Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

Phishers' Catch: Better Than Expected

A new study from the University of Indiana indicates that phishers are more successful at catching users than most industry estimates suggest

Phishing yields a better "catch" than most people think, according to researchers at the University of Indiana.

In a newly-published research paper, Indiana professors Markus Jacobsson and Jacob Ratkiewicz tried several new vectors on phishing experiments and elicited responses from as many as 19 percent of their test subjects. Previous estimates had put the population of phishing victims at around 5 to 10 percent.

"The statistics may severely underestimate the real costs and number of victims," the researchers said, "both due to the stigma associated with being tricked, and to the fact that many victims may not be aware yet that they were successfully targeted."

In their study, the Indiana professors tried a variety of different attack vectors, including messages that looked like they came directly from a trusted site, as well as messages that were forwarded from spoofed email addresses. They tried sending messages with a variety of subject lines, as well as a variety of information about the sender.

Ironically, the experimental messages with no sender name achieved the greatest success, fooling some 19 percent of the test subjects into clicking on a link. The victims all went against the policies of the test site, which stipulates that all senders must include a name.

The researchers also achieved a 15 percent response when they included a valid user name and a seemingly legitimate link. The response fell off when the researchers added links that appeared to be malicious, but in all cases, they managed to fool at least 7 percent of users.

"Our study finds that a single attack may have a success rate as high as 11 percent realized in only 24 hours," the researchers said. The study has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Stop Defending Everything
Kevin Kurzawa, Senior Information Security Auditor,  2/12/2020
Small Business Security: 5 Tips on How and Where to Start
Mike Puglia, Chief Strategy Officer at Kaseya,  2/13/2020
Architectural Analysis IDs 78 Specific Risks in Machine-Learning Systems
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  2/13/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-9007
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-16
Codoforum 4.8.8 allows self-XSS via the title of a new topic.
CVE-2020-9012
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-16
A cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Import People functionality in Gluu Identity Configuration 4.0 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the filename parameter.
CVE-2019-20456
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-16
Goverlan Reach Console before 9.50, Goverlan Reach Server before 3.50, and Goverlan Client Agent before 9.20.50 have an Untrusted Search Path that leads to Command Injection and Local Privilege Escalation via DLL hijacking.
CVE-2020-8996
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-16
AnyShare Cloud 6.0.9 allows authenticated directory traversal to read files, as demonstrated by the interface/downloadwithpath/downloadfile/?filepath=/etc/passwd URI.
CVE-2020-8997
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-16
Abbott FreeStyle Libre 14-day before February 2020 and FreeStyle Libre 2 before February 2020 allow remote attackers to enable write access via a specific NFC unlock command.