and callousness. This paper presents an easily configurable, script-based software tool to explore the relationships between the personality traits and insecure cyber behaviors of end users. The software utilizes well-established cognitive methods (such as dot probe) to identify a number of personality traits for a user and further allows researchers to design and conduct experiments through customizable scripting to study the endusers' insecure cyber behaviors. The software also collects fine-grained data on users for analysis.

Egelman, Serge, Harbach, Marian, Peer, Eyal.  2016.  Behavior Ever Follows Intention?: A Validation of the Security Behavior Intentions Scale (SeBIS) Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. :5257–5261.

The Security Behavior Intentions Scale (SeBIS) measures the computer security attitudes of end-users. Because intentions are a prerequisite for planned behavior, the scale could therefore be useful for predicting users' computer security behaviors. We performed three experiments to identify correlations between each of SeBIS's four sub-scales and relevant computer security behaviors. We found that testing high on the awareness sub-scale correlated with correctly identifying a phishing website; testing high on the passwords sub-scale correlated with creating passwords that could not be quickly cracked; testing high on the updating sub-scale correlated with applying software updates; and testing high on the securement sub-scale correlated with smartphone lock screen usage (e.g., PINs). Our results indicate that SeBIS predicts certain computer security behaviors and that it is a reliable and valid tool that should be used in future research.

Halawa, Hassan, Beznosov, Konstantin, Boshmaf, Yazan, Coskun, Baris, Ripeanu, Matei, Santos-Neto, Elizeu.  2016.  Harvesting the Low-hanging Fruits: Defending Against Automated Large-scale Cyber-intrusions by Focusing on the Vulnerable Population. Proceedings of the 2016 New Security Paradigms Workshop. :11–22.

The orthodox paradigm to defend against automated social-engineering attacks in large-scale socio-technical systems is reactive and victim-agnostic. Defenses generally focus on identifying the attacks/attackers (e.g., phishing emails, social-bot infiltrations, malware offered for download). To change the status quo, we propose to identify, even if imperfectly, the vulnerable user population, that is, the users that are likely to fall victim to such attacks. Once identified, information about the vulnerable population can be used in two ways. First, the vulnerable population can be influenced by the defender through several means including: education, specialized user experience, extra protection layers and watchdogs. In the same vein, information about the vulnerable population can ultimately be used to fine-tune and reprioritize defense mechanisms to offer differentiated protection, possibly at the cost of additional friction generated by the defense mechanism. Secondly, information about the user population can be used to identify an attack (or compromised users) based on differences between the general and the vulnerable population. This paper considers the implications of the proposed paradigm on existing defenses in three areas (phishing of user credentials, malware distribution and socialbot infiltration) and discusses how using knowledge of the vulnerable population can enable more robust defenses.

Gupta, Srishti, Gupta, Payas, Ahamad, Mustaque, Kumaraguru, Ponnurangam.  2016.  Exploiting Phone Numbers and Cross-Application Features in Targeted Mobile Attacks. Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Security and Privacy in Smartphones and Mobile Devices. :73–82.

Smartphones have fueled a shift in the way we communicate with each other via Instant Messaging. With the convergence of Internet and telephony, new Over-The-Top (OTT) messaging applications (e.g., WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat etc.) have emerged as an important means of communication for millions of users. These applications use phone numbers as the only means of authentication and are becoming an attractive medium for attackers to deliver spam and carry out more targeted attacks. The universal reach of telephony along with its past trusted nature makes phone numbers attractive identifiers for reaching potential attack targets. In this paper, we explore the feasibility, automation, and scalability of a variety of targeted attacks that can be carried out by abusing phone numbers. These attacks can be carried out on different channels viz. OTT messaging applications, voice, e-mail, or SMS. We demonstrate a novel system that takes a phone number as an input, leverages information from applications like Truecaller and Facebook about the victim and his / her social network, checks the presence of phone number's owner (victim) on the attack channel (OTT messaging applications, voice, e-mail, or SMS), and finally targets the victim on the chosen attack channel. As a proof of concept, we enumerated through a random pool of 1.16 million phone numbers and demonstrated that targeted attacks could be crafted against the owners of 255,873 phone numbers by exploiting cross-application features. Due to the significantly increased user engagement via new mediums of communication like OTT messaging applications and ease with which phone numbers allow collection of pertinent information, there is a clear need for better protection of applications that rely on phone numbers.

