Businesses that provide phishing email training to the workforce are much better protected against these incredibly common cyberattacks. Employees need to be taught how to identify phishing – It is a skill that needs to be learned.
The Cost of Phishing Attacks
The average cost of a phishing attack in 2021 was $4.65 million according to the IBM 2021 Cost of a Data Breach Report, only exceeded by Business Email Compromise attacks, which costs businesses an average of $5.01 million annually and BEC attacks often start with phishing. Phishing attacks increased in 2021 and have continued to rise in 2022, and the cost of cybercrime is expected to increase by 15% to $10.5 trillion by 2025. The threat from phishing is unlikely to reduce any time soon as the attacks are very profitable for cyber threat actors.
The Importance of Phishing Email Training
All it takes for a costly data breach to occur is for one employee to open a malicious email attachment or click on a link in an email. It is no longer sufficient to rely on an email security solution for preventing phishing attacks. Phishing attacks have become more sophisticated, and while cybersecurity solutions can block the majority of attacks, some phishing emails will bypass defenses and employees are highly likely to encounter threats. Your cybersecurity strategy should therefore include phishing email training for the workforce to give employees the skills they will need to identify and avoid phishing.
What Should Phishing Email Training Entail?
The aim of phishing training is to teach employees to stop and think whenever they receive an email and to look for the common indicators of phishing. There are usually several tell-tale signs that an email is not what it appears to be, and by training the workforce to be on the lookout for these red flags, they will be much less likely to be fooled by these scams.
New phishing campaigns are constantly being conducted using new lures and social engineering to trick the unwary into taking an action that benefits the scammer, but there are usually still warning signs that trained individuals can identify. The aim of phishing training is to reduce susceptibility of the workforce to phishing and to encourage the reporting of suspicious emails to allow the IT department to check whether emails are malicious.
If every employee has a good understanding of the threats that are likely to arrive in their inboxes, and they have practice at identifying phishing emails, when a genuine threat does land in their inbox, they should be able to identify the email as a scam. Phishing email training should teach employees the signs of phishing and what they need to do to check if an email is genuine. During training they should be provided with examples of phishing to give them practice at identifying phishing emails.
Phishing Email Training Needs to be an Ongoing Process
Phishing email training should be provided to all employees as part of their initial security awareness training when they join the company, and refresher training should be provided annually at least, although the best practice is now to provide quarterly or biannual training. In addition, more frequent reminders should be provided about phishing, such as notifications about the latest scams being conducted. Phishing attacks take advantage of big news stories and events. Providing reminders about phishing is recommended ahead of the times of the year when attacks increase – during the holiday season for instance and the run-up to tax season.
Consider Conducting Phishing Simulations
Businesses should also strongly consider conducting phishing simulations on the workforce – dummy phishing emails that mirror real-world attacks. Phishing simulations test whether employees have taken their training on board and are applying that training on a day-to-day basis. Phishing simulations help employers to identify employees who are susceptible to phishing to allow targeted training to be provided where it is needed most. These internal campaigns can also highlight issues with training courses, such as types of phishing that have not been covered sufficiently by the training course.
How TitanHQ Can Help Improve Awareness of Phishing
At TitanHQ we understand that layered defenses are required to block phishing attacks, and that technological solutions alone are not sufficient to block every threat. With SpamTitan Email Security and WebTitan DNS Filtering, businesses will be well protected, but workforce phishing email training is still important.
Recently we have introduced a comprehensive security awareness and phishing email simulation platform – SafeTitan – that includes an extensive library of training content to help businesses improve the security awareness of the workforce. The training content has been developed to be fun and engaging and maximize knowledge retention, with dozens of courses related to phishing.
The platform also incorporates a phishing email simulation platform for conducting internal phishing simulations on the workforce. The phishing simulator includes hundreds of phishing email templates with the ability to customize and fully automate the campaigns. When a user falls for a phishing email or makes some other security mistake, the platform will automatically alert the employee and deliver training in real-time to help the employee avoid similar threats in the future.
For more information on improving email security, blocking the web-based element of phishing with a DNS filter, or providing phishing awareness training to the workforce and conducting phishing simulations, contact us today.