Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent: 2016 saw more phishing attacks than any previous year on record according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group. At the same time, the growing level of sophistication of cybercriminals must be understood for the development of effective anti-phishing systems, as phishers have extensive control over the content they serve to their victims. By examining two large, real-world datasets of phishing kits and URLs from 2016 through mid-2017, we paint a clear picture of today's anti-phishing ecosystem while inferring the higher-level motives and thought processes of phishers. We analyze the nature of server-side.htaccess filtering techniques used by phishers to evade detection by the security community. We also propose a new generic classification scheme for phishing URLs which corresponds to modern social engineering techniques and reveals a correlation between URL type and compromised infrastructure use. Our analysis identifies measures that can be taken by the security community to defeat phishers' countermeasures and increase the likelihood of a timely response to phishing. We discover that phishers have a keen awareness of the infrastructure used against them, which illustrates the ever-evolving struggle between cybercriminals and security researchers and motivates future work to positively impact online security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 APWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research, eCrime 2018
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781538649220
StatePublished - Jun 8 2018
Event2018 APWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research, eCrime 2018 - San Diego, United States
Duration: May 15 2018May 17 2018

Publication series

NameeCrime Researchers Summit, eCrime
ISSN (Print)2159-1237
ISSN (Electronic)2159-1245


Other2018 APWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research, eCrime 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management


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