If you want to improve your defenses against phishing and malware attacks, you should implement layered defenses. Technical cybersecurity solutions are vital for blocking cyber threats but don’t neglect phishing email training. By training the workforce how to recognize phishing attempts you will be adding an important extra layer of protection.
Cybersecurity is a Shared Responsibility
Everyone in an organization has a role to play in cybersecurity. The IT department is responsible for implementing technical solutions for blocking phishing and malware attacks, but everyone in the company has a responsibility to work securely, avoid risky behaviors, and should be alert to security threats and report them to the IT department
Even companies that have the best technical cybersecurity defenses can see them undone with one careless click by an employee. Employees can be told to work securely, but when it comes to phishing email avoidance, they need to be trained on how to recognize threats and be made aware of the tactics that cybercriminals use in their targeted attacks on employees.
Phishing email training is concerned with training employees on how to be more cyber secure, the signs of phishing they need to look for, and to condition employees to stop and think before taking any action requested in an email.
How to Conduct Phishing Email Training
Simply providing a phishing email training course to every employee during the onboarding process will not cut it. While that may be sufficient to tick the box for training for compliance purposes, it will not be sufficient for reducing the susceptibility of the workforce to phishing attacks. To effectively reduce risk, training needs to be an ongoing commitment. The threat landscape regularly changes, and new phishing tactics are constantly being developed. For training to maintain pace, it needs to be provided regularly. Relatively short training sessions every quarter will be more effective than providing a long training session once a year.
Training should cover the most common methods of phishing and the lures that are frequently used to get employees to respond. It is not possible to maintain pace with cybercriminals, but training should be kept up to date as far as possible on the latest tactics and techniques being used in attacks. Consider augmenting regular training sessions with cybersecurity newsletters warning of the latest threats.
It is important to ensure that training content is engaging and fun, as this will help with knowledge retention. Many employees will not be particularly technically gifted but should be able to remember the salient points from a fun training course. Use videos, infographics, and interactive training content and you will maximize engagement. Also, use quizzes after the end of the training modules to test whether the content has been understood.
Teach employees to be wary of any hyperlinks in emails, as they may not be what they seem. The link text can be changed to any text, and buttons may be used to mask the destination URL. Show employees how to identify the true destination and tell them to check to make sure it matches the sender. Similarly, sender names are not always what they appear. An email can be made to look like it is from anyone. Be sure to warn employees about the risk from opening attachments, as these are commonly used to distribute malware.
While phishing email training is arguably the most important, training should be provided on other forms of phishing. Attacks are increasingly conducted via SMS, instant messaging services, social media networks, and over the telephone, and combinations of more than one method in a single phishing campaign are now common.
Phishing email training should teach employees to report suspicious emails, so make that as easy as possible. Implement a system that allows one-click reporting and encourage employees to report any suspicious emails to the IT team. It is better to over-report than under-report.
One often neglected element of phishing email training is conducting phishing simulations. A phishing simulation platform allows the IT team to conduct fake phishing campaigns on the workforce. These simulations can be used to determine how effective training has been and identify employees who require further training. Phishing simulations also give employees practice in identifying phishing threats.
Speak to TitanHQ Today About Phishing Email Training
TitanHQ offers a security awareness training and phishing simulation platform that makes developing effective training courses easy and cost-effective for businesses. The platform has an extensive library of training content for employees covering all aspects of security, with a wealth of valuable content on phishing. Training modules are a maximum of 8-10 minutes long and are engaging, interactive, and fun. IT teams can quickly develop training courses for individuals, roles, departments, and the entire organization relative to the risks each faces.
The SafeTitan platform also includes a phishing simulator for conducting internal phishing campaigns on employees and provides detailed data on responses to emails to guide future training efforts. Training content will be automatically generated in response to risky employee actions, such as an unsafe behavior or a response to a phishing email.