Adversary SimulationsJan Kahmen8 min read

Security Awareness with a Phishing Simulation

A phishing simulation is an often used tool to simulate or fake cyber attacks.

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What are Phishing Simulations?

A phishing simulation is an often-used tool that can be used to mimic or fake cyberattacks. As such, it is an excellent component for employee security awareness training. These are made aware of the dangers of cyber attacks and assaults. Similar to an actual attack, emails are sent to intercept important user data. For this purpose, they are equipped with links as well as fictitious attachments. However, the difference between this and a classic phishing email is that it involves security measures. This shows how phishing works and thus increases the security awareness of employees. However, they do not pose a real threat.

This is Why a Phishing Simulation makes so much Sense

Cyber attacks are no longer a rarity. In particular, the number of successful phishing attacks has increased sharply in recent years. For users, this is a problem: because around a quarter of phishing emails manage to bypass even Microsoft's sophisticated filters.

Instead of relying solely on technical filters, it is important to increase IT security awareness. The best way to do this is through a multifaceted approach. In addition to phishing simulation, the basics in social engineering are also important to supplement general security measures. Companies in particular should make use of regular phishing simulation, as they are considered a particularly attractive target for cyber criminals. Employees quickly represent a serious vulnerability - as long as they are not properly trained. Phishing simulation, then, helps to curb insecurity among employees. In doing so, it minimizes the risk of falling victim to such an attacker.

Use Phishing Simulations to create Security Awareness in the Company

Regularly scheduled security awareness training protects the company and its employees alike. These training sessions are usually well received in the form of digital and interactive offerings. Due to the heightened awareness of the employees through the phishing simulation, the general IT security awareness within the company increases. This step is important for the private lives of the employees as well as for the company. Because in the digital age, the number of attacks will not decrease. A phishing simulation service is particularly well suited for this purpose and increases the general awareness of the problem.

These are the Steps a Phishing Simulation should Include

To get the full potential of phishing simulation, ideally you should rely on proven tools and best practices. The Phishing Simulation service puts together a combination of both for you. In this way, you support the necessary security awareness of your employees and protect the company from fatal financial losses. In order for the phishing simulation to have the best possible effect, it is first necessary to remove possible obstacles. This includes not only having a pure phishing test carried out. This gives the wrong impression: after all, the aim is to raise awareness, not to denounce undesirable behavior. It is always better to define and communicate learning-oriented security awareness measures. The following steps have proven effective in this regard.

Step 1: Create a Whitelist

Without proper technical preparation, the phishing simulation will not work as a learning-oriented unit or as a phishing test. To do this, it is advisable to create a whitelist so that you can make the desired settings. This way you will achieve the following: The simulated phishing emails appear in your employees' inboxes. For the technical details, ideally consult with your provider.

Step 2: Not Warn Employees

It is important that employees are not forewarned in order to achieve a learning effect with the accompanying and long-term sensitization.

Step 3: Don't name Names

Note: A phishing simulation is designed to strengthen your internal security awareness. It is not a test of knowledge. Therefore, you should opt for an anonymous approach. That way, employees won't feel like they are being monitored and won't have to fear a warning letter

Step 4: The Phishing Mail must be Difficult to Detect

Attackers no longer rely on mails that are directly recognizable as phishing mails. Instead, they opt for spear phishing mails - those that are carefully personalized. By targeting your personal data, they appear much more trustworthy. In a phishing simulation, you should pay close attention to this and also opt for realistic content, designs and addresses. This approach makes the phishing simulation the perfect introduction to IT security awareness.

Step 5: Offer know-how

Phishing simulation helps your employees keep their eyes open. Therefore, in the best case scenario, don't just send the emails and evaluate the result. Offer your employees explanatory content so they understand what to look for in such phishing emails. Because: even with the best filter, it doesn't always stop at the phishing simulation.

Step 6: Develop Procedures for Phishing Attacks

As part of your phishing simulation, proper behavior is crucial. This includes establishing a reporting chain. Provide sufficient information about the procedures and tell your employees how they should react in the event of a phishing attack. By the way: this procedure must also be followed in the context of phishing simulation.

Step 7: Sensitize Participants, close Security Gaps

For a meaningful phishing simulation, you should send the mails randomized and continuously. This sensitizes participants to IT security risks and deepens the learning content.

Step 8: Provide Feedback

Following the phishing simulation, it is important to provide participants with feedback. Clarify any questions and allow time for participants to share their experiences.

GoPhish - the open-source Phishing Framework

GoPhish is a powerful phishing framework that you can trust in your organization. Since it is an open source framework, you can use it without any licensing costs. As a simple one-click installation, it is ready to use after a few seconds.

  • GoPhish supports a REST API.
  • You benefit from the beautiful web user interface, which makes it easy to use.
  • The system works across platforms, including Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows.
  • You get the results in real time.

In addition, Phishing Simulation Software gives you the ability to set your own templates and targets. So you can easily start your own campaigns. The import of pixel-precise templates facilitates your work immensely. In addition, the program offers you the following advantages:

  • You start your campaign with just a few steps.
  • You can access the HTML editor directly from the web interface to customize your templates.
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  • As soon as you start a campaign, the phishing simulation will begin in the background.
  • You can track the results in real time and have them exported to different reports.

Due to its simplicity and rapid deployment, this software allows you to immediately start raising awareness among your employees.


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