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Teaching Johnny not to Fall for Phish, at APWG CeCOS 2009

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An overview of our group's work on teaching people not to fall for phishing attacks, using simulated phish. The summary is that simulated phish work surprisingly well, in terms of learning and retention.

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Teaching Johnny not to Fall for Phish, at APWG CeCOS 2009

  1. 1. Jason Hong Carnegie Mellon University Wombat Security Technologies Teaching Johnny Not to Fall for Phish
  2. 2. What are Effective Ways of Teaching People not to Fall for Phish?
  3. 3. PhishGuru Embedded Training • Use embedded training to teach people how to avoid phishing in regular use of email – People get simulated phishing email from good guys – Teach how to protect self in engaging format – Applies learning science for training • Motivating users – “teachable moment” • Started as research at CMU, product by Wombat Security Technologies
  4. 4. Subject: Revision to Your Amazon.com InformationSubject: Revision to Your Amazon.com Information
  5. 5. Subject: Revision to Your Amazon.com InformationSubject: Revision to Your Amazon.com Information Please login and enter your informationPlease login and enter your information http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/sign-in.htmlhttp://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/sign-in.html
  6. 6. Tells people why they are seeing this message, uses engaging character Tells people why they are seeing this message, uses engaging character
  7. 7. Tells a story about what happened and what the risks are Tells a story about what happened and what the risks are
  8. 8. Gives concrete examples of how to protect oneself Gives concrete examples of how to protect oneself
  9. 9. Explains how criminals conduct phishing attacks Explains how criminals conduct phishing attacks
  10. 10. Series of User Studies Studies Results Lab study I • Security notices are ineffective • Users educated with PhishGuru made better decisions Lab study II • Users in embedded condition retain and transfer knowledge more effectively than other conditions even after 7 days Real-world study I • PhishGuru is effective in training people in the real world • Trained participants retained knowledge after 7 days of training Real-world study II • People trained with PhishGuru were less likely to click on phishing links than those not trained • People retained their training for 28 days • Two training messages are better than one • PhishGuru training does not make people less likely to click on legitimate links
  11. 11. First lab study results • Are security notices effective? – Ineffective for training • Is embedded training effective? – Embedded training condition made better decisions than those sent security notices Kumaraguru, P., Rhee, Y., Acquisti, A., Cranor, L. F., Hong, J., and Nunge, E. Protecting people from phishing: the design and evaluation of an embedded training email system. CHI ’07, pp. 905- 914.
  12. 12. Second lab study results • Can people retain what they learned? – Users educated with PhishGuru retained knowledge after seven days • Do people have to fall for phish? – Users trained with embedded did better than users trained with non-embedded Kumaraguru, P., Rhee, Y., Sheng, S., Hasan, S., Acquisti, A., Cranor, L. F., and Hong, J. Getting users to pay attention to anti-phishing education: Evaluation of retention and transfer. e-Crime Researchers Summit, Anti-Phishing Working Group (2007).
  13. 13. Real world study: Portuguese ISP • Does PhishGuru training extend to real world? – Did reduce rate of falling for phishing – Trained participants retained knowledge after 7 days of training – Don’t have to train all people in organization Kumaraguru, P., Sheng, S., Acquisti, A., Cranor, L. F., and Hong, J. Lessons from a real world evaluation of anti-phishing training. e-Crime Researchers Summit, 2008
  14. 14. Real world study: CMU • Replicate previous study at larger scale • Investigate retention after 1 week, 2 weeks, and 4 weeks • Compare effectiveness of 2 training messages vs 1 training message • Examine demographics and phishing P. Kumaraguru, J. Cranshaw, A. Acquisti, L. Cranor, J. Hong, M. A. Blair, and T. Pham. School of Phish: A Real-World Evaluation of Anti-Phishing Training. 2009. SOUPS 2009.
  15. 15. Study design • Sent email to all CMU students, faculty and staff to recruit participants (opt-in) • 515 participants in three conditions – Control / One training message / Two messages • Emails sent over 28 day period – 7 simulated spear-phishing messages – 3 legitimate (cyber security scavenger hunt) • Campus help desks and all spoofed departments notified before messages sent
