Visible to the public Biblio

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2021-02-22
Lansley, M., Kapetanakis, S., Polatidis, N..  2020.  SEADer++ v2: Detecting Social Engineering Attacks using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. 2020 International Conference on INnovations in Intelligent SysTems and Applications (INISTA). :1–6.
Social engineering attacks are well known attacks in the cyberspace and relatively easy to try and implement because no technical knowledge is required. In various online environments such as business domains where customers talk through a chat service with employees or in social networks potential hackers can try to manipulate other people by employing social attacks against them to gain information that will benefit them in future attacks. Thus, we have used a number of natural language processing steps and a machine learning algorithm to identify potential attacks. The proposed method has been tested on a semi-synthetic dataset and it is shown to be both practical and effective.
2021-02-03
Adil, M., Khan, R., Ghani, M. A. Nawaz Ul.  2020.  Preventive Techniques of Phishing Attacks in Networks. 2020 3rd International Conference on Advancements in Computational Sciences (ICACS). :1—8.

Internet is the most widely used technology in the current era of information technology and it is embedded in daily life activities. Due to its extensive use in everyday life, it has many applications such as social media (Face book, WhatsApp, messenger etc.,) and other online applications such as online businesses, e-counseling, advertisement on websites, e-banking, e-hunting websites, e-doctor appointment and e-doctor opinion. The above mentioned applications of internet technology makes things very easy and accessible for human being in limited time, however, this technology is vulnerable to various security threats. A vital and severe threat associated with this technology or a particular application is “Phishing attack” which is used by attacker to usurp the network security. Phishing attacks includes fake E-mails, fake websites, fake applications which are used to steal their credentials or usurp their security. In this paper, a detailed overview of various phishing attacks, specifically their background knowledge, and solutions proposed in literature to address these issues using various techniques such as anti-phishing, honey pots and firewalls etc. Moreover, installation of intrusion detection systems (IDS) and intrusion detection and prevention system (IPS) in the networks to allow the authentic traffic in an operational network. In this work, we have conducted end use awareness campaign to educate and train the employs in order to minimize the occurrence probability of these attacks. The result analysis observed for this survey was quite excellent by means of its effectiveness to address the aforementioned issues.

2020-11-04
Flores, P..  2019.  Digital Simulation in the Virtual World: Its Effect in the Knowledge and Attitude of Students Towards Cybersecurity. 2019 Sixth HCT Information Technology Trends (ITT). :1—5.

The search for alternative delivery modes to teaching has been one of the pressing concerns of numerous educational institutions. One key innovation to improve teaching and learning is e-learning which has undergone enormous improvements. From its focus on text-based environment, it has evolved into Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) which provide more stimulating and immersive experiences among learners and educators. An example of VLEs is the virtual world which is an emerging educational platform among universities worldwide. One very interesting topic that can be taught using the virtual world is cybersecurity. Simulating cybersecurity in the virtual world may give a realistic experience to students which can be hardly achieved by classroom teaching. To date, there are quite a number of studies focused on cybersecurity awareness and cybersecurity behavior. But none has focused looking into the effect of digital simulation in the virtual world, as a new educational platform, in the cybersecurity attitude of the students. It is in this regard that this study has been conducted by designing simulation in the virtual world lessons that teaches the five aspects of cybersecurity namely; malware, phishing, social engineering, password usage and online scam, which are the most common cybersecurity issues. The study sought to examine the effect of this digital simulation design in the cybersecurity knowledge and attitude of the students. The result of the study ascertains that students exposed under simulation in the virtual world have a greater positive change in cybersecurity knowledge and attitude than their counterparts.

