CLX Phishing Detection Using cyBERT

This is an introduction to CLX Phishing Detection.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is a method used by fraudsters/hackers to obtain sensitive information from email users by pretending to be from legitimate institutions/people. Various machine learning methods are in use to detect and filter phishing/spam emails. In this we show how to train a *BERT language model and analyse the performance. We have fine-tuned a pre-trained BERT model with a classification layer using HuggingFace library. *BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. The paper can be found here.

How to train a Phishing Detection model

To train a CLX Phishing Detection model you simply need a training dataset which contains a column of email content and their associated label which can be either 1 (malicious) or 0 (benign).

First initialize your new model

from import SequenceClassifier;

seq_classifier = SequenceClassifier()
Some weights of the model checkpoint at bert-base-uncased were not used when initializing BertForSequenceClassification: ['cls.predictions.bias', 'cls.predictions.transform.dense.weight', 'cls.predictions.transform.dense.bias', 'cls.predictions.decoder.weight', 'cls.seq_relationship.weight', 'cls.seq_relationship.bias', 'cls.predictions.transform.LayerNorm.weight', 'cls.predictions.transform.LayerNorm.bias']
- This IS expected if you are initializing BertForSequenceClassification from the checkpoint of a model trained on another task or with another architecture (e.g. initializing a BertForSequenceClassification model from a BertForPreTraining model).
- This IS NOT expected if you are initializing BertForSequenceClassification from the checkpoint of a model that you expect to be exactly identical (initializing a BertForSequenceClassification model from a BertForSequenceClassification model).
Some weights of BertForSequenceClassification were not initialized from the model checkpoint at bert-base-uncased and are newly initialized: ['classifier.weight', 'classifier.bias']
You should probably TRAIN this model on a down-stream task to be able to use it for predictions and inference.

Next, train your Phishing detector. The below example uses a small dataset for demonstration only. Ideally you will want a larger training set.

import cudf

df = cudf.DataFrame()
df["email"] = [
    "Dave =96 for IP if you wish. An arrested click-fraudster who claimed to=20==20make $30k a month via Google click-fraud is now freed because of a=20=20possible lack of cooperation from Google. RajakumarVictrio are subscribed as R@MTo manage your subscription, go to",
    "over. SidLet me know. Thx.",
    "DR.SOLOMON AZEEZ FEDERAL MINISTRY OF PETROLUEM RESOURCES(F.M.P.R) LAGOS NIGERIA. ATTN:SIR, REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE- STRICTLYCONFIDENTIAL I am Dr SOLOMON AZEEZ, an accountant in the Ministry of petroleum Resources (MPR) and a member of a three-man Tender Board in charge of contract review and payment approvals. I came to know of you in my search for a reliable person to handle a very confidential transaction that involves the transfer of a huge sum of money to a foreign account. It may sound strange but exercise patience and read on. There were series of contracts executed by a consortium ",
    "Not a surprising assessment from Embassy.",
    "Monica -Huma Abedin <>Tuesday June 29 2010 6:01 AM''; HRe:is already is locked for tonite. I am seeing her right before actually.",
    "Pis print.H <>Thursday October 8 2009 8:01 PM''Fw: WHI - powder coatingB6",
    "Best regards, Ron Sinclear.",
df["label"] = [1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0]

Split the dataset into training and test sets

from cuml import train_test_split
X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(df, 'label', train_size=0.8)
seq_classifier.train_model(X_train["email"], y_train, epochs=1)
Epoch: 100%|██████████| 1/1 [00:00<00:00,  2.43it/s]
Train loss: 0.6887914538383484
Validation Accuracy: 0.5
seq_classifier.evaluate_model(X_test["email"], y_test)

Ideally, you will want to train your model over a number of epochs as detailed in our example Phishing Detection notebook.

Save a trained model checkpoint


Save a trained model


Load a model

Let’s create a new phishing detector instance from the saved checkpoint.

phishing_detector = SequenceClassifier()

Let’s create a new phishing detector instance from the saved model.

phishing_detector2 = SequenceClassifier()

PD Inferencing

Use your new model to predict phishing emails

infer_df = cudf.DataFrame()
infer_df["email"] = ["Best regards, Ron Sinclear.","over. SidLet me know. Thx."]

(0    1
 1    1
 dtype: uint8,
 0    0.510419
 1    0.508981
 dtype: float32)


This example shows that using a BERT-based phishing detector performs well in identifying the spam emails across these datasets. Users can experiment with other datasets, increase the coverage and change the number of epochs to fine-tune the results on their datasets. It is also an example of how CLX can be used with huggingface and other libraries to create custom solutions.