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Spot the phish by checking the pruned URL

Volkamer, Melanie and Renaud, Karen and Gerber, Paul (2016):
Spot the phish by checking the pruned URL.
In: Information and Computer Security, pp. 372-385, 24, (4), DOI: 10.1108/ICS-07-2015-0032, [Article]

Abstract

Purpose Phishing is still a very popular and effective security threat and it takes, on average, more than a day to detect new Phish websites. Protection by purely technical means is hampered by this vulnerability window. During this window users need to act to protect themselves. To support users in doing so, we propose to first make users aware of the need to consult the address bar. Moreover, we propose to prune URL displayed in the address bar. We report on an evaluation of this proposal. Design/methodology/approach The paper opted for an online study with 411 participants, judging 16 websites - all with authentic design: half with legitimate and half with Phish URLs. We applied four popular widely-used types of URL manipulation techniques. We conducted a within-subject and between-subject study with participants randomly assigned to one of two groups (domain highlighting or pruning). We tested both proposals a repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). Findings Our analysis shows a significant improvement in terms of Phish detection after providing the hint to check the address bar. Furthermore, our analysis shows a significant improvement in terms of Phish detection after the hint to check the address bar for uninitiated participants in the pruning group, as compared to those in the highlighting group. Research limitations/implications Because of the chosen research approach, the research results may lack generalisability. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to test the proposed propositions further. Practical implications This paper confirms the efficacy of URL pruning and of prompting users to consult the address bar for Phish detection. Originality/value This paper confirms the efficacy of URL pruning and of prompting users to consult the address bar for Phish detection.

Item Type: Article
Erschienen: 2016
Creators: Volkamer, Melanie and Renaud, Karen and Gerber, Paul
Title: Spot the phish by checking the pruned URL
Language: English
Abstract:

Purpose Phishing is still a very popular and effective security threat and it takes, on average, more than a day to detect new Phish websites. Protection by purely technical means is hampered by this vulnerability window. During this window users need to act to protect themselves. To support users in doing so, we propose to first make users aware of the need to consult the address bar. Moreover, we propose to prune URL displayed in the address bar. We report on an evaluation of this proposal. Design/methodology/approach The paper opted for an online study with 411 participants, judging 16 websites - all with authentic design: half with legitimate and half with Phish URLs. We applied four popular widely-used types of URL manipulation techniques. We conducted a within-subject and between-subject study with participants randomly assigned to one of two groups (domain highlighting or pruning). We tested both proposals a repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). Findings Our analysis shows a significant improvement in terms of Phish detection after providing the hint to check the address bar. Furthermore, our analysis shows a significant improvement in terms of Phish detection after the hint to check the address bar for uninitiated participants in the pruning group, as compared to those in the highlighting group. Research limitations/implications Because of the chosen research approach, the research results may lack generalisability. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to test the proposed propositions further. Practical implications This paper confirms the efficacy of URL pruning and of prompting users to consult the address bar for Phish detection. Originality/value This paper confirms the efficacy of URL pruning and of prompting users to consult the address bar for Phish detection.

Journal or Publication Title: Information and Computer Security
Volume: 24
Number: 4
Uncontrolled Keywords: Security, Usability and Society;Secure Data
Divisions: 20 Department of Computer Science > SECUSO - Security, Usability and Society
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren > CASED – Center for Advanced Security Research Darmstadt
20 Department of Computer Science > Theoretical Computer Science - Cryptography and Computer Algebra
Profile Areas > Cybersecurity (CYSEC)
LOEWE > LOEWE-Zentren
20 Department of Computer Science
Profile Areas
LOEWE
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2016 08:41
DOI: 10.1108/ICS-07-2015-0032
Identification Number: TUD-CS-2016-14684
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