Social Driven Vulnerability Assessment (SDVA) against phishing

Artificial Intelligence Phishing

Code: DAP/20-07


Funding: Defence Funded Research

Start: March 2020

End: March 2024

The predominant approach for performing an "Advanced Persistent Threat" (APT)-type attack against high-profile target organizations is through attacking an innocent internal user, that is used as a pivot point for getting a foothold inside the target network, and then performing lateral movement towards other internal resources that can provide a persistent access or are of higher value to the attacker.

Organizations with a certain cyber-security maturity level nowadays have awareness trainings as a standard part of their cyber-security management approach. As a result the internal computer users will typically have at least a minimal cyber-awareness level and will not fall for the most obvious phishing traps.

That is why attackers are moving towards evermore sophisticated spear-pishing attacks that use specifically crafted emails, as well as to modern social media channels such as Instagram direct messages, etc. We therefore need to constantly improve the cybersecurity knowledge, skills and aptitudes of our internal users so they resist to these attacks and continue to be a part of the solution rather than becoming a part of the problem.

As a contribution to this constant scaling up of the cyber awareness level of our internal users, we will develop in this project a "Social Driven Vulnerability Assessment" (SDVA) toolkit, that will allow us to evaluate to what extent our corporate users are vulnerable to targeted spear-phishing attacks, and will allow them to improve their defensive posture by receiving informative feed-back when they happened to be tricked by a specific phishing test.

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