An Overview Of Simulated Phishing In Cybersecurity
By Tom Seest
Phishing is a cyberthreat that can lead to data breaches and ransomware attacks. Phishing emails are designed to capture user credentials, confidential information, and even company assets through malicious emails.
Simulated phishing exercises are an invaluable resource to reinforce employee training, build risk resilience and promote a security-first culture. This should form part of your risk management strategy as well as helping you meet regulatory obligations such as PCI DSS or GDPR.
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Table Of Contents
Phishing attacks are cybercrimes designed to trick users into sharing sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers and personal details. This typically marks the start of a larger campaign that could include malware, ransomware and spyware.
Phishing emails are sent by malicious actors and often appear to come from a trusted organization or person. As these can be difficult to distinguish from genuine messages, it is essential for employees to learn how to recognize phishing attempts.
Many phishing campaigns use social engineering tactics to convince victims to click on links or download attachments that contain malicious software. Once clicked, the victim is taken to a fake website where they may be encouraged to reveal their account credentials or personal details.
Phishing attacks can be tailored towards specific organizations and individuals, while others spread malware onto computers or networks. Some criminals even create fake public WiFi networks in an effort to obtain credentials or install malicious software onto devices.
Another method for phishing involves using websites that appear to be official government or business pages, leading to information theft and data breaches. The attacker will contact a potential victim via email or phone in order to convince them to click on a link that takes them to the fraudulent website.
To protect your business, educate all employees on how to identify phishing attempts. This includes teaching them how to be wary of these scams and reporting any suspicious emails to their supervisor or security team.
One of the most efficient methods for accomplishing this is through simulated phishing simulations. These exercises give your employees a real-time experience with potential scams and allow you to assess how effective your current training programs are at thwarting them.
Employees can then learn from their mistakes and avoid becoming the target of a real-world attack. You should run simulated phishing campaigns 6 to 10 times annually, with an interval of 40 to 60 days.
Simulated phishing is the latest innovation in cybersecurity training, and it can help reduce risks to your business and ensure everyone within your organisation shares an understanding of phishing awareness and education. To do this effectively, use a platform which enables point-of-need learning while integrating it with existing tutorial modules and other educating resources.
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Phishing emails are attempts to trick someone into divulging personal information that could lead to identity theft. This type of cyber attack is the most prevalent, and can be sent to anyone with an email address.
Phishing emails are designed to appear legitimate, from legitimate companies or institutions such as banks, credit card companies, social websites and online payment processors. Usually the email will ask for account verification or your password for access.
Many spear phishing emails will include attachments such as malicious links or files that could contain malware. These attacks, also referred to as spear phishing attacks, usually target senior-level personnel within an organization or business.
Spear phishing attacks are a form of social engineering and take advantage of people’s inherent trust in people or companies. That’s why cybercriminals often send these emails in the name of an important executive or colleague.
Typically, these emails appear urgent and must be responded to immediately. Thus, employees must remain alert in identifying phishing emails and reporting them to their managers or IT teams.
Phishing emails typically include a link to a web page designed to look like Google, Microsoft or another login page. The landing page will have an impostor login box, and when users enter their credentials into this fraudulent website they are directed to malicious software downloads.
Most victims of cyber attacks will be duped into logging in to their accounts and providing personal or business data, such as financial account info, credit cards, tax information and medical records.
There are more sophisticated phishing attacks that can affect businesses and organizations. These may be called whaling attacks, which are specifically directed at C-level executives or any other individuals within a company who possess valuable information.
One of the most effective methods to reduce the risk of phishing attacks is security awareness training and education about red flags that might indicate a fraudulent email. This type of proactive measure should be part of any cyber security program and help safeguard sensitive data.
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Phishing links are those links embedded in emails that direct recipients to a false website, where they can be exploited to obtain sensitive information or download malware. Cybercriminals utilize these links in many ways to obtain personal details like bank account and credit card numbers.
Phishing attacks often use URLs that appear to be legitimate websites, like your bank or credit card provider’s site. When you click on these links, however, you will be taken to a fake website where you can enter your username and password or download a file without knowing who it is from.
Phishing attacks are a frequent form of cyberattack, accounting for 91% of security breaches. That’s why it is essential to safeguard your organisation against these scams which may lead to data theft and financial loss.
To protect your business from phishing attacks, you need to know how to identify malicious phishing emails and report them immediately to your Cyber Security team. Simulations of actual phishing emails are an effective way for training employees on how to detect and respond when receiving such an attack; they could even form part of your overall security awareness training program.
Phishing attacks can affect anyone, but are most likely to strike those with inexperience or who lack training on how to protect themselves from these threats. This is particularly true for international employees who may lack awareness regarding cybersecurity in their home countries.
Ideally, simulated phishing attacks should be sent out several times annually to keep staff up-to-date on the most advanced techniques. They should also be reviewed by human resources or another relevant group of high level management to guarantee that the content is suitable for your organisation.
Berkeley Lab’s Cyber Security team periodically sends simulated phishing emails to employees in an effort to boost their awareness of phishing attacks. These emails mimic common tactics like spoofing or spear phishing emails, helping recipients recognize and take appropriate steps when faced with such a scam.
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Simulated phishing in cybersecurity refers to a technique of sending out fake emails and links in an effort to steal target users’ personal information, account credentials, and other sensitive data. This type of attack is common within the black hat community as it leverages human beings’ vulnerabilities to malware attacks.
The simulated phishing landing page is the webpage people are directed to when they click on a link in an email. Usually, this fake Google or Microsoft login page requests users enter their username and password; alternatively, it could download malicious software onto their computer.
Real web pages usually include a navigation menu, footers, About and Privacy pages, as well as other elements to make it difficult for a user to be duped into entering sensitive information. On the contrary, fake landing pages may lack all these components or the URL may not be authentic.
Malicious actors frequently combine their code with that of a legitimate website, creating login pages that appear identical to authentic sites but which automatically capture the user’s username and password when they submit it.
This strategy can be highly successful, yet it also creates confusion among users as the real page is still visible. To prevent future scams, educate your employees on how to recognize a legitimate landing page so they are equipped with the knowledge of how to recognize one.
KnowBe4 offers a vast library of landing pages you can use when crafting your simulated phishing campaigns. These templates can be found under the Templates area in your dashboard, where you also edit or delete them as desired. If you would like to share a specific template with someone, select it and click on the Share button.
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