4 Tips for protecting your employees from phishing scams

4 Tips for protecting your employees from phishing scams

Phishing scams, which use fraudulent emails to distribute malware and trick victims into giving away information, are the most common tactics used by cybercriminals today. After all, it’s much easier to exploit human ignorance and unpreparedness than the cutting-edge cybersecurity controls that many organizations have in place today. Almost every company has experienced an attempted or successful phishing attack, making it among the biggest criminal industries in the world.

Unfortunately, technological and operational measures can only go so far toward protecting against phishing scams. Even the very best cybersecurity controls can be rendered useless by a determined attacker who successfully manages to dupe an unsuspecting victim into disabling them. There’s only one proven way to stop phishing, and that’s through proper security awareness training. Here’s what you should do:

1. Give people a reason to care

Cybersecurity training often revolves around business needs and goals. The fact is that a lot of employees don’t really care that much about the organization they work for. While that’s not something any business leader wants to hear, it’s important to make training less about your business and more about your employees.
The fact is phishing scams can target any business or individual. Open up your personal spam folder, and chances are there will be dozens of potential phishing emails from recent months. To ensure your training has a lasting effect, make it clear that it’s not just for protecting your business, but your employees, too.

2. Involve everyone in the training

It’s easy to think of phishing scams as only targeting the vulnerable, but the truth is that even the most technically savvy people can fall for these scams. Remember, phishing isn’t really about technology, but about exploiting people. Attacks can use any medium too, including the phone, SMS, or social media.

The sophistication of attacks also varies dramatically from the sort of mass-produced phishing emails any half-reasonable spam filter can pick up to targeted scams customized for a specific victim. That’s why everyone on your team should be involved in phishing awareness training, even if only to set a good example to employees on lower pay grades.

3. Use hands-on phishing simulations

There’s no better way to learn about phishing than by putting it into practice. That being said, you should stay clear of the old-fashioned phishing assessments that deliberately trick users with fake scams used to test their resolve. If you don’t treat employees with the respect and transparency they deserve, your training could even end up having the opposite effect.

A decent anti-phishing campaign should include simulated phishing attacks that offer hands-on experiences based on real-world situations. It’s best to start small with a moderate baseline phishing simulation using at least two clues. Work your way up from there to cover advanced targeted phishing attacks to continuously improve security awareness.

4. Make it fun and engaging

Cybersecurity is a very serious topic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add some fun into the experience. It’s an unfortunate fact that most cybersecurity training programs are so boring all they do is encourage eye-rolling. Taking an academic approach that has employees feeling like they’re back in school isn’t going to help instill strong security habits.

Instead of referring employees to books and other dated training materials, focus on hands-on, collaborative experiences. Another effective strategy is to add a competitive element to the experience with gamification. By using elements from games in your training program, you can keep employees motivated with things like ranks, badges, points and other rewards.

Online Computers provides expert cybersecurity guidance and the solutions you need to keep your employees safe from the rising tide of phishing scams. Contact us today to schedule your first consultation.

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