Phishing and pharming and fraud, oh my! Sleuthing the cyber swindlers

November 29, 2006
Phishing and pharming and fraud, oh my! Sleuthing the cyber swindlers

Technology has transformed the Internet into an accessible and speedy superhighway, yet it also has paved slick paths for crooks to prey upon innocent online travelers.

That's the focus of Phishing and Countermeasures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft (John Wiley & Sons Inc.), a new book written and edited by scientists at the Indiana University School of Informatics. The book -- one of the first of its kind to cover such issues -- explores and explains the sophisticated methods cyber crooks use to steal financial and other personal information from consumers, and conduct corporate and military espionage.

The book describes likely trends in online fraud, and possible countermeasures that can benefit corporations, administrators and developers using the Internet.

The 736-page tome delves into the technology behind phishing, pharming, spam and click-fraud. As the title of the book suggests, the focus is on phishing (using e-mail or instant messages to direct the recipient to a fraudulent Website that appears legitimate), but the coverage goes far beyond the common attacks and countermeasures of today.

"I have been asked by many whether it is ethical to publish a book that may help the bad guys as well as the good guys," said Markus Jakobsson, associate professor, who co-edited the book with Steven Myers, assistant professor. "It's a textbook about cyber crime, its likely trends and what to do to counter it. In many ways the bad guys already have a lead, and it's our goal that Phishing and Countermeasures will help level the playing field for the good guys."

Myers said the book draws from a broad range of disciplines, including computer science, human-computer interaction design, psychology and law, and that it reflects the School of Informatics' goal of advancing research on a global scale.

"Apart from describing phishing in North America, the book addresses phishing scenarios in Germany, China and Japan, as well as other types of cyber attacks in those countries," Myers said.

Among the IU contributors to the book are Distinguished Professor of Law Fred Cate, who is internationally known as an expert in privacy issues and the Internet and directs the IU-based Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research; and Peter Finn, professor of psychological and brain sciences and chair of the Institutional Review Board at IU-Bloomington.

External contributors include computer and network security experts Ron Rivest, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Dan Boneh, Stanford University; and J.D. Tygar, University of California-Berkeley.

"Because there is at least one sucker born every minute, and the Internet puts them all into a huge convenient circus tent, phishing, pharming and other spoofing attacks have risen to the top as the most dangerous computer security risks," said Gary McGraw, chief technology officer of Cigital Inc., and author of Software Security.

"The writers and editors of this book go far beyond the basics of problem exposition, covering solutions, legal status and advanced research," McGraw added. "They help Internet users gird themselves for battle against the identity thieves."

Details about Phishing and Countermeasures: Understanding the Increasing Problem of Electronic Identity Theft, are at .

More information about anti-phishing research activities at Indiana University is at .

Source: Indiana University

Explore further: IT firm baits hackers with online model train set

Related Stories

We need to take responsibility for our own safety online

March 13, 2015

Going online without understanding the basics of how the internet works is like getting behind the wheel without knowing the road rules: you might still get where you're going, but you could be a danger to yourself and those ...

Hacking incidents ignite fears over China

February 2, 2013

A series of brazen cyberattacks on America's most high-profile media outlets has revived concerns over Chinese hackers, who analysts say are likely linked to the secretive Beijing government.

A new kind of pub crawl

August 24, 2012

Web­sites like Face­book, LinkedIn and other social-​​media net­works con­tain mas­sive amounts of valu­able public infor­ma­tion. Auto­mated web tools called web crawlers sift through these sites, pulling out ...

Recommended for you

Internet giants race to faster mobile news apps

October 4, 2015

US tech giants are turning to the news in their competition for mobile users, developing new, faster ways to deliver content, but the benefits for struggling media outlets remain unclear.

Radio frequency 'harvesting' tech unveiled in UK

September 30, 2015

An energy harvesting technology that its developers say will be able to turn ambient radio frequency waves into usable electricity to charge low power devices was unveiled in London on Wednesday.

Professors say US has fallen behind on offshore wind power

September 29, 2015

University of Delaware faculty from the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE), the College of Engineering and the Alfred Lerner School of Business and Economics say that the U.S. has fallen behind in offshore wind ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.