14 November, 2019
Benefits of Phishing Simulations
Email is the primary channel for corporate communications. On the one hand, emails have seamlessly replaced printed papers and postal delivery system that took multiple days to deliver letters across the country, while on the other hand, the attackers utilize email as a propagation medium to launch various types of attack. In this article, we explore the benefits of how simulating phishing attacks can be helpful for a business.
What is a simulated phishing attack, and why is it important?
A simulated phishing attack uses commonly used and believable email templates that are likely to come in the inbox of an organization’s employee. The emails being sent as a part of a simulated attack closely mimic a real-life phishing attack. Real-life phishing attacks often rely on social engineering to target individuals and businesses. Humans are considered as the weakest link in the cybersecurity ecosystem, and phishing is one of the types of social engineering attacks exploiting this weakness.
It has been observed that effective phishing campaigns have a sense of urgency, for example, a time limit on something related to a prospective victim.
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These are some of the subject lines commonly used by the attackers. Though phishing simulation is a controlled activity, they use the same techniques used by attackers to trick the employees of your organization. A simulated phishing attack is a great way to identify the individuals within your organization who are not well versed with good security practices and require additional training. Also, such activity can allow you to measure the effectiveness of your training concerning social engineering attacks. Once this activity is concluded, the report should contain details such as –
- Number of emails opened
- Number of users who clicked on the link
- Number of users who opened the attached file
- Number of users who reported the email
Benefits of simulated phishing attacks
The first and foremost benefit of phishing simulation is the decreased security risks to your organization due to social engineering attacks involving human manipulation and deception. Second, many regulations and standards now require organizations to conduct regular training sessions for employees and monitor the effectiveness of such training sessions.
Third, as employees become aware of possible use cases, they will act as a primary shield against such emails as they already know that those emails are not genuine and must be avoided. Simulated phishing attacks with appropriate reporting procedures are an excellent example of a strong security culture within an organization. Accordingly, the chances of fraudulent activity also decrease.
It is often iterated that security is a shared responsibility of all the individuals in an organization. With security training and phishing simulations, the workplace becomes safer technically and the learnings derived extend to an employee’s life at home as well.
Just like other tools to defend an organization against the incoming attacks, phishing simulation exercises equip an organization’s employees with the know-how of phishing attacks and how attackers craft genuine-looking emails to fulfill their motives.