Tayal, Kshitij, Ravi, Vadlamani.  2016.  Particle Swarm Optimization Trained Class Association Rule Mining: Application to Phishing Detection. Proceedings of the International Conference on Informatics and Analytics. :13:1–13:8.

Association and classification are two important tasks in data mining. Literature abounds with works that unify these two techniques. This paper presents a new algorithm called Particle Swarm Optimization trained Classification Association Rule Mining (PSOCARM) for associative classification that generates class association rules (CARs) from transactional database by formulating a combinatorial global optimization problem, without having to specify minimal support and confidence unlike other conventional associative classifiers. We devised a new rule pruning scheme in order to reduce the number of rules and increasing the generalization aspect of the classifier. We demonstrated its effectiveness for phishing email and phishing website detection. Our experimental results indicate the superiority of our proposed algorithm with respect to accuracy and the number of rules generated as compared to the state-of-the-art algorithms.

Bulakh, Vlad, Gupta, Minaxi.  2016.  Countering Phishing from Brands' Vantage Point. Proceedings of the 2016 ACM on International Workshop on Security And Privacy Analytics. :17–24.

Most anti-phishing solutions that exist today require scanning a large portion of the web, which is vast and equivalent to finding a needle in a haystack. In addition, such solutions are not very efficient. We propose a different approach. Our solution does not rely on the scanning of the entire Internet or a large portion of it and only needs access to the brand's traffic in order to be able to detect phishing attempts against that brand. By analyzing a sample of phishing websites, we find features that can be used to distinguish phishing websites from the legitimate ones. We then use these features to train a machine learning classifier capable of helping brands detect phishing attempts against them. Our approach can detect up to 86% of phishing attacks against the brands and is best used as a complementary tool to the existing anti-phishing solutions.

Zielinska, Olga, Welk, Allaire, Mayhorn, Christopher B., Murphy-Hill, Emerson.  2016.  The Persuasive Phish: Examining the Social Psychological Principles Hidden in Phishing Emails. Proceedings of the Symposium and Bootcamp on the Science of Security. :126–126.

{Phishing is a social engineering tactic used to trick people into revealing personal information [Zielinska, Tembe, Hong, Ge, Murphy-Hill, & Mayhorn 2014]. As phishing emails continue to infiltrate users' mailboxes, what social engineering techniques are the phishers using to successfully persuade victims into releasing sensitive information? Cialdini's [2007] six principles of persuasion (authority, social proof, liking/similarity, commitment/consistency, scarcity, and reciprocation) have been linked to elements of phishing emails [Akbar 2014; Ferreira, & Lenzini 2015]; however, the findings have been conflicting. Authority and scarcity were found as the most common persuasion principles in 207 emails obtained from a Netherlands database [Akbar 2014], while liking/similarity was the most common principle in 52 personal emails available in Luxemborg and England [Ferreira et al. 2015]. The purpose of this study was to examine the persuasion principles present in emails available in the United States over a period of five years. Two reviewers assessed eight hundred eighty-seven phishing emails from Arizona State University, Brown University, and Cornell University for Cialdini's six principles of persuasion. Each email was evaluated using a questionnaire adapted from the Ferreira et al. [2015] study. There was an average agreement of 87% per item between the two raters. Spearman's Rho correlations were used to compare email characteristics over time. During the five year period under consideration (2010–2015), the persuasion principles of commitment/consistency and scarcity have increased over time, while the principles of reciprocation and social proof have decreased over time. Authority and liking/similarity revealed mixed results with certain characteristics increasing and others decreasing. The commitment/consistency principle could be seen in the increase of emails referring to elements outside the email to look more reliable, such as Google Docs or Adobe Reader (rs(850) = .12

Alam, Safwan, El-Khatib, Khalil.  2016.  Phishing Susceptibility Detection Through Social Media Analytics. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Security of Information and Networks. :61–64.

