How To Phish Employees – Train Them The Hard Way

Any IT security professional will admit that the end-users or the employees of business organizations are the weakest links in the chain when it comes to cybersecurity. Managing this problem is a formidable challenge. Hackers entice employees with social engineering methods to part with confidential information. Unfortunately, many people do fall for the trap.

Educate The Staff

How do you solve this problem? The ideal solution is to educate the staff to ensure that they do not fall prey to these cybercriminals. The corporate entities that get the respective approval from their management benefit the most. There can be budgetary issues, but they can be overcome. The bigger problem is to overcome the resistance from legal and HR departments. These departments opine that it is not right on the part of the IT Security team to phish employees to teach them how to prevent phishing. However, one has to rise above such office politics to educate the ultimate end users.

Securing your IT assets is essential to the business. If it entails phishing employees to teach them the hard way, so be it. One cannot expect the employees to learn how to counter phishing attempts unless they learn what phishing is.

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How Do You Tackle This Problem?

  1. People might say that it is immoral to phish employees. The organization may hesitate to phish employees, but one cannot expect the cybercriminals to extend the same courtesy. Hence, it is better to be prepared than to regret later on. Otherwise, you could end up becoming a victim like Yahoo, JP Morgan, Target, and Home Depot.
  2. Small and medium business enterprises display a false sense of security that they would not become a target of cybercriminals. It is a wrong notion that hackers only attack large corporations and institutions. On the contrary, the reverse is also true. Smaller entities are at a higher risk because they lack the expertise to tackle the threats. Secondly, they do not have the time or budget to defend their systems. These small business entities are usually the first ones that fall prey to such attacks.
  3. Hackers are inventing new ways of infiltrating systems. Hence, businesses have to update their security regularly. The latest ransomware has the potential to wreak havoc on the best of computer systems. No business concern can afford such an incident.
  4. The Wall Street Journal reasoned that the hacking incidents at Sony, Home Depot, and Target opened the eyes of the executives at these organizations. It drove home the fact that the lack of adequate security measures was the reason for the cyber leak. Today, the top executives of such institutions do not bat an eyelid when it comes to providing security for their computer networks. Therefore, it is easy to obtain permission from the management to phish employees and teach them how to prevent phishing attacks.
  5. Employees might not be experts in matters concerning IT security. However, they have their individual areas of expertise. It will not take much time for the employees to realize that they need to equip themselves to overcome hacking attempts. Hence, they will never oppose any method employed by the IT Security to educate them. Even if it amounts to phishing employees, it should not be a problem for them at all.

We have seen the extent of the problem and the challenges that an organization can face when it decides to phish employees for their benefit. Now, we shall look at the solutions to the issue.

The Recommended Solutions

  1. Explain the five points discussed above to the management and obtain permission to conduct a free phishing security test. You can also highlight how vulnerable the employees are and how it could affect the organization, in its entirety. These facts can help you not only to convince them and secure permission but also get your budget approved.
  2. Check out how affordable this exercise will be for your enterprise.
  3. Initiate the campaign with the permission and tacit support of your CEO and other top officials. It is better to provide a deadline and announce incentives for the initial security awareness training programs.
  4. Schedule your phishing tests at monthly intervals and make them enjoyable for all. Initiate a competition between two sets of employees to see which team performs better. It is also a great way to introduce teamwork.
  5. Keep the employees as well as the management informed about the performance and progress.

The world is changing continually. Hence, the things taught today can become obsolete tomorrow. It is imperative to update your knowledge in this regard. Treat this exercise as a never-ending lesson that will teach you new things daily.

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