Considering the increasing number of complex cyberattacks and scams that target individuals within organizations, it’s important to stay on top of your cybersecurity situation from 360 degrees. And given that today’s phishing attacks are so shrewdly conceived that no tech solution on the market could possibly filter them all out, a key element of your cyber defense strategy needs to be providing phishing training to all employees.
For those unfamiliar, there are many different types of phishing attacks including:
- Web phishing
- Mass marketing phishing
- Spear phishing
- C-level email impersonation
Together, studies suggest that any one of these scams can set you back millions of dollars if it’s successful.
This is where Hoxhunt comes in. Hoxhunt is an AI-based phishing awareness tool with gamification features, that offers personalized phishing education through simulations to individuals within the organization. Its personalized phishing training experience sends out targeted simulation emails and training to employees within your company.
In this article, we’ll explain how cyber hackers use sophisticated phishing messages to steal your company’s sensitive data. Read on to learn more about a few of the most noteworthy ways Hoxhunt can help you train your employees to better detect these threats and respond to them effectively.
1. An AI-Based Approach to Phishing Awareness
Over the years, as spam filters have gotten better at making sure malicious emails rarely show up in users’ inboxes, hackers started designing emails that appear to be coming from verified sources. These phishing emails typically ask employees for information about company accounts or other credentials that can give them easy access to sensitive data resources.
The best way to tackle these sorts of cyber-attacks is by educating your employees about the threats, their many forms, and best practices for identifying and reporting them.
Many security-forward organizations implement phishing email simulations to train their workforce, which helps them better recognize how to differentiate between legit emails and malicious ones. That said, phishing simulations offered by most service providers are flawed for several reasons:
- Simulated emails aren’t as personalized as real phishing emails are. When you send the same phishing-style email to everyone on your team, you’re lowering the potential for learning. Today’s phishing perpetrators do their homework and generate different attack messages for different targets, so your simulations need to do the same.
- The simulation frequency is kept constant. The problem with always sending out simulated phishing emails on the same schedule is that it becomes predictable, which makes it harder to take them seriously. What’s more, this effectively hinders progress for people who learn faster.
- All employees receive the same simulation. Keeping the simulation complexity the same for everyone in the organization means the training pace is determined by the weakest link.
Of course, there are some advanced phishing training solutions that let you send out different email messages to different segments of employees in your organization. These sorts of simulations let you customize your messages, although you do have to manage everything manually.
As you can tell, this sort of approach slows down the progress of employees who are better at recognizing phishing attacks. As a result, they may become annoyed at getting basic-level training repeatedly instead of advancing to the next stage, as it prohibits them from improving their skills. This can cause team members to disengage from the training program, believing that it has nothing of value to offer them.
Hoxhunt has a more modern approach to phishing training.
The platform uses AI-based phishing simulations to give custom phishing training to individual employees on the fly. Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works:
First, an admin at your company adds employee information to the platform and grants required permissions. Hoxhunt then sends out personalized email messages to individual employees. Employee responses are then tracked, and the system automatically figures out the appropriate frequency and simulations to be sent to each employee for personalized training. In this way, employees are able to learn at their pace rather than at the entire organization’s (or department’s) pace.
If a user fails to recognize a simulated phishing email, they’ll need to review Hoxhunt’s quick training modules associated with the phishing attempt and the future emails they receive will be of the same complexity. But if an employee successfully completes the simulation, the platform will make subsequent messages more complex.
Hoxhunt sends out more simulations to employees who constantly perform poorly in the phishing simulations. This allows each employee to go through a personalized educational experience throughout their training.
The advantages of AI-based, personalized phishing simulations include:
- Testing and education on the fly. Hoxhunt is designed to provide training sporadically, over the course of the workday, rather than at a specific time. This makes for a more “real-world” simulation rather than if the employee knew they were attending a phishing training class.
- Individual learning paths. Hoxhunt’s algorithm automatically recognizes and adapts to employee responses, helping you deliver the right level of difficulty and level of complexity in phishing simulations and emails. This makes for a personalized learning experience.
- A gamified user experience. Hoxhunt is designed to provide a gamified cybersecurity training experience that boosts user engagement. The platform rewards users who successfully identify threats and encourages them to compete with one another by displaying their progress on a leaderboard. Employees with the best performance will appear at the top of the leaderboard.
- Micro-training moments. Hoxhunt offers bite-sized pieces of information to each person when they successfully report a threat or fail a phishing simulation. This helps improve their cybersecurity knowledge and awareness in digestible chunks. So, even if an employee makes a lucky guess, they’ll know the reasoning behind the correct response.
2. Dynamic and Interactive Spear Phishing Simulations
Spear phishing refers to a form of phishing in which a single person is targeted within an organization. Spear phishing attacks are more difficult to identify when compared to other cyberattacks, as they include personal information that is credible. In fact, spear-phishing emails are often similar to the ones received by the organization on a daily basis.
For example, if employees receive regular updates from the IT department with a subject line like Weekly security check, the spear phishing email could have a similar (or identical) subject line.
As workers level up on recognizing phishing emails, hackers turn their attention to spear phishing to obtain the information they want to steal. A lot of work is put into designing a spear phishing message, as compared to a regular phishing attack, in an attempt to make it as believable as possible.
Here’s how it works.
The email received by the employee seems to be from a trustworthy source. It goes without much notice, and the employee opens it to read the email content. Next, they’re prompted to click on a button or link which takes them to a malicious website masquerading as a known site where the victim has an account. The victim is then asked to change their password, and the scammer uses the keystring that the victim enters as their “old password” to access the victim’s accounts across platforms.
Hoxhunt’s personalized simulation lets you execute custom spear-phishing tactics as part of your cybersecurity training. The emails sent to your employees will appear to be sent from a trustworthy party or someone inside your organization. This is made possible through Hoxhunt’s interactive approach, which involves using the names of employees within the same company.
This ensures that the emails appear believable, simulating real-world spear-phishing attacks. For instance, an email might be sent to an employee from Jack from IT. But, if they’re paying close attention, they’ll be able to recognize that the sender’s address is from a different but similar domain e.g. email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Real Employees Reporting Real Threats
Hoxhunt’s global user network identifies threats faster than any other provider. Hundreds of thousands of users around the world report the latest phishing attacks to Hoxhunt. This knowledge sharing helps increase the security of individual users and organizations as a whole.
Hoxhunt’s reporting platform gathers user responses and generates real threat reports in a single click. This way, you’re able to better monitor your organization’s cybersecurity awareness levels and efficiently react to phishing threats.
With Hoxhunt, you not only improve your employees’ threat-detecting skills but also enable your security team to prioritize and respond to real attacks in a timely manner. Hoxhunt’s simulation training has led to a reporting rate of 60 to 75% on real threats.
The platform escalates high-level threats, enabling your security team and IT staff to view and tackle the threats that need an immediate response.
Implementing a strong cybersecurity culture begins with educating your employees. You need to make sure that everyone plays their part in keeping the organization’s cybersecurity intact.
Even though cybersecurity education for your employees may require a lot of time and effort to plan, communicate, and execute effectively, it will help your organization ward off cyber-attacks effectively.
Ideally, you need a phishing training platform like Hoxhunt, which makes it easy to report and escalate suspicious messages, offers individual learning paths on the fly, delivers a gamified user experience, and gives phishing education information in small, bite-sized chunks.
What are some of the major phishing attacks your company has faced and how were you able to tackle them? Let us know by commenting below.