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Visual Similarity-Based Phishing Detection

posted Mar 14, 2012, 5:17 AM by Eric Medvet   [ updated Dec 13, 2012, 8:01 AM ]

  • 4th International Conference on Security and Privacy in Comminication Networks (SecureComm), 2008, Istanbul (Turkey)
  • Eric Medvet, Engin Kirda, Christopher Kruegel
  • Google Scholar
Phishing is a form of online fraud that aims to steal a user’s sensitive information, such as online banking passwords or credit card numbers. The victim is tricked into entering such information on a web page that is crafted by the attacker so that it mimics a legitimate page. Recent statistics about the increasing number of phishing attacks suggest that this security problem still deserves significant attention.
In this paper, we present a novel technique to visually compare a suspected phishing page with the legitimate one. The goal is to determine whether the two pages are suspiciously similar. We identify and consider three page features that play a key role in making a phishing page look similar to a legitimate one. These features are text pieces and their style, images embedded in the page, and the overall visual appearance of the page as rendered by the browser.
To verify the feasibility of our approach, we performed an experimental evaluation using a dataset composed of 41 realworld phishing pages, along with their corresponding legitimate targets. Our experimental results are satisfactory in terms of false positives and false negatives.

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