We live in an era where organizations are increasingly aware of the ever-changing cybersecurity landscape. Despite billions of dollars invested worldwide to fend off cyberthreats, cybercriminals still manage to penetrate even the strongest security defenses.
They relentlessly exploit vulnerabilities with one primary target in mind — employees. Cybercriminals perceive employees as the weakest link in an organization’s cybersecurity perimeter. However, you can address and shore up this vulnerability through proper training.
Strengthening employee security awareness is paramount in safeguarding your business. In this blog, we’ll look at why employees are prime targets for cybercriminals and explore the critical significance of enhancing their security awareness. By recognizing vulnerabilities, we can proactively mitigate risks and empower your workforce to actively defend against cyberattacks.
The Vulnerabilities Within
Is your organization dealing with any of the following?
Lack of Awareness
One of the key reasons employees fall prey to cybercriminals is their limited knowledge of common cybersecurity threats, techniques and best practices. Cybercriminals can launch phishing attacks, malware infections and social engineering ploys by exploiting this knowledge gap among your employees.
Employees often hold privileged access to critical systems, sensitive data or administrative privileges that cybercriminals crave. By compromising your employees’ accounts, cybercriminals can gain unauthorized access to valuable assets, wreaking havoc within your organization.
Social Engineering Tactics
Cybercriminals are masters of manipulation, leveraging social engineering tactics to deceive employees into disclosing sensitive information, sharing login credentials or unwittingly compromising security measures. These tactics can exploit human emotions, trust and curiosity, making your employees unintentional accomplices in cybercrime.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Trend
The rising trend of BYOD can expose your organization to additional risks. Employees accessing business information and systems from personal devices that often lack the robust security controls of company-issued devices create vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit.
Remote/Hybrid Work Challenges
The shift towards remote and hybrid work arrangements introduces new security challenges for businesses like yours. Unsecured home networks, shared devices and distractions can divert employee focus from cybersecurity best practices, increasing their susceptibility to attacks.
Best Practices for Developing an Engaging Employee Security Training Program
To fortify your organization’s security, implement an engaging employee security training program using these best practices:
Assess Cybersecurity Needs
Understand the specific cybersecurity risks and requirements your organization faces. Identify areas where employees may be particularly vulnerable.
Define Clear Objectives
Set concrete goals for your training program, outlining the desired outcomes and essential skills employees should acquire.
Develop Engaging Content
Create interactive and easily digestible training materials for your employees. Use real-life examples and scenarios to make the content relatable and memorable.
Tailor Targeted Content
Customize the training to address your organization’s unique challenges and risks. Make it relevant to employees’ roles and responsibilities.
Deliver Consistent, Continuous Training
Establish a regular training schedule to reinforce cybersecurity awareness and foster a culture of ongoing learning. Keep your employees up to date with the latest threats and preventive measures.
Measure Effectiveness and Gather Feedback
Continuously evaluate your training program’s effectiveness through assessments and feedback mechanisms. Use the data to refine and improve the program.
Foster a Cybersecurity Culture
Encourage employees to take an active role in cybersecurity by promoting open communication, incident reporting and shared responsibility for protecting company assets.
Collaborate for Success
Investing in employee security awareness can transform your workforce into a formidable line of defense, safeguarding your business from cybercriminals and ensuring a more resilient future.
Ready to empower your employees as cybercrime fighters but unsure where to start?
Contact Databranch today at 716-373-4467 x6 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We can discuss our Breach Prevention Platform and Security Awareness Training with simulated phishing tests that engages your team and strengthens your organization’s defenses against evolving cyberthreats.
The Importance of Training
We all learn differently. While some individuals can read instructions one time and know what to do, there are others who benefit from being taught visually or by ‘doing’. Regardless of how you learn, having a single approach for everyone isn’t ideal.
The one thing we do know about learning, or training, is that when it comes to cybersecurity, repetition is important. That doesn’t mean taking the same course every quarter, or re-reading the manual once a year. Smart and safe cyber practices are critical to your business’s success and human error is the number one reason that breaches occur. You and your colleagues are your company’s greatest risk, but also your greatest asset.
We offer ongoing and interactive training. Why? Because to stay secure, you need keep up with cybercriminals and their ever-changing tactics. This isn’t a one-and-done approach. Cyber-crimes are always adapting to the way we live and work, so we need to adapt to mitigate the risks. These nefarious characters want to catch you off guard. Which means that as soon as a new device is released, a pop culture story becomes news, or a pandemic hits the world, they are ready to dupe you. That might mean they’ll come after your money, your identification, or hit you with a slow burn that gets them into your business, and you don’t realize it until months later…but they are there lurking and waiting for their next score.
