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Purdue University - Discovery Park
Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security

Ontological Semantic Technology Goes Phishing

Julia M. Taylor, Victor Raskin, and Eugene H. Spafford - Purdue University

Oct 19, 2011

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Abstract

The talk reports on an early stage of on-going research on the application of computational semantic techniques to detect phishing, i. e., mass mailings intended to sweep up personal details for later malicious use by the phishers themselves or their potential customers. Our personal experience as targets of phishing has shown that the texts are getting increasingly polished, plausible, and sophisticated, often making it difficult even for humans to tell phishing from bona fide, if unadvised messages.

In this talk, we will demonstrate, on a few examples, how Ontological Semantic Technology can help to achieve machine natural language understanding that allows the computer to match and, augmented by the best existing technologies, possibly exceed human ability to detect the meaning-based clues pointing to phishing and to reason accordingly. We will also discuss the problem of automatic phishing detection and share our thoughts on applying the most feasible and promising techniques on a large corpus of phishing emails.

About the Speaker

Dr. Julia M. Taylor has been associated with CERIAS since 2008, first as a Visiting Scholar while working full-time on implementing OST at a start-up and, since August 2011, as a Research Assistant Professor. She earned her Ph.D. in CSE from the University of Cincinnati in 2008, following the MS in 2004 and BS in CS and BA in MATH in 1999. She has published widely on various aspect of NLU, including pioneering work on computational humor detection as well as fuzzy logic and, most recently, NL IAS.

Dr. Victor Raskin, Distinguished Professor of English and Linguistics (with a courtesy appointment in CS), has been a member of the CERIAS Internal Advisory Board since its inception and Associate Director for Graduate Education since 2002. He earned all of his degrees in Mathematical and Computational Linguistics from the Lomonosov Moscow State University in 1970, 1966, and 1964, respectively. Prior to joining Purdue in 1978, he had taught at his alma mater, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University. He has published intensely on natural language semantics and its formal and computational applications.

Dr. Eugene H. Spafford, Professor of Computer Sciences, is the CERIAS founder and Executive Director. He earned his BA in CS and MATH from SUNY at Brockport in 1979 and his MS and Ph.D. in Information and CS from GA Tech in 1981 and 1986, respectively. At Purdue since 1986, he has done work much of which is at the foundation of current security practice, including intrusion detection, firewalls, and whitelisting. His most recent work has been in cyber security policy, forensics, and future threats. A Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, (ICS)^2, and a Distinguished Fellow of the ISSA. he is also the current chair of the Public Policy Council of ACM (USACM) and editor-in-chief of the journal Computers & Security.

Unless otherwise noted, the security seminar is held on Wednesdays at 4:30P.M. STEW G52, West Lafayette Campus. More information...

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