2020-10-12
Marchand-Niño, William-Rogelio, Fonseca, Bruno Paolo Guzman.  2019.  Social Engineering for Diagnostic the Information Security Culture. 2019 IEEE 39th Central America and Panama Convention (CONCAPAN XXXIX). :1–6.
In the process of diagnosing the culture of information security in an organization, it is considered two methods, the first one is the application of an ISCA (Information Security Culture Assessment) survey questionnaire and the second one based on social engineering techniques such as phishing, answering the question, How can a diagnosis be made effectively of the level of information security culture within an organization? with the objective of determining which of the two methods is the most effective and realistic for the diagnosis of the information security culture. This helps to understand and have a real and complete perception of the behavior and reaction of the users against the attacks of threat actors who make use of persuasion and manipulation tactics in order to obtain confidential or sensitive information. A description of these two methods is applied to a case study (public university). As a result, it is obtained that it is not enough to perform a diagnosis based on questionnaires because they can be relatively subjective in the sense of the way in which users respond to questions or statements. Evidence of controlled social engineering attacks that demonstrate in more detail the real behavior of users should be considered. Based on this more complete knowledge, appropriate strategies can be formulated for the change or strengthening of the security culture that ultimately contributes to the purpose of protecting information assets.
Flores, Pedro, Farid, Munsif, Samara, Khalid.  2019.  Assessing E-Security Behavior among Students in Higher Education. 2019 Sixth HCT Information Technology Trends (ITT). :253–258.
This study was conducted in order to assess the E-security behavior of students in a large higher educational institutions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Specifically, it sought to determine the current state of students' E-security behavior in the aspects of malware, password usage, data handling, phishing, social engineering, and online scam. An E- Security Behavior Survey Instrument (EBSI) was used to determine the status of security behavior of the participants in doing their computing activities. To complement the survey tool, focus group discussions were conducted to elicit specific experiences and insights of the participants relative to E-security. The results of the study shows that the overall E-security behavior among students in higher education in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is moderately favorable. Specifically, the investigation reveals that the students favorably behave when it comes to phishing, social engineering, and online scam. However, they uncertainly behave on malware issues, password usage, and data handling.
Foreman, Zackary, Bekman, Thomas, Augustine, Thomas, Jafarian, Haadi.  2019.  PAVSS: Privacy Assessment Vulnerability Scoring System. 2019 International Conference on Computational Science and Computational Intelligence (CSCI). :160–165.
Currently, the guidelines for business entities to collect and use consumer information from online sources is guided by the Fair Information Practice Principles set forth by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States. These guidelines are inadequate, outdated, and provide little protection for consumers. Moreover, there are many techniques to anonymize the stored data that was collected by large companies and governments. However, what does not exist is a framework that is capable of evaluating and scoring the effects of this information in the event of a data breach. In this work, a framework for scoring and evaluating the vulnerability of private data is presented. This framework is created to be used in parallel with currently adopted frameworks that are used to score and evaluate other areas of deficiencies within the software, including CVSS and CWSS. It is dubbed the Privacy Assessment Vulnerability Scoring System (PAVSS) and quantifies the privacy-breach vulnerability an individual takes on when using an online platform. This framework is based on a set of hypotheses about user behavior, inherent properties of an online platform, and the usefulness of available data in performing a cyber attack. The weight each of these metrics has within our model is determined by surveying cybersecurity experts. Finally, we test the validity of our user-behavior based hypotheses, and indirectly our model by analyzing user posts from a large twitter data set.
2020-09-04
Asish, Madiraju Sairam, Aishwarya, R..  2019.  Cyber Security at a Glance. 2019 Fifth International Conference on Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (ICONSTEM). 1:240—245.
The privacy of people on internet is getting reduced day by day. Data records of many prestigious organizations are getting corrupted due to computer malwares. Computer viruses are becoming more advanced. Hackers are able penetrate into a network and able to manipulate data. In this paper, describes the types of malwares like Trojans, boot sector virus, polymorphic virus, etc., and some of the hacking techniques which include DOS attack, DDoS attack, brute forcing, man in the middle attack, social engineering, information gathering tools, spoofing, sniffing. Counter measures for cyber attacks include VPN, proxy, tor (browser), firewall, antivirus etc., to understand the need of cyber security.
2020-05-18
Peng, Tianrui, Harris, Ian, Sawa, Yuki.  2018.  Detecting Phishing Attacks Using Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. 2018 IEEE 12th International Conference on Semantic Computing (ICSC). :300–301.
Phishing attacks are one of the most common and least defended security threats today. We present an approach which uses natural language processing techniques to analyze text and detect inappropriate statements which are indicative of phishing attacks. Our approach is novel compared to previous work because it focuses on the natural language text contained in the attack, performing semantic analysis of the text to detect malicious intent. To demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach, we have evaluated it using a large benchmark set of phishing emails.
2020-04-10
Huang, Yongjie, Qin, Jinghui, Wen, Wushao.  2019.  Phishing URL Detection Via Capsule-Based Neural Network. 2019 IEEE 13th International Conference on Anti-counterfeiting, Security, and Identification (ASID). :22—26.