  16. 16. Our Simulated Spear Phish URL is not hiddenURL is not hidden Plain text email without graphics Plain text email without graphics
  17. 17. Our Simulated Phishing Website http://andrewwebmail.org/password/change.htm?ID=9009http://andrewwebmail.org/password/change.htm?ID=9009
  18. 18. Our Simulated Phishing Website http://andrewwebmail.org/password/thankyou.html?ID=9009http://andrewwebmail.org/password/thankyou.html?ID=9009
  19. 19. Effect of PhishGuru Training Condition N % who clicked on Day 0 % who clicked on Day 28 Control 172 52.3 44.2 Trained 343 48.4 24.5
  20. 20. Results conditioned on participants who clicked on day 0 TestTest
  21. 21. Results conditioned on participants who clicked on day 0 Trained participants less likely to fall for phish Trained participants less likely to fall for phish Trained participants remember what they learned 28 days later Trained participants remember what they learned 28 days later Test + train Test + train TestsTests TestsTests
  22. 22. Results conditioned on participants who clicked on day 0 and day 14 Two-train participants less likely than one-train participants to click on days 16 and 21 Two-train participants less likely than one-train participants to click on days 16 and 21
  23. 23. Results conditioned on participants who clicked on day 0 and day 14 Two-train participants less likely than one-train participants to click on days 16 and 21 Two-train participants less likely than one-train participants to click on days 16 and 21 Two-train participants less likely than one-train participants to provide information on day 28 Two-train participants less likely than one-train participants to provide information on day 28
  24. 24. Does PhishGuru Affect Clicking on Legitimate Emails? Condition N Day 0 Day 7 Day 28 Clicked % Clicked % Clicked % Control 90 50.0 41.1 38.9 One-train 89 39.3 42.7 32.3 Two-train 77 48.1 44.2 35.1 For Cyber Security Scavenger Hunt No difference between the three conditions on days 7 and 28 For Cyber Security Scavenger Hunt No difference between the three conditions on days 7 and 28
  25. 25. Students Most Vulnerable • Students significantly more likely to fall for phish than staff before training • No significant differences based on student year, department, or gender • 18-25 age group most vulnerable Age group Day 0 Day 28 18-25 62% 36% 26-35 48% 16% 36-45 33% 18% 45 and older 43% 10%
  26. 26. Most Participants Liked PhishGuru, Wanted More • 280 post study responses • 80% recommended that CMU continue PhishGuru training – “I really liked the idea of sending CMU students fake phishing emails and then saying to them, essentially, HEY! You could've just gotten scammed! You should be more careful - here's how....” – “I think the idea of using something fun, like a cartoon, to teach people about a serious subject is awesome!”
  27. 27. Summary • People trained with PhishGuru far less likely to click on phishing links than not trained • People retained training for 28 days • Two training messages better than one • PhishGuru training does not make people less likely to click on legitimate links
  28. 28. For More Information • Forthcoming SOUPS 2009 paper • White paper on Wombat Security web site • PhishGuru commercialized by Wombat Security
  29. 29. Acknowledgments • Supporting Trust Decisions group • CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Lab • CMU’s Information Security Office • APWG • Supported by National Science Foundation, Army Research Office, CyLab, ISP in Portugal
  30. 30. Study schedule Day of the study Control One training message Two training messages Day 0 Test and real Train and real Train and real Day 2 Test Day 7 Test and real Day 14 Test Test Train Day 16 Test Day 21 Test Day 28 Test and real Day 35 Post-study survey
  31. 31. Why is Teaching People Hard?
  32. 32. Why is Teaching People Hard? • Problems – Existing materials good, but could be better • Not many opportunities for testing skills – Most people don’t proactively look for security training materials – “Security notice” emails tend to be ignored • Too much to read • People don’t consider them relevant
  33. 33. Legitimate emails No difference between the three conditions on day 0, 7, and 28 No difference between the three conditions on day 0, 7, and 28 No difference within the three conditions for the three emails No difference within the three conditions for the three emails Condition N Day 0 Day 7 Day 28 Clicked % Clicked % Clicked % Control 90 50.0 41.1 38.9 One-train 89 39.3 42.7 32.3 Two-train 77 48.1 44.2 35.1

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