How Effective Is Phishing Awareness Training?

How Effective Is Phishing Awareness Training

Phishing awareness training is a cornerstone of every cybersecurity education program, providing users with knowledge on what phishing attacks are, how to recognize them and what steps to take if one comes their way.

As hackers adopt new techniques, phishing awareness training must also keep pace. An interactive training approach like gamification or adding simulations into user workflow makes learning relevant and engaging.

Identifying Phish Prone Employees

Phishing is an increasingly sophisticated cyberattack that uses deceptive email tactics to coax employees into clicking on malicious links or entering personal data without their knowledge; this method has been at the root of numerous data breaches and ransomware exploits, so organizations must take proactive measures against phishing attacks – one effective solution is using a phishing testing program which identifies employees susceptible to this form of cybercrime.

Phishing tests or simulations, also referred to as phishing simulations, are interactive security exercises in which fake phishing emails are sent out to employees in order to assess their responses and see who might be at greater risk of clicking or providing sensitive data, helping you tailor training programs specifically to their needs.

Phishing awareness training may be conducted through online learning and simulation phishing tests; however, that alone may not suffice. Employees need to undergo active phishing testing and enroll in focused training courses which will enhance both knowledge and vigilance against attacks.

As one would expect, frequent exposure to phishing attacks increases an employee’s chance of falling prey to these scams and becoming victims. A report from cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike indicates this by noting an average response rate of 20% among phishing-prone employees; even among those familiar with such tests.

Enhancing employee phishing awareness requires conducting targeted, realistic phishing tests that are tailored specifically to their employee roles. This enables you to customize security awareness training according to individual user needs and ensure they stay ahead of their game.

Additionally to running regular phishing simulations, organizations should promote a reporting culture which encourages employees to report suspicious emails or incidents immediately. With both components in place, you can greatly decrease the time to compromise for your organization.

Final steps include conducting phishing simulations across your entire organization to raise awareness and prepare against cyber security threats. Customized simulations for high-risk employees such as managers and executives may help identify them quickly so they can receive necessary training.

Identifying High-Risk Employees

While cybersecurity and IT professionals may understand terms like phishing, spear phishing, vishing, whaling and smishing, employees typically lack this level of awareness when it comes to attacks such as phishing. Without this understanding of phishing attacks and its variations in mind, employees become easy targets for cybercriminals who constantly devise new methods of taking advantage of unsuspecting recipients in emails they send out – even multifactor authentication (2FA) does not protect users against phishing as hackers have found ways around these measures as security measures have proven inadequate against attacks in some instances.

To help ensure that your employees can recognize phishing emails, it’s essential that you offer training in multiple topics – such as behavioral tips and attack techniques – which will reduce human error while making it more challenging for cybercriminals to target specific employees with tailored attacks.

Effective phishing awareness training should take the form of short sessions that are interactive and gamification-based, to prevent “information fatigue”. Furthermore, engaging employees by providing real-life scenarios they can apply in their workday is also key for keeping staff interested and safe. Finally, running regular simulation tests is necessary in identifying vulnerable individuals so you can correct their email security habits quickly.

Identifying and responding to phishing threats effectively requires creating an atmosphere of openness within your organization. If an employee falls victim to phishing attacks accidentally, it’s essential they immediately alert security staff so they can contain the threat before it causes financial, operational, or reputational harm to the business.

However, when employees feel embarrassed by a phishing attack they might be less inclined to report future mistakes, leading to a vicious cycle in which employees less frequently report phishing attacks making it more challenging for security teams to safeguard the organization from harm.

By creating a safe environment where employees can openly discuss and learn from their errors, an organization can build a more robust phishing defence system to avoid cyber breaches in the future. Tessian Cloud Email Security intelligently blocks advanced email threats while helping organisations establish smarter security cultures.

Testing Phish Prone Employees

As cyber criminals become more sophisticated, it’s increasingly vital that your awareness program stays current. An undetected phishing attack could compromise the entire network; to guard against this risk, regularly test employees with various phishing techniques – this will teach them to recognise phishing attacks and build their resilience against them.

Keep your team current to create an environment focused on security. When running phishing campaigns, keep testing fresh by including different emails and attachments in each phishing campaign; that way employees always know what to watch out for.

Phishing simulation is a safe and controlled environment where you can test the efficacy of employee training programs, identify those in need of additional instruction, and provide them with necessary resources – helping your organisation become more resistant against real-life phishing attacks which could prove disastrous otherwise.

People working in security, IT or compliance are likely to be familiar with terms like phishing, spear phishing and whaling – forms of social engineering that involve baiting employees into divulging sensitive data – but the average employee might be unfamiliar with these practices and how to spot them. Therefore, it is crucial that companies test employees with different kinds of scams they could face outside the workplace – something many businesses fail to do effectively.

As a company, it’s also critical for senior management to become involved with this process, since they pose the greatest risk of falling prey to phishing attacks. Get them on board by explaining the value of phishing tests in helping reduce cyber attacks; provide ways for them to report suspect phishing attempts immediately via internal communication channels so any issues can be quickly identified and dealt with promptly.

Reward those who perform well in your phishing simulations by offering prizes or awards; this will change their perception from being something tedious and tiring, to something enjoyable. Recognition has been shown to boost engagement and productivity by 14%!

Once you have an accurate assessment of who’s most prone to phishing attacks, the next step should be implementing a remedial program. By combining phishing simulations with an incident response platform and quickly notifying staff when they have failed to recognize a phishing attack quickly enough, remedial training programs should help address repeat offenses by increasing awareness among staff.

Providing Corrective Training

With cyber criminals becoming more sophisticated and the consequences of data breaches worsening, having employees trained to recognize phishing attacks is more essential than ever. But how can you ensure phishing awareness training is effective? In order to do this, it’s necessary to assess its impact and identify high-risk individuals; simulations provide an effective means of doing this; they shouldn’t just serve to scare employees into compliance; instead they should inform employees about potential phishing risks while helping create a security-oriented culture within an organization.

Success of any phishing awareness program lies in its ability to gauge resilience to cyber attacks and threats, something only possible with an effective simulation strategy and analytics engine. Tracking employee behavior data provides essential insights that allow you to expand and optimize your program over time; with this insight in hand you can formulate long-term phishing awareness training strategy aligned with larger organizational goals.

Traditional phishing awareness training was usually administered through classroom sessions led by a cybersecurity awareness instructor, which are time-consuming and costly, since all employees need to attend simultaneously. Furthermore, these sessions often follow an inflexible tick-box approach covering every aspect of phishing awareness regardless of each employee’s level of understanding or job role.

Computer-based phishing awareness training may be less costly and more effective than classroom classes, yet still can be challenging to manage and implement. Particularly challenging can be providing individuals with exactly what they need in terms of customization or personalization for training purposes.

KnowBe4’s Kevin Mitnick Security Awareness Training (KMSAT) makes it easy and effective to deliver customized phishing tests and training programs to each of your end users. KMSAT allows you to assess their level of vulnerability to phishing attacks before sending simulated emails with educational videos in response. In combination with other anti-phishing initiatives, it ensures all employees receive training on how to recognize and report such attacks.

Sam is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.