CMU develops scam-busting online game

Computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University develop a cutesy online game to teach people how to spot a so-called phishing scam before giving up personal information.

There's no end to scams on the Internet, and it can be hard for anyone to tell the difference between a legitimate and fake Web address. (Can you pick the bogus URL between "www.express.ebay.com" and "www.ebaysale.nl"?)

That's why computer scientists at Carnegie Mellon University developed a cutesy online game to teach people how to spot a so-called phishing scam before giving up personal information like bank account passwords to a rogue operator. The 15-minute game, called Anti-Phishing Phil, features a little fish named Phil that must discern between good and bad Web addresses in order to eat worms and gain points. It was developed at CMU's Usable Privacy and Security (CUPS) Laboratory.

In surveys, CMU reported that after playing, people were better able to identify real and fake sites. "We believe education is essential if people are to avoid being ripped off by these phishing attacks and similar online scams," Lorrie Cranor, director of the CUPS Lab, said in a statement.

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    Stefanie Olsen covers technology and science.

     

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