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Bring Security Awareness to Your Employees

April 26, 2023

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Below is a summary of this post:

  • Meeting employees where they are is an important approach to creating a more engaged and motivated workforce.
  • To engage employees about social engineering, it's important to create