5 Effective Ways to Carry Out Employee Phishing Training in The Workplace

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security
Businessman pressing an Security concept button.

Among all of the threats that exist in today’s business world, cyber threats are among the most serious. Not only are they difficult to prevent, but they can also have a devastating impact on a company’s operations, reputation, and bottom line. 

On average, small businesses lose $108,000 per data breach. Of course, this is a cost that most businesses simply cannot afford.

The importance of phishing training in the workplace

Phishing is one of the most common methods that cybercriminals use to gain access to company systems and data. In a phishing attack, the hacker attempts to obtain sensitive information (usernames, passwords, and credit card details) by disguising themselves as a trustworthy source in electronic communication. 

In the workplace, phishing can be especially dangerous, as it can compromise confidential data or even entire networks.

Unfortunately, these attacks are becoming exponentially more popular in recent years as hackers continue to find success with these methods. A recent APWG report revealed that phishing hit an all-time high in December 2021, more than tripling the number of attacks reported in early 2020. To make matters worse, phishing attacks are becoming more sophisticated, which means that traditional security measures, such as antivirus software, are no longer a sufficient means of protection on their own. 

As a result, it is important for companies to conduct robust phishing training for employees to help them identify and avoid these scams and help protect the company’s data.

Inform employees of the different forms of phishing in the workplace

One of the most effective ways to protect company data is to increase employee awareness about phishing in the workplace. After all, if you don’t know what phishing looks like, it’s going to be very difficult to avoid it. There are many different forms of phishing attacks that businesses can fall victim to. Some of the most common include:

  • Spear phishing – This is a type of phishing attack that targets a specific individual or organization. The attacker will often use personal information to make the email appear more trustworthy, and will likely already have access to various pieces of information about the victim to increase their chances of success.
  • Domain/email phishing – This type of phishing attack occurs when an attacker spoofs a legitimate domain or email address in order to trick the victim into thinking that the email is from a trusted source. The attacker will then include a malicious link or attachment in the email that, if clicked, will install malware on the victim’s device or redirect them to a fake website that is designed to steal sensitive information.
  • CEO fraud – This is a type of phishing scam in which the attacker impersonates a senior executive, such as the CEO or CFO, in order to persuade employees to transfer funds or sensitive information. This type of scam is particularly dangerous, as it can be difficult for employees to detect, especially if the attacker has done their research and is familiar with the company’s operations.
  • Whaling – This is a type of phishing attack that targets high-profile individuals, such as CEOs, CFOs, and other senior executives. The attacker will usually send a highly personalized email that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a government agency or financial institution. The email will often contain a link or attachment that, if clicked, will install malware on the victim’s device or redirect them to a fake website designed to steal sensitive information.

Make cybersecurity a part of the culture

In order to effectively protect against phishing attacks, it is important to make cybersecurity a part of the company culture. This means that employees should be encouraged to report any suspicious emails or websites and that there should be a clear process for doing so. Additionally, all employees should be aware of the company’s cybersecurity policies and procedures and should know how to report a breach if one occurs.

One way to make cybersecurity a part of the culture is to create a cybersecurity task force or working group. This group should be responsible for developing and implementing the company’s cybersecurity policies and procedures, as well as conducting employee training on cybersecurity best practices.

Gamified phishing training

Gamified phishing training is a type of employee training that uses game-like elements, such as points, badges, and leaderboards, to teach employees about phishing scams and how to avoid them. 

It is effective because it makes the learning process fun and engaging, which makes it more likely that employees will remember what they have learned. Additionally, gamified phishing training can be customized to the specific needs of the company and its employees.

Simulated phishing attacks

In a simulated attack, the employee receives an email that appears to be from a legitimate source but is actually from the company’s IT department. The email looks exactly like those which contain a link or attachment that, if clicked, might install malware on the victim’s device or redirect them to a fake website that is designed to steal sensitive information.

Simulated phishing attacks are effective because they give employees real-world examples of what a phishing email looks like. The idea here is not to trick employees and make an example out of them, but to educate them on what to look for in a phishing email so that they can recognize legitimate threats. 

Offer self-paced training

Self-paced training is effective because it allows employees to learn at a pace that is comfortable for them, and it also gives employees the chance to revisit the material as often as they need to. One way to offer self-paced training is to create an online training course that employees can access at any time. This course can be divided into modules, and each module can contain a variety of learning materials, such as text, videos, and quizzes.

A key advantage of this method is that you can continually update the course with information regarding new threats and industry best practices that will help keep your employees informed and best equipped to fend off attacks.

Summary

Phishing can be a very effective way to steal information from companies, and it is important for employees to be aware of the different types of phishing scams that are out there. In order to effectively protect against phishing attacks, companies should implement a variety of training methods, such as gamified training, simulated attacks, and self-paced training. Additionally, it is important to make cybersecurity a part of the company culture so that employees are more likely to report any suspicious emails or websites. 

While this will not make your company immune to such threats, it will help to reduce the chances of a successful attack and could make the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major data breach.