Phishing is one of the most dangerous information security threats present in the world today, with losses toping 5.9 billion dollars in 2013. Evolving from the original concept of phishing, spear phishing also attempts to scam individuals online, however it uses personalized mail to yield a far higher success rate. This paper suggests an increased threat of spear phishing success due to the presence of social media. Assessing this new threat is important not only to the individuals, but also to companies whose employees may specifically be targeted through their social media accounts. The paper presents the design and implementation of an architecture to determine phishing susceptibility of a user through their social media accounts, and methods to reduce the threat. Preliminary testing shows that social media provides a publicly accessible resource to assess targeted individuals for phishing attacks through their accounts.

Han, YuFei, Shen, Yun.  2016.  Accurate Spear Phishing Campaign Attribution and Early Detection. Proceedings of the 31st Annual ACM Symposium on Applied Computing. :2079–2086.

There is growing evidence that spear phishing campaigns are increasingly pervasive, sophisticated, and remain the starting points of more advanced attacks. Current campaign identification and attribution process heavily relies on manual efforts and is inefficient in gathering intelligence in a timely manner. It is ideal that we can automatically attribute spear phishing emails to known campaigns and achieve early detection of new campaigns using limited labelled emails as the seeds. In this paper, we introduce four categories of email profiling features that capture various characteristics of spear phishing emails. Building on these features, we implement and evaluate an affinity graph based semi-supervised learning model for campaign attribution and detection. We demonstrate that our system, using only 25 labelled emails, achieves 0.9 F1 score with a 0.01 false positive rate in known campaign attribution, and is able to detect previously unknown spear phishing campaigns, achieving 100% 'darkmoon', over 97% of 'samkams' and 91% of 'bisrala' campaign detection using 246 labelled emails in our experiments.

Shanthi, K., Seenivasan, D..  2015.  Detection of botnet by analyzing network traffic flow characteristics using open source tools. 2015 IEEE 9th International Conference on Intelligent Systems and Control (ISCO). :1–5.

Botnets are emerging as the most serious cyber threat among different forms of malware. Today botnets have been facilitating to launch many cybercriminal activities like DDoS, click fraud, phishing attacks etc. The main purpose of botnet is to perform massive financial threat. Many large organizations, banks and social networks became the target of bot masters. Botnets can also be leased to motivate the cybercriminal activities. Recently several researches and many efforts have been carried out to detect bot, C&C channels and bot masters. Ultimately bot maters also strengthen their activities through sophisticated techniques. Many botnet detection techniques are based on payload analysis. Most of these techniques are inefficient for encrypted C&C channels. In this paper we explore different categories of botnet and propose a detection methodology to classify bot host from the normal host by analyzing traffic flow characteristics based on time intervals instead of payload inspection. Due to that it is possible to detect botnet activity even encrypted C&C channels are used.

Nirmal, K., Janet, B., Kumar, R..  2015.  Phishing - the threat that still exists. 2015 International Conference on Computing and Communications Technologies (ICCCT). :139–143.

Phishing is an online security attack in which the hacker aims in harvesting sensitive information like passwords, credit card information etc. from the users by making them to believe what they see is what it is. This threat has been into existence for a decade and there has been continuous developments in counter attacking this threat. However, statistical study reveals how phishing is still a big threat to today's world as the online era booms. In this paper, we look into the art of phishing and have made a practical analysis on how the state of the art anti-phishing systems fail to prevent Phishing. With the loop-holes identified in the state-of-the-art systems, we move ahead paving the roadmap for the kind of system that will counter attack this online security threat more effectively.