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
The Cold Truth about Cyber Insurance
Chris Kennedy, CISO & VP Customer Success, AttackIQ,  11/7/2019
6 Small-Business Password Managers
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  11/8/2019
Black Hat Q&A: Hacking a '90s Sports Car
Black Hat Staff, ,  11/7/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprise
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprise
Security leaders are struggling to understand their organizations risk exposure. While many are confident in their security strategies and processes, theyre also more concerned than ever about getting breached. Download this report today and get insights on how today's enterprises assess and perceive the risks they face in 2019!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18862
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-11
maidag in GNU Mailutils before 3.8 is installed setuid and allows local privilege escalation in the url mode.
CVE-2019-18853
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-11
ImageMagick before 7.0.9-0 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service because XML_PARSE_HUGE is not properly restricted in coders/svg.c, related to SVG and libxml2.
CVE-2019-18854
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-11
A Denial Of Service vulnerability exists in the safe-svg (aka Safe SVG) plugin through 1.9.4 for WordPress, related to unlimited recursion for a '<use ... xlink:href="#identifier">' substring.
CVE-2019-18855
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-11
A Denial Of Service vulnerability exists in the safe-svg (aka Safe SVG) plugin through 1.9.4 for WordPress, related to potentially unwanted elements or attributes.
CVE-2019-18856
PUBLISHED: 2019-11-11
A Denial Of Service vulnerability exists in the SVG Sanitizer module through 8.x-1.0-alpha1 for Drupal because access to external resources with an SVG use element is mishandled.