According to a ProofPoint survey, 83% of organizations experienced email-based phishing attacks in 2021 which is almost 26% increase from 2020. Phishing has become one of the leading causes of data breaches, however, phishing simulation is a technique that can help reduce the cases.
Phishing simulation helps organizations to train their employees to avoid the cyber attacks that can compromise business systems. The attacks might include ransomware, spyware, malware, or phishing, but the simulation works effectively in training the employees against all.
This post will help you know what is phishing simulation, how does phishing simulation work, and why is it important for organizations to introduce this practice.
What Is Phishing and Its Types?
Phishing is a cyber assault in which people are tricked into divulging personal information (such as passwords or credit card details) via bogus emails or websites. The attackers then use this information to access the victim’s accounts or commit identity theft.
Types of Phishing
There are many types of phishing that attackers use to trick people, but the ones that are most targeted and have severe effects are as follows;
- This phishing involves the use of voice calls. The attacker usually poses as a customer service representative from a legitimate company and tries to get the victim to give them personal information (such as their login details or credit card information).Email Phishing
This is the most common type of phishing and involves attackers sending out mass emails that appear to be from a legitimate source (such as a well-known company or website). The email usually contains a link that takes the victim to a fake website, where they are then asked for personal input (such as their login details or credit card information).
2. Spear Phishing
This type of phishing is more targeted than email phishing, as the attacker usually targets a specific individual or organization. The attacker usually has some basic information about their target (such as their name or job position), which they use to make the email appear more legitimate
This type of phishing uses text messages rather than emails to try and trick victims. The attacker sends out mass text messages that contain a link to a fake website. Again, the victim is asked to input personal information on the website
This phishing involves the use of voice calls. The attacker usually poses as a customer service representative from a legitimate company and tries to get the victim to give them personal information (such as their login details or credit card information).
5. Angler Phishing
This is a more sophisticated type of phishing, where the attacker uses social engineering techniques to trick victims into clicking on a malicious link. The attacker usually creates a fake online profile (on a social media site or forum) and then posts comments or messages that contain the malicious link. When other users click the link, they are taken to a fake website and are asked for personal information input.
This type of phishing is mostly targeted at a CFO, CEO, or any CXX of the company/business. The email describes the legal consequences that the business/company faces and clicking the link in the email will let them know more information.
The link takes them to a page which asks them to add company’s personal information like bank account numbers or tax ID.
What Is Phishing Simulation?
A phishing simulation is a type of security exam companies put their workers through to evaluate how well they can recognize and avoid falling victim to phishing scams. In most cases, simulating a phishing attack is sending bogus emails made to look like they were sent from reputable businesses or persons.
Emails like this frequently contain links or files that, if opened, will take the recipient to dangerous websites or may install malware on their machine. By simulating phishing assaults, companies may determine which of their workers are most susceptible to these deceptions and then teach them how to protect themselves from such attacks in the future.
How Does Phishing Simulation Work?
The IT department of the company is responsible to run an effective phishing simulation campaign across the company. Here is the process describing how does phishing simulation work.
Mapping out Campaign’s Framework: Admins first map out the campaign’s framework, detailing who will be phished, how often, and with what tools and templates, before conducting any actual phishing simulations.
Sending Phishing Emails to Employees: Next, the staff member receives their first simulated phishing email, which may seem to be from a coworker seeking an unpaid bill or an email service provider warning of impending password expiration.
Results: The simulation records report the email and whether or not the employees have interacted with it, often by recording whether the user clicked the ‘dangerous’ link or downloaded the ‘damaging’ file.
Follow-up: If the user follows the instructions and opens the file, they will be sent to a landing page explaining the news and providing more training on spotting such attacks in the future.
Tools Offering Phishing Simulation Services:
Training your staff to recognize and avoid genuine phishing attempts by simulating these assaults has become a necessary thing these days. However, to take the first step, it is very important to know what is phishing simulation and how to run an effective campaign to get the most benefit. This may be accomplished with the assistance of several different tools, which range in capabilities and prices.
Below are some effective tools that help you perform phishing simulation;
- PhishMe: PhishMe is a technology that can help you simulate phishing attacks. You can build and personalize your phishing emails with the help of PhishMe, in addition to tracking employee replies. It provides a variety of reports that can assist you in determining how successful your training has been.
- KnowBe4: KnowBe4 is an application that provides phishing simulation. KnowBe4 allows users to send personalized emails and provide a template library of ready-made phishing attacks. In addition, it features a reporting tool that may monitor staff members’ reactions.
- Infosec IQ: It is a training platform designed to provide the employees security awareness regarding phishing. It helps organizations run automated phishing tests and use phishing campaign kits to increase employee engagement.
- ProofPoint: It works on a threat-based approach to train employees on security awareness and introduce phishing defense techniques.
Why Phishing Simulation is Important for an Organization?
Phishing simulations are essential for an organization because they help identify potential vulnerabilities and educate employees on how to protect themselves from being scammed.
Minimum Risk of Cyber Attack:
By carrying out regular phishing simulations, organizations can reduce the likelihood of a successful phishing attack and minimize the impact if one does occur. Phishing simulations help create a culture of security within an organization, leading employees to be more vigilant in their everyday activities.
Better Understanding of Employees:
Phishing simulations are essential to any organization’s security strategy. They help to identify potential vulnerabilities and educate employees on how to protect themselves. Carrying out regular simulations can also create a culture of security within an organization and make employees more vigilant in their everyday activities.
Security Training becomes Effective:
Organizations can learn a lot from phishing simulations, such as which employees are most likely to click on links in emails, what type of language or images are most effective in getting people to connect, and how quickly employees report fake emails. By understanding these factors, organizations can better target their security awareness training and make it more effective.
Now that you know what is phishing simulation,how does phishing simulation work, and how it can benefit your organization, it’s time to start utilizing the opportunities. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when planning your simulations:
- Keep it realistic: The more realistic your simulations are, the more effective they’ll be. Use real-life scenarios and avoid using language that would tip off employees that they’re being tested.
- Be consistent: Don’t change the format or frequency of your simulations too much. This will only confuse employees and make it harder for them to identify real threats.
- Give feedback: After each simulation, take the time to provide feedback to employees. This will help them understand what they did well and where they need to improve.
- Have fun: Phishing simulations don’t have to be all work and no play. If you can make them fun and engaging, employees will be more likely to take them seriously and learn from them
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