Peek-a-boo, I Can See You, Forger: Influences of Human Demographics, Brand Familiarity and Security Backgrounds on Homograph Recognition

by   Tran Phuong Thao, et al.

Homograph attack is a way that attackers deceive victims about which domain they are communicating with by exploiting the fact that many characters look alike. The attack becomes serious and is raising broad attention when recently many brand domains have been attacked such as Apple Inc., Adobe Inc., Lloyds Bank, etc. We first design a survey of human demographics, brand familiarity, and security backgrounds and apply it to 2,067 participants. We build a regression model to study which actors affect participants' ability in recognizing homograph domains. We then find that participants exhibit different ability for different kinds of homographs. For instance, female participants tend to be able to recognize homographs while male participants tend to be able to recognize non-homographs. Furthermore, 16.59 homographs whose visual similarity with the target brand domains is under 99.9 participants who can recognize homographs drops down significantly to merely 0.19 for the participants to recognize. We also find that people working or educated in computer science or computer engineering are the ones who tend to exhibit the best ability to recognize all kinds of homographs and non-homographs. Surprisingly to us, brand familiarity does not influcence the ability in either homographs or non-homographs. Stated differently, people who frequently use the brand domains but do not have enough knowledge are still easy to fall in vulnerabilities.


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