What do you think is the weakest link in the security chain?  Many think it comes from unstable connections and the lack of firewalls, virus protection, and other technical measures.  But the weakest link is actually humans.  Yes, the same people we hire and trust to keep our businesses running smoothly.  

It’s not that employees intentionally do their companies wrong; it’s that they don’t have the knowledge they need.  To be successful you must be aware.  And since phishing attempts have grown over 65% in the past year alone, everyone is at risk.  Know your facts and train your employees to avoid phishing scams.  The time, money, and resources you save will be well worth it.

What is Phishing?

Usually carried out through email, phishing scams target individuals or groups in an attempt to gain sensitive information.  These emails may be personalized and may appear to be from a real person or company.  They also have links and/or attachments that serve as “bait”.  These illegitimate links and attachments are infected with viruses and malware that when opened, can give a hacker access to your information.

Why is Phishing Dangerous?

For a company, falling victim to a phishing scam can have severe financial and reputational impacts; and all it takes is one click from one person.  If just one person connected to your network clicks on a dangerous email, the whole company and all of its data can be put at risk.

Hackers purposely embed email attachments with viruses and malware knowing that they will spread across a network.  And with so many computers infected, the bad actor can acquire more data.  They are typically looking for names, addresses, passwords, social security numbers, and financial details; anything that has value to them or other cybercriminals.

Luckily, employees can be trained to avoid phishing scams, and when employees gain knowledge, their company gains security.

How Can Employees Be Trained to Avoid Phishing Scams?

Here are four different ways to effectively train your employees to avoid phishing scams:

  • Hold a meeting where qualified personnel lead a presentation.
    • Your IT provider is a great resource as they deal with phishing and data breaches regularly.
    • Your employees will also be able to get definitions, facts, impacts, and answers to any questions they may have.
  • Provide handouts with examples of what to avoid. Employees can keep these documents as useful references.
  • Put your employees to the test. Have your IT provider send out fake phishing emails.
    • You can then view the response and number of clicks made by employees.
  • Reference and repeat your training. Practice makes perfect and reiteration is a great way to reinforce and prepare for real phishing attempts.

How Long Does It Take Employees to Become Familiar with Phishing Scams?

There is no definite timeline that defines when your employees will catch on to phishing scams.  That’s why repetitive training is so important and why fake phishing attempts are a helpful tool.  By sending out fake phishing emails, you can see which individuals are clicking on the “dangerous email” and offer them further training.  Some employees will comprehend the information immediately, and others may need extra help.  There’s no definite timeline to learning, but there is a definite need for phishing awareness.

Ultimately, phishing protection is a team sport.   Employees must be aware of the risks and be able to recognize fake emails.  Just one weak link can break a chain and falling victim to a phishing scam can quickly impact an entire company.  Don’t let that happen to you.  Stay safe and train your employees to avoid phishing scams.

CRU Solutions can help train your employees to avoid phishing scams.  To learn how, contact us.