Security awareness training creates a human firewall
Something scary has been happening across Texas. Thieves are getting increasingly creative and sophisticated, conning a record number of Texans out of money through cyber attacks. How bad is it? Well, the FBI reported that Texans have lost $277 million to cyber attacks over the past five years.
The Lone Star state has what every cybercriminal wants: Access to a huge pool of thriving businesses that range from SMBs to huge international corporations. And we’re all potential victims, if only we open the virtual front door.
But isn’t antivirus and firewall software supposed to keep hackers out? How can you keep your organization safe when even the well-protected City of El Paso recently fell victim to a $3 million phishing scam?
The problem: Phishing messages sneak past your antivirus.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s extremely important to have quality antivirus and antimalware software. But think of them as reactive tools. They can do a great job defending you against known threats, but cybercriminals are increasingly creative and wily in their quest to work around these reactive measures.
One of their favorite workarounds is targeting individuals (especially those with sensitive access and credentials) through social engineering scams. They send cleverly disguised emails, known as “spoof” or “spear phishing” messages posing as legitimate entities. The employee recognizes credential cues, like a familiar name, image, or title, and provides access or information to the criminal. They essentially open the front door and roll out the welcome mat.
And these scams can be very tricky. For example, in Harris County, there was a recent successful phishing scam that emailed home buyers with instructions (appearing to be from their title company) to wire closing costs. The criminal was able to guess a number very close to the actual closing costs, so the victim paid without a second thought. Scams like these need more than reactive security measures — they need proactive humans who are trained to spot them.
The solution: Build a human firewall to stop phishing threats.
Cybercriminals find sneaky ways to bypass software, but they haven’t yet found a way to overcome well-trained employees. That’s right — humans, with all our propensity for error and our lack of circuitry, are actually one of the best proactive security tools you can deploy. The firewall that wears pants.
So just as employees are a prime target for spear-phishing crimes, they can also be your best defense when they’re trained to spot them. One of the most effective ways to train employees to spot spear phishing and other suspicious messaging is through security awareness training.
These trainings can send realistic (but safe) phishing emails to your team and track how they deal with them. If an employee engages by opening a shady link, or responding to the sender, they’re automatically redirected to a respectful training. They’ll learn how to verify emails from legitimate senders and how to spot the hallmarks of scams.
Voila! You’ve built a human firewall that’s trained to protect your organization from:
1. Non-compliance fees
2. Ransomware extortion
4. Irretrievable data
5. Loss of reputation to your existing and potential clients
Security awareness training is one of the best security investments you can make as a modern business. And it can be quite affordable.
Train your human firewall
We’d love to help you guard your organization from the inside out through security awareness training. Get in touch with Varay today and start equipping your team to fight spear-phishing attacks.
Contact us today to start the conversation.
*Bonus tip* Avoid holiday phishing scams
Businesses and individuals are particularly vulnerable during the holidays. If you receive an email that looks like a gift certificate (from Amazon, for example), take a minute to reach out to the sender and verify its legitimacy.
Don’t reply to the message. Instead, use your address book or call the sender. You can also learn a lot from hovering your mouse over the email address in the original message. If it looks funny (with an extra _ or numbers, for example), it’s probably a scam.