Our approach mixes video training, with integrated tools that teach on the job. This will help to address not only the variety of ways that people learn, but also the variety of ways that you can be targeted! If you are a current client and want to ensure that you’re maximizing the tools and resources that we offer, or you’re new here and interested in learning more about how you can work with our team to protect your business, let’s talk today!
The Cybersecurity Training Courses for 2023 are available now! Contact Databranch today at 716-373-4467 x115 or email@example.com for more information on these courses and how you can enroll in a security awareness training program.
Phishing. It seems you can’t read an article on cybersecurity without it coming up. That’s because phishing is still the number one delivery vehicle for cyberattacks.
A cybercriminal may want to steal employee login credentials, launch a ransomware attack, or possibly plant spyware to steal sensitive info. For a hacker, sending a phishing email can accomplish all of this.
80% of surveyed security professionals say that phishing campaigns have significantly increased post-pandemic.
Phishing not only continues to work, but it’s also increasing in volume due to the increase in remote workers. Many employees are now working from home and don’t have the same network protections they had when working at the office.
Why has phishing continued to work so well after all these years? Aren’t people finally learning what phishing looks like?
It’s true that people are generally more aware of phishing emails and have gotten better at stopping them. However, it’s also true that these emails are becoming harder to recognize as scammers evolve their tactics.
One of the newest tactics is particularly hard to detect, the reply-chain phishing attack.
What is a Reply-Chain Phishing Attack?
Just about everyone is familiar with reply chains in email. An email is sent to one or more people, one replies, and that reply sits at the bottom of the new message. Then another person chimes in on the conversation, replying to the same email.
Soon, you have a chain of email replies on a particular topic. It lists each reply one under the other so everyone can follow the conversation.
You don’t expect a phishing email tucked inside that ongoing email conversation. Most people are expecting phishing to come in as a new message, not a message included in an ongoing reply chain.
The reply-chain phishing attack is particularly insidious because it does exactly that. It inserts a convincing phishing email in the ongoing thread of an email reply chain.
How Does a Hacker Gain Access to the Reply Chain?
How does a hacker gain access to the reply chain conversation? By hacking the email account of one of those people copied on the email chain.
The hacker can email from an email address that the other recipients recognize and trust. They also gain the benefit of reading down through the chain of replies. This enables them to craft a response that looks like it fits.
For example, they may see that everyone has been weighing in on a new product idea. So, they send a reply that says, “I’ve drafted up some thoughts on the new product, here’s a link to see them.”
The link will go to a malicious phishing site. The site might infect a visitor’s system with malware or present a form to steal more login credentials.
The reply won’t seem like a phishing email at all. It will be convincing because:
- It comes from an email address of a colleague. This address has already been participating in the email conversation.
- It may sound natural and reference items in the discussion.
- It may use personalization. The email can call others by the names the hacker has seen in the reply chain.
Business Email Compromise is Increasing
Business email compromise (BEC) is so common that it now has its own acronym. Weak and unsecured passwords lead to email breaches. So do data breaches that reveal databases full of user logins. Both are contributors to how common BEC is becoming.
In 2021, 77% of organizations saw business email compromise attacks. This is up 65% compared to the year before.
Credential theft has become the main cause of data breaches globally.
The reply-chain phishing attack is one of the ways that hackers turn that BEC into money. They either use it to plant ransomware or other malware or to steal sensitive data to sell on the Dark Web.
Tips for Addressing Reply-Chain Phishing
Here are some ways that you can lessen the risk of reply-chain phishing in your organization:
- Use a Business Password Manager: This reduces the risk that employees will reuse passwords across many apps. It also keeps them from using weak passwords since they won’t need to remember them anymore. Click here to learn more about our password manager solution, LastPass.
- Put Multi-Factor Controls on Email Accounts: Present a system challenge (question or required code). Using this for email logins from a strange IP address can stop account compromise. You can learn more about MFA here.
- Teach Employees to be Aware: Awareness is a big part of catching anything that might be slightly “off” in an email reply. Many attackers do make mistakes. Our Security Awareness Training will give your employees the tools they need to identify threats. Click here to learn more.
How Strong Are Your Email Account Protections?
Do you have enough protection in place on your business email accounts to prevent a breach? Let us know if you’d like some help!
Databranch has a foundation security suite with systems in place to identify any anomalies before cyber criminals have a chance to do significant damage to your network. Contact us at 716-373-4467 x 15, firstname.lastname@example.org, or request more information below.
Article used with permission from The Technology Press.