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Does Phishing Awareness Training Work?

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Does Phishing Awareness Training Work?

With phishing so prominent in the cybersecurity landscape, businesses need a way to reduce risks from their weakest link – humans. Employees, contractors, vendors, and anyone with access to an internal network need training to identify phishing and social engineering. Both cyber risks are primarily responsible for most data breaches. As long as phishing has been successful, many businesses still offer no security awareness training for employees. 

High-privileged employees are bombarded several times a week with phishing and social engineering. Human resources, accounts payable, customer service, and operations people are especially vulnerable without the proper training. With only one vulnerable victim, attackers can install malware, ransomware, rootkits, trojans, and numerous other malicious applications to exfiltrate sensitive data.

Book a free SafeTitan demo now and experience up to a 92% reduction in susceptibility to phishing attacks among trained employees.

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The Human Element is Responsible for a Majority of Data Breaches

A recent Verizon report indicated that 74% of data breaches involve a human element. Human factors are more effective than finding a rare vulnerability in advanced cybersecurity infrastructure. Attackers know that some larger businesses have the best cybersecurity infrastructure available, but humans are much more likely to give them access to the data that they want.

Most phishing attacks are financially motivated, so it makes sense that cyber-criminals will create strategic phishing email messages and social engineering attacks to fool the right target. They can even target several users, hoping that at least one will install ransomware or allow the execution of malware that communicates with a command and control (C2) central server.

Ransomware is one of the most common payloads after phishing, but credential theft and other malware execution are also possible. Every year, the cost of ransomware increases due to the financial success of cyber-criminals. In 2023, ransomware costs increased again to a global average of $4.45 million; in addition to remediation costs, detection and containment expenses increased by 42%. The same report also indicated that most companies still lack cybersecurity awareness training and improved cybersecurity infrastructure to stop common threats.

Book a free SafeTitan demo now and experience up to a 92% reduction in susceptibility to phishing attacks among trained employees.

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Does Security Awareness Training Help Stop Threats?

You can install the best cybersecurity infrastructure, but humans will always be your weakest link. Even large technology companies are vulnerable to phishing and social engineering. Not long ago, Google and other high-profile tech companies were victims of a sophisticated phishing and social engineering scam where attackers convinced their accounts payable departments to pay fraudulent invoices. This attack cost companies millions of dollars in false invoice payments.

Because advanced security infrastructure doesn’t stop human errors, businesses need to educate their employees and enable them to detect phishing and social engineering attacks. Security awareness training is a proven way to prevent phishing and social engineering, and it’s a valuable addition to email filters and web content monitoring.

Research reveals a staggering 79% of employees actively engage in risky security behaviors. Coupled with the sobering fact that the average cost of a breach in 2023 amounted to $4.45 million, the imperative for regular, comprehensive security awareness training is unequivocal. Studies show that phishing and security training reduces mistakes by 60%, which reduces risks of becoming the next victim of ransomware, advanced persistent threats, or general malware used to exfiltrate data. Training often involves short videos or reading material, and then employees are tested with random email messages. Email messages have tracking links and pixels used to identify when an employee opens an email, clicks a URL, or enters private information on a phishing page.

Usually, about 15% of employees interact with a phishing email during the first round of security awareness training and testing. Because the organization can identify people interacting with a phishing email, administrators contact employees and let them know that they fell for a phishing email. With additional training, employees are much less likely to fall for other phishing email messages. Continuous training shows that only 6% of employees fall for the same simulated phishing test in the third testing phase. This study indicates that businesses reduce employee-related cyber-risks and human errors by over 50% with security awareness training and simulated phishing tests.

Is Security Awareness Training Enough to Stop Phishing?

Effective cybersecurity is built in layers. Your infrastructure must act as a defense against several threats, but you should always have other layers of defenses that threats must bypass to get to your data. Security awareness training is one defense layer, but it should not be the only one. Some security layers, including security awareness training, should be the second layer of defense.

Your first layer of defense should be phishing filters. Software running on an email system analyzes incoming email messages and quarantines any suspicious ones. Good email filters use artificial intelligence (AI) to block messages, including zero-day threats, malware attachments, scripts that download ransomware, or messages containing embedded links.

False negatives could allow phishing messages to bypass email filters, but web content filters add a layer of protection. Web content filters block users from accessing malicious websites. Many phishing messages include an embedded link pointing to an attacker-controlled site asking users to enter private system credentials. Should phishing filters fail to block malicious messages, the web content filters would block users from loading a phishing link in their browsers.

The third layer is security awareness training. Instead of relying on web content filters, employees should recognize a phishing email and avoid clicking the link. Security awareness training reduces the risks of becoming a data breach victim when employees recognize a phishing email and don’t interact with it, even if you have email and web content filters as a part of your infrastructure. Security awareness training can act as a first line of defense or a second layer should other cybersecurity infrastructure fail to block phishing messages.

A final layer that should only be a last resort is antimalware and antivirus software. All user devices and servers should have antimalware and antivirus software installed. Several compliance regulations require antivirus software, so any financial or healthcare business should always install an antivirus on every endpoint to avoid violations. Endpoint protection is your final line of defense if all other cybersecurity fails.

How SafeTitan Can Help

SafeTitan is a comprehensive suite of security awareness training for enterprises. It has behavior-driven security awareness training, phishing simulation, helps you stay compliant, gamification for user education, real-time intervention, and reporting. It’s built for enterprise businesses needing security awareness training across multiple locations and employees.

The impact of SafeTitan is evident: a staggering 92% reduction in susceptibility to phishing attacks among trained employees using its automated security awareness solution. This statistic underscores SafeTitan's efficacy in strengthening defenses against phishing threats.

To learn how SafeTitan can protect your data from phishing, book a free SafeTitan demo.

Book a free SafeTitan demo now and experience up to a 92% reduction in susceptibility to phishing attacks among trained employees.

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