As a cyber attack which leverages social engineering and other sophisticated techniques to steal sensitive information from users, phishing attack has been a critical threat to cyber security for a long time. Although researchers have proposed lots of countermeasures, phishing criminals figure out circumventions eventually since such countermeasures require substantial manual feature engineering and can not detect newly emerging phishing attacks well enough, which makes developing an efficient and effective phishing detection method an urgent need. In this work, we propose a novel phishing website detection approach by detecting the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of a website, which is proved to be an effective and efficient detection approach. To be specific, our novel capsule-based neural network mainly includes several parallel branches wherein one convolutional layer extracts shallow features from URLs and the subsequent two capsule layers generate accurate feature representations of URLs from the shallow features and discriminate the legitimacy of URLs. The final output of our approach is obtained by averaging the outputs of all branches. Extensive experiments on a validated dataset collected from the Internet demonstrate that our approach can achieve competitive performance against other state-of-the-art detection methods while maintaining a tolerable time overhead.

2019-12-02
Ibarra, Jaime, Javed Butt, Usman, Do, Anh, Jahankhani, Hamid, Jamal, Arshad.  2019.  Ransomware Impact to SCADA Systems and its Scope to Critical Infrastructure. 2019 IEEE 12th International Conference on Global Security, Safety and Sustainability (ICGS3). :1–12.
SCADA systems are being constantly migrated to modern information and communication technologies (ICT) -based systems named cyber-physical systems. Unfortunately, this allows attackers to execute exploitation techniques into these architectures. In addition, ransomware insertion is nowadays the most popular attacking vector because it denies the availability of critical files and systems until attackers receive the demanded ransom. In this paper, it is analysed the risk impact of ransomware insertion into SCADA systems and it is suggested countermeasures addressed to the protection of SCADA systems and its components to reduce the impact of ransomware insertion.
2019-09-05
Gryzunov, V. V., Bondarenko, I. Y..  2018.  A Social Engineer in Terms of Control Theory. 2018 Third International Conference on Human Factors in Complex Technical Systems and Environments (ERGO)s and Environments (ERGO). :202-204.

Problem: Today, many methods of influencing on personnel in the communication process are available to social engineers and information security specialists, but in practice it is difficult to say which method and why it is appropriate to use one. Criteria and indicators of effective communication are not formalized. Purpose: to formalize the concept of effective communication, to offer a tool for combining existing methods and means of communication, to formalize the purpose of communication. Methods: Use of the terminal model of a control system for a non-stochastic communication object. Results. Two examples demonstrating the possibility of using the terminal model of the communication control system, which allows you to connect tools and methods of communication, justify the requirements for the structure and feedback of communication, select the necessary communication algorithms depending on the observed response of the communication object. Practical significance: the results of the research can be used in planning and conducting effective communication in the process of information protection, in business, in private relationships and in other areas of human activity.

2019-04-05
Tsinganos, Nikolaos, Sakellariou, Georgios, Fouliras, Panagiotis, Mavridis, Ioannis.  2018.  Towards an Automated Recognition System for Chat-Based Social Engineering Attacks in Enterprise Environments. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security. :53:1-53:10.

Increase in usage of electronic communication tools (email, IM, Skype, etc.) in enterprise environments has created new attack vectors for social engineers. Billions of people are now using electronic equipment in their everyday workflow which means billions of potential victims of Social Engineering (SE) attacks. Human is considered the weakest link in cybersecurity chain and breaking this defense is nowadays the most accessible route for malicious internal and external users. While several methods of protection have already been proposed and applied, none of these focuses on chat-based SE attacks while at the same time automation in the field is still missing. Social engineering is a complex phenomenon that requires interdisciplinary research combining technology, psychology, and linguistics. Attackers treat human personality traits as vulnerabilities and use the language as their weapon to deceive, persuade and finally manipulate the victims as they wish. Hence, a holistic approach is required to build a reliable SE attack recognition system. In this paper we present the current state-of-the-art on SE attack recognition systems, we dissect a SE attack to recognize the different stages, forms, and attributes and isolate the critical enablers that can influence a SE attack to work. Finally, we present our approach for an automated recognition system for chat-based SE attacks that is based on Personality Recognition, Influence Recognition, Deception Recognition, Speech Act and Chat History.

