User experiences of TORPEDO: TOoltip-poweRed Phishing Email DetectiOn

Melanie Volkamer*, Karen Renaud, Benjamin Reinheimer, Alexandra Kunz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


We propose a concept called TORPEDO to improve phish detection by providing just-in-time and just-in-place trustworthy tooltips. These help people to identify phish links embedded in emails. TORPEDO's tooltips contain the actual URL with the domain highlighted. Link activation is delayed for a short period, giving the person time to inspect the URL before they click on a link. Furthermore, TORPEDO provides an information diagram to explain phish detection. We evaluated TORPEDO's effectiveness, as compared to the worst case “status bar” as provided by other Web email interfaces. People using TORPEDO performed significantly better in detecting phishes and identifying legitimate emails (85.17% versus 43.31% correct answers for phish). We then carried out a field study with a number of TORPEDO users to explore actual user experiences of TORPEDO. We conclude the paper by reporting on the outcome of this field study and suggest improvements based on the feedback from the field study participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-113
Number of pages14
JournalComputers and Security
Early online date10 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Phishing detection
  • Email
  • Thunderbird
  • Usable security
  • Tooltips
  • User studies


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