Phishing as a Service

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21 Aug, 2019

Phishing as a Service

Over the years, phishing attacks have become fairly sophisticated, and to counter them, many technology-based solutions have been developed to prevent such attacks. However, the only practical solution is to educate employees so that they do not end up on clicking malicious links, filling online forms, or unintentionally sharing confidential information about your business.  

Technological solutions such as network protection, email filtering, and traffic monitoring can assist an organization in preventing phishing attacks. However, they cannot be totally effective as these attacks involve a variable and unpredictable parameter, i.e., human behaviorConsidering that phishing attacks are often targeted, the best possible solution is to train the employees so that they understand the value of the information they possess.  

Without any doubt, your organization’s confidential information and trade secrets must remain confidential. With attackers using advanced phishing techniques, the risk of a data breach due to phishing attacks is exceptionally high. Although phishing is not a new social engineering technique, it has been evolving continuously, and it is usually the first step in an attack. It is used to deliver malware such as ransomware, virus, trojan, etc.  

With ready to use sophisticated phishing kits easily available on the internet, they are able to evade the technology-based detection techniques implemented by organizations. On similar lines, the risk level is further increased due to spear-phishing attacks, i.e., specifically targeted phishing attacks. 

What is the challenge? 

On average, 1 out of 99 emails is a phishing email. This is equivalent to around five emails per employee per week. It has also been found that more than 30% of phishing attacks go through the existing security mechanisms. Based on these statistics, it is clear that the threat of phishing attacks is indeed real. Further, around 51% of phishing emails contain malware. 

What is Phishing as a Service (PhaaS)? 

Phishing as a Service (PhaaS) enables an organization to define a baseline for calculating the susceptibility of its employees to phishing attacks by performing real-life simulations on the employees. Using PhaaS, organizations can measure their vulnerability towards phishing attacks in a safe and controlled environment, without disrupting the regular business operations. 

Figure: Phishing as a Service (PhaaS) cycle

PhaaS cycle starts with determining the scope of an organization’s phishing program. It may be conducted department-wise, office location-wise, or the entire organization at large. The service provider then designs a phishing program in line with the business context to get the best possible results. The phishing attack is later launched to cover all the employees, as defined in the scope.  

The results are analyzed in the next step, and a report is prepared to present an organization’s vulnerability to phishing attacks. Based on the results, a training program is developed, and training exercises are carried out to equip employees with the appropriate knowledge to identify phishing emails. Now that training program is completed, its success is tracked and measured, and this analysis is used as an input for the next periodic cycle. 

How can BreachLock help you? 

Depending upon an organization, its size, employees, and existing technical infrastructure, BreachLock designs a security awareness and training program to increase its resiliency against phishing attacks. Periodical phishing emails are sent while employees’ ability to recognize phishing emails is tracked simultaneously. The anonymity of employees is maintained, and the statistics are reported back to the organization. During this entire process, we ensure that an organization’s sensitive data does not leave the security parameter. Although phishing campaigns involve fake phishing web pages, payloads, and attachments, they do not contain any malware and are harmless.