2019-01-31
Postnikoff, Brittany, Goldberg, Ian.  2018.  Robot Social Engineering: Attacking Human Factors with Non-Human Actors. Companion of the 2018 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. :313–314.

Social robots may make use of social abilities such as persuasion, commanding obedience, and lying. Meanwhile, the field of computer security and privacy has shown that these interpersonal skills can be applied by humans to perform social engineering attacks. Social engineering attacks are the deliberate application of manipulative social skills by an individual in an attempt to achieve a goal by convincing others to do or say things that may or may not be in their best interests. In our work we argue that robot social engineering attacks are already possible and that defenses should be developed to protect against these attacks. We do this by defining what a robot social engineer is, outlining how previous research has demonstrated robot social engineering, and discussing the risks that can accompany robot social engineering attacks.

2018-03-05
Pradhan, A., Marimuthu, K., Niranchana, R., Vijayakumar, P..  2017.  Secure Protocol for Subscriber Identity Module. 2017 Second International Conference on Recent Trends and Challenges in Computational Models (ICRTCCM). :358–362.

Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) is the backbone of modern mobile communication. SIM can be used to store a number of user sensitive information such as user contacts, SMS, banking information (some banking applications store user credentials on the SIM) etc. Unfortunately, the current SIM model has a major weakness. When the mobile device is lost, an adversary can simply steal a user's SIM and use it. He/she can then extract the user's sensitive information stored on the SIM. Moreover, The adversary can then pose as the user and communicate with the contacts stored on the SIM. This opens up the avenue to a large number of social engineering techniques. Additionally, if the user has provided his/her number as a recovery option for some accounts, the adversary can get access to them. The current methodology to deal with a stolen SIM is to contact your particular service provider and report a theft. The service provider then blocks the services on your SIM, but the adversary still has access to the data which is stored on the SIM. Therefore, a secure scheme is required to ensure that only legal users are able to access and utilize their SIM.

2018-02-02
Gouglidis, A., Green, B., Busby, J., Rouncefield, M., Hutchison, D., Schauer, S..  2016.  Threat awareness for critical infrastructures resilience. 2016 8th International Workshop on Resilient Networks Design and Modeling (RNDM). :196–202.

Utility networks are part of every nation's critical infrastructure, and their protection is now seen as a high priority objective. In this paper, we propose a threat awareness architecture for critical infrastructures, which we believe will raise security awareness and increase resilience in utility networks. We first describe an investigation of trends and threats that may impose security risks in utility networks. This was performed on the basis of a viewpoint approach that is capable of identifying technical and non-technical issues (e.g., behaviour of humans). The result of our analysis indicated that utility networks are affected strongly by technological trends, but that humans comprise an important threat to them. This provided evidence and confirmed that the protection of utility networks is a multi-variable problem, and thus, requires the examination of information stemming from various viewpoints of a network. In order to accomplish our objective, we propose a systematic threat awareness architecture in the context of a resilience strategy, which ultimately aims at providing and maintaining an acceptable level of security and safety in critical infrastructures. As a proof of concept, we demonstrate partially via a case study the application of the proposed threat awareness architecture, where we examine the potential impact of attacks in the context of social engineering in a European utility company.

2018-01-10
Frumento, Enrico, Freschi, Federica, Andreoletti, Davide, Consoli, Angelo.  2017.  Victim Communication Stack (VCS): A Flexible Model to Select the Human Attack Vector. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Availability, Reliability and Security. :50:1–50:6.
Information security has rapidly grown to meet the requirements of today services. A solid discipline has been developed as far as technical security is concerned. However, the human layer plays an increasingly decisive role in the managing of Information Technology (IT) systems. The research field that studies the vulnerabilities of the human layer is referred to as Social Engineering, and has not received the same attention of its technical counterpart. We try to partially fill this gap by studying the selection of the Human Attack Vector (HAV), i.e., the path or the means that the attacker uses to compromise the human layer. To this aim, we propose a multilayer model, named Victim Communication Stack (VCS), that provides the key elements to facilitate the choice of the HAV. This work has been carried out under the DOGANA European project.
2017-12-20
Heartfield, R., Loukas, G., Gan, D..  2017.  An eye for deception: A case study in utilizing the human-as-a-security-sensor paradigm to detect zero-day semantic social engineering attacks. 2017 IEEE 15th International Conference on Software Engineering Research, Management and Applications (SERA). :371–378.

