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Why Phishing Your Own Employees is Good Cybersecurity Practice

In today’s digital landscape, the threat of phishing attacks looms larger than ever. Cybercriminals continually evolve their tactics, making it crucial for businesses to keep their employees well-informed of the risks. Implementing phishing testing and training programs can significantly bolster your company’s defenses and keep everyone on alert for the inevitable attack. Let’s dive into the importance of these measures, how to conduct a phishing test and actions to further protect your business.

Defining Phishing

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and personal identifiable information (PII) by posing as a trustworthy source. These attacks often come in the form of emails, chat/text messages or websites that appear legitimate but are designed to steal personal information or deploy malicious software.

The Importance of Phishing Testing and Training

Regular testing and training sessions are essential to keep employees aware of the latest phishing tactics. These practices not only reduce the likelihood of successful attacks but also enhance overall security awareness for every employee. Insights gained from these tests are invaluable for refining your overall cybersecurity measures. By identifying vulnerabilities through phishing tests, companies can pinpoint which employees are more susceptible to scams and provide them with targeted training to help them better protect themselves and company data.

How a Phishing Test is Conducted

It is crucial to plan a phishing test by identifying the scope of employees to be tested, the type of phishing emails to be used and the metrics for success. Before deploying the test, you should also have a remediation and training plan in place for users that may have fallen victim to the test attack.

Template emails can be used to best match your company’s tone and natural workflow of services. These emails could include urgent requests for information, fake links or mimic known contacts. Once the email is prepared, it is sent to the selected group of employees without warning. Over multiple intervals of time, such as one hour or one day, you can monitor and analyze their responses and actions on the email. Common metrics include how many employees open the email, click on links or provide the information requested in the simulated attack. At the conclusion of the email phishing campaign, this data is compiled to identify patterns and individual vulnerabilities.

The final step is to provide feedback and training based on the test results, helping employees learn from their mistakes and better recognize phishing attempts in the future. Phishing tests should be viewed as giving people more tools to confidently report spam and not fall for scams, rather than pointing fingers for wrongdoing.

Utilizing a service specialized in testing and training can help facilitate a smoother deployment of the messages and assist in the organization of results.

AI is Changing Phishing Attacks

Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a significant role in phishing attacks. AI can help cybercriminals create more sophisticated phishing scams. The AI software can enhance social engineering techniques by gathering and utilizing information from social media and other sources to create more believable scams. Culling through copious amounts of public company data to craft highly personalized phishing emails makes them more convincing. Emails are then designed that bypass traditional email security filters because the language used appears to be familiar daily discussions.

Since a high volume of contacts increases the likelihood of finding a successful target, automated phishing kits enabled by AI are being used to allow attackers to target numerous individuals simultaneously with minimal effort. Deepfake technology, another AI advancement, can generate audio that may impersonate executives, tricking employees into divulging sensitive information. The AI of today is the worst it will ever be as this technology will continue to grow and be more refined over time, but there will always be a new threat and employees should be kept up to date on those threats.

Proactive Action is a Worthy Investment

Phishing attacks are an ever-present threat, but with proactive measures such as phishing testing and training, company owners can significantly reduce the risk. Staying informed about evolving phishing techniques and leveraging advanced technologies for defense helps businesses protect their sensitive information and maintain robust cybersecurity protocols. Prioritizing and investing in your employees’ education heavily outweighs the danger of data breaches, reputation damage and missing funds due to attacks.

Category: Cybersecurity
Last Updated: On July 03, 2024