NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Professors Win Grant to Study Phishing Attacks

Internet users have long been warned about phishing scams, in which criminals indiscriminately send out mass emails to trick consumers into revealing sensitive personal data like social security and credit card numbers. Two faculty members at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering—Associate Professor Oded Nov of the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering Department of Technology Management and Innovation and Professor Nasir Memon, head of the school’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering—won a National Science Foundation grant of $203,648 to study ways to address the threat.

Using experiments employing realistic phishing attacks, they are examining the psychological, educational, and technical factors that contribute to potential victims’ vulnerability and response to attacks, as well as their ability to detect deception.

The researchers anticipate the cross-disciplinary project will enable them to identify the underlying factors for the success of various phishing attack strategies, develop new cyber-defenses tailored to users' idiosyncratic characteristics, and validate the usefulness of targeted defense in multi-organizational, real-world settings.

The School of Engineering is home to NYU’s The Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Security and Privacy (CRISSP), which focuses on new approaches to security and privacy that recognize that technology alone cannot provide complete solutions. CRISSP includes faculty and students of the Stern Business School, Wagner School of Policy, and Courant Institute. A National Science Foundation grant funds approximately 24 doctoral students. CRISSP is supported by a team of 20 researchers.