An Adversarial Attack Analysis on Malicious Advertisement URL Detection Framework

Ehsan Nowroozi, Abhishek, Mohammadreza Mohammadi, Mauro Conti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Malicious advertisement URLs pose a security risk since they are the source of cyber-attacks, and the need to address this issue is growing in both industry and academia. Several attempts have been made in recent years for malicious URL detection using machine learning (ML). The most widely used techniques extract linguistic features of URL string to extract features like bag-of-words (BoW) before applying ML model. Existing malicious URL detection techniques require effective manual feature engineering that can handle unseen features and generalise to test data. In this study, we extract a novel set of lexical and web-scrapped features and employ ML techniques for fraudulent advertisement URL detection. The combination set of six different kinds of features precisely overcomes the obfuscation in fraudulent URL classification. Based on distinct statistical properties, we use twelve differently formatted datasets for detection, prediction and classification task. We extend our prediction analysis for mismatched and unlabelled datasets. For this framework, we analyze the performance of four ML techniques: Random Forest, Gradient Boost, XGBoost and AdaBoost in the detection part. With our proposed method, we achieve a false negative rate up to 0.0037 while maintaining high detection accuracy of 99.63%. Moreover, we employ an unsupervised learning technique for data clustering using the K-Means algorithm for the visual analysis. This paper analyses the vulnerability of decision tree-based models using the limited knowledge attack scenario. We considered the exploratory attack during the test phase and implemented Zeroth Order Optimization adversarial attack on the detection models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1332-1344
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • adversarial attack
  • classification
  • clustering
  • cybersecurity
  • machine learning
  • Malicious advertisement URL
  • web-scrapped features


Dive into the research topics of 'An Adversarial Attack Analysis on Malicious Advertisement URL Detection Framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this