Chapter Fourteen. Fighting Phishing at the User Interface

Robert C. Miller and Min Wu

AS PEOPLE INCREASINGLY RELY ON THE iNTERNET FOR BUSINESS, PERSONAL FINANCE, AND INVESTMENT, Internet fraud becomes a greater and greater threat. Internet fraud takes many forms, from phony items offered for sale on eBay, to scurrilous rumors that manipulate stock prices, to scams that promise great riches if you will help a foreign financial transaction through your own bank account.

One interesting and fast-growing species of Internet fraud is phishing . Phishing attacks use email messages and web sites designed to look as if they come from a known and legitimate organization, in order to deceive users into disclosing personal, financial, or computer account information. The attacker can then use this information for criminal purposes, such as identity theft, larceny, or fraud. Users are tricked into disclosing their information either by providing it through a web form or by downloading and installing hostile software.

A phishing attack succeeds when a user is tricked into forming an inaccurate mental model of an online interaction and thus takes actions that have effects contrary to the user’s intentions. Because inferring a user’s intentions can be difficult, building an automated system to protect users from phishing attacks is a challenging problem.


Phishing attacks are rapidly increasing in frequency; many are good enough to fool users. According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group ...

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