In a number of information security scenarios, human beings can be better than technical security measures at detecting threats. This is particularly the case when a threat is based on deception of the user rather than exploitation of a specific technical flaw, as is the case of spear-phishing, application spoofing, multimedia masquerading and other semantic social engineering attacks. Here, we put the concept of the human-as-a-security-sensor to the test with a first case study on a small number of participants subjected to different attacks in a controlled laboratory environment and provided with a mechanism to report these attacks if they spot them. A key challenge is to estimate the reliability of each report, which we address with a machine learning approach. For comparison, we evaluate the ability of known technical security countermeasures in detecting the same threats. This initial proof of concept study shows that the concept is viable.

Che, H., Liu, Q., Zou, L., Yang, H., Zhou, D., Yu, F..  2017.  A Content-Based Phishing Email Detection Method. 2017 IEEE International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability and Security Companion (QRS-C). :415–422.

Phishing emails have affected users seriously due to the enormous increasing in numbers and exquisite camouflage. Users spend much more effort on distinguishing the email properties, therefore current phishing email detection system demands more creativity and consideration in filtering for users. The proposed research tries to adopt creative computing in detecting phishing emails for users through a combination of computing techniques and social engineering concepts. In order to achieve the proposed target, the fraud type is summarised in social engineering criteria through literature review; a semantic web database is established to extract and store information; a fuzzy logic control algorithm is constructed to allocate email categories. The proposed approach will help users to distinguish the categories of emails, furthermore, to give advice based on different categories allocation. For the purpose of illustrating the approach, a case study will be presented to simulate a phishing email receiving scenario.

Althamary, I. A., El-Alfy, E. S. M..  2017.  A more secure scheme for CAPTCHA-based authentication in cloud environment. 2017 8th International Conference on Information Technology (ICIT). :405–411.

Cloud computing is a remarkable model for permitting on-demand network access to an elastic collection of configurable adaptive resources and features including storage, software, infrastructure, and platform. However, there are major concerns about security-related issues. A very critical security function is user authentication using passwords. Although many flaws have been discovered in password-based authentication, it remains the most convenient approach that people continue to utilize. Several schemes have been proposed to strengthen its effectiveness such as salted hashes, one-time password (OTP), single-sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA). This study proposes a new authentication mechanism by combining user's password and modified characters of CAPTCHA to generate a passkey. The modification of the CAPTCHA depends on a secret agreed upon between the cloud provider and the user to employ different characters for some characters in the CAPTCHA. This scheme prevents various attacks including short-password attack, dictionary attack, keylogger, phishing, and social engineering. Moreover, it can resolve the issue of password guessing and the use of a single password for different cloud providers.

2017-09-05
Nelson, Jennifer, Lin, X., Chen, C., Iglesias, J., Li, J. J..  2016.  Social Engineering for Security Attacks. Proceedings of the The 3rd Multidisciplinary International Social Networks Conference on SocialInformatics 2016, Data Science 2016. :6:1–6:4.

Social Engineering is a kind of advance persistent threat (APT) that gains private and sensitive information through social networks or other types of communication. The attackers can use social engineering to obtain access into social network accounts and stays there undetected for a long period of time. The purpose of the attack is to steal sensitive data and spread false information rather than to cause direct damage. Such targets can include Facebook accounts of government agencies, corporations, schools or high-profile users. We propose to use IDS, Intrusion Detection System, to battle such attacks. What the social engineering does is try to gain easy access, so that the attacks can be repeated and ongoing. The focus of this study is to find out how this type of attacks are carried out so that they can properly detected by IDS in future research.

2017-04-24
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

2016-07-01
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, p =.001), while the scarcity principle could be seen in urgent elements that could encourage users to act quickly and may have had success in eliciting a response from users (rs(850) = .09, p =.01). Reciprocation elements, such as a requested reply, decreased over time (rs(850) = -.12, p =.001). Additionally, the social proof principle present in emails by referring to actions performed by other users also decreased (rs(850) = -.10, p =.01).

