Award No: 0348940
Project Title: CAREER:  Scalable Search Engines via Adaptive Topic-driven Crawlers
Investigator: Filippo Menczer
Institution: Indiana University, Bloomington
Description of Graphic Image: Social phishing experiment: subjects received a simulated phishing attack from either a known person or (as a control) an unknown person. Information about known persons was mined by crawling the Web.
Project Description and Outcome
Tools: N/A.
Ideas: N/A.
People:  As part of the teaching component of this CAREER project, the PI leads a graduate seminar on Web Mining at Indiana University. As a course requirement, pairs of students develop a semester-long project applying Web crawling and mining techniques covered in the course to some application. One team carried out a context-aware phishing experiment to explore the potential dangers of attacks that exploit personal information freely available on the Web.  The study revealed that Internet users are over four times more likely to become victims if they are solicited by someone appearing to be a known acquaintance. The yield of the attack was an astounding 72%.
The results in this study, to appear in Communications of the ACM (in press), the implications of the carrying out ethical experiments of this type, and the educational value of the findings have been presented in a SOUPS panel at CMU in 2005 and a successive talk at the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. The work was also featured on Slashdot,   WTIU (local news), and three times in the Indiana Daily Student, including twice on the first page (26 and 28 April 2005).