PhishNet: Predictive Blacklisting to Detect Phishing Attacks

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Executive Summary

Phishing has been easy and effective way for trickery and deception on the Internet. While solutions such as URL blacklisting have been effective to some degree, their reliance on exact match with the blacklisted entries makes it easy for attackers to evade. The authors start with the observation that attackers often employ simple modifications (e.g., changing top level domain) to URLs. The system, PhishNet, exploits this observation using two components. In the first component, they propose five heuristics to enumerate simple combinations of known phishing sites to discover new phishing URLs. The second component consists of an approximate matching algorithm that dissects a URL into multiple components that are matched individually against entries in the blacklist.

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