The fight against phishing is a never-ending battle. Cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways to trick unsuspecting users into revealing confidential information or clicking malicious links and attachments. And while there are numerous technical solutions available to detect and prevent phishing attacks, the most effective approach is to make sure your employees are properly trained in recognizing phishing scams.
To keep your users and your organization safe, consider these essential tips for effective employee phishing awareness training.
1. Identify the biggest phishing threats to your organization
The first step to protecting your organization from phishing attacks is to understand the specific threats that are most likely to target your users. Knowing what types of attacks are most common in your industry or region will help you tailor your training and security policies to address those threats.
For example, if you work in the finance industry, you should be especially aware of phishing attempts that involve fraudulent wire transfers or requests for confidential customer information. A bad actor may present themselves as a legitimate customer or vendor in order to get this information, but if your employees are trained to recognize these warning signs, they can stop an attack in its tracks.
2. Educate employees about the different types of phishing scams
Phishing attacks come in a variety of forms, from deceptive emails and text messages to fake websites and malicious ads. The most prevalent types include the following:
- Email phishing – This is the most popular form of phishing, where fraudsters send emails purporting to be from a legitimate source, often a well-known company or organization, with the intent of gathering sensitive information or installing malware.
- Vishing – Short for voice phishing, vishing involves attackers using phone calls or voice messages to impersonate customer service or tech support representatives so they can obtain information or direct victims to malicious sites. Synthetic vishing is an insidious variant of vishing, where deepfake technology is used to clone or replicate a person’s voice.
- Smishing – Smishing, or SMS phishing, is a type of attack that is carried out via text messages. Much like in email phishing, smishing involves cybercriminals sending messages with malicious links or instructions to download malware.
- Spear phishing – This type of phishing scam is highly targeted and personalized. Bad actors use information gathered from public sources, such as social media profiles or online directories, to make their message appear more credible. For example, they may include an employee’s name and company title in the email subject line so the recipient is more likely to open the message.
3. Personalize your training materials
Your employees will be more likely to remember and apply the lessons from your phishing awareness training if the content is relevant to their job and tailored to their specific skill set. Use real-world examples of phishing attacks that have targeted your organization or industry, and be sure to highlight any lessons that employees can use in their day-to-day work.
4. Engage employees with gamified and interactive training
Another effective way to make phishing awareness training more impactful is by making it fun. Consider incorporating engaging elements like games, quizzes, and interactive activities that can help employees better understand the risks of phishing attacks.
5. Train continuously
The threat landscape is constantly evolving, so employee training should be an ongoing process. Regularly review your organization’s security policies and keep employees informed of any new phishing threats or developments that may affect their work. Consider offering refresher courses and short “lunch and learn” sessions on a regular basis to ensure that employees keep abreast of the latest security best practices.
These are just a few ways to make your organization’s phishing awareness training program more effective. With constant education and vigilance, you can reduce the risk of a successful phishing attack and help protect your customers, data, and reputation.
Partnering with a reliable managed IT services provider is an excellent way to ensure that your employees are receiving the most up-to-date training and cybersecurity resources. Contact Refresh Technologies today to learn more.