Two persuasion principles exhibited both an increase and decrease in their presence in emails over time: authority and liking/similarity. These principles could increase phishing rate success if used appropriately, but could also raise suspicions in users and decrease compliance if used incorrectly. Specifically, the source of the email, which corresponds to the authority principle, displayed an increase over time in educational institutes (rs(850) = .21, p <.001), but a decrease in financial institutions (rs(850) = -.18, p <.001). Similarly, the liking/similarity principle revealed an increase over time of logos present in emails (rs(850) = .18, p <.001) and decrease in service details, such as payment information (rs(850) = -.16, p <.001).

The results from this study offer a different perspective regarding phishing. Previous research has focused on the user aspect; however, few studies have examined the phisher perspective and the social psychological techniques they are implementing. Additionally, they have yet to look at the success of the social psychology techniques. Results from this study can be used to help to predict future trends and inform training programs, as well as machine learning programs used to identify phishing messages.

2015-10-06
Welk, A., Zielinska, O., Tembe, R., Xe, G., Hong, K. W., Murphy-Hill, E., Mayhorn, C. B..  In Press.  Will the “Phisher-men” Reel you in? Assessing Individual Differences in a Phishing Detection Task International Journal of Cyber Behavior, Psychology, and Learning. .

Phishing is an act of technology-based deception that targets individuals to obtain information. To minimize the number of phishing attacks, factors that influence the ability to identify phishing attempts must be examined. The present study aimed to determine how individual differences relate to performance on a phishing task. Undergraduate students completed a questionnaire designed to assess impulsivity, trust, personality characteristics, and Internet/security habits. Participants performed an email task where they had to discriminate between legitimate emails and phishing attempts. Researchers assessed performance in terms of correctly identifying all email types (overall accuracy) as well as accuracy in identifying phishing emails (phishing accuracy). Results indicated that overall and phishing accuracy each possessed unique trust, personality, and impulsivity predictors, but shared one significant behavioral predictor. These results present distinct predictors of phishing susceptibility that should be incorporated in the development of anti-phishing technology and training.

2015-04-30
Algarni, A., Yue Xu, Chan, T..  2014.  Social Engineering in Social Networking Sites: The Art of Impersonation. Services Computing (SCC), 2014 IEEE International Conference on. :797-804.

Social networking sites (SNSs), with their large number of users and large information base, seem to be the perfect breeding ground for exploiting the vulnerabilities of people, who are considered the weakest link in security. Deceiving, persuading, or influencing people to provide information or to perform an action that will benefit the attacker is known as "social engineering." Fraudulent and deceptive people use social engineering traps and tactics through SNSs to trick users into obeying them, accepting threats, and falling victim to various crimes such as phishing, sexual abuse, financial abuse, identity theft, and physical crime. Although organizations, researchers, and practitioners recognize the serious risks of social engineering, there is a severe lack of understanding and control of such threats. This may be partly due to the complexity of human behaviors in approaching, accepting, and failing to recognize social engineering tricks. This research aims to investigate the impact of source characteristics on users' susceptibility to social engineering victimization in SNSs, particularly Facebook. Using grounded theory method, we develop a model that explains what and how source characteristics influence Facebook users to judge the attacker as credible.

Frauenstein, E.D., Von Solms, R..  2014.  Combatting phishing: A holistic human approach. Information Security for South Africa (ISSA), 2014. :1-10.

Phishing continues to remain a lucrative market for cyber criminals, mostly because of the vulnerable human element. Through emails and spoofed-websites, phishers exploit almost any opportunity using major events, considerable financial awards, fake warnings and the trusted reputation of established organizations, as a basis to gain their victims' trust. For many years, humans have often been referred to as the `weakest link' towards protecting information. To gain their victims' trust, phishers continue to use sophisticated looking emails and spoofed websites to trick them, and rely on their victims' lack of knowledge, lax security behavior and organizations' inadequate security measures towards protecting itself and their clients. As such, phishing security controls and vulnerabilities can arguably be classified into three main elements namely human factors (H), organizational aspects (O) and technological controls (T). All three of these elements have the common feature of human involvement and as such, security gaps are inevitable. Each element also functions as both security control and security vulnerability. A holistic framework towards combatting phishing is required whereby the human feature in all three of these elements is enhanced by means of a security education, training and awareness programme. This paper discusses the educational factors required to form part of a holistic framework, addressing the HOT elements as well as the relationships between these elements towards combatting phishing. The development of this framework uses the principles of design science to ensure that it is developed with rigor. Furthermore, this paper reports on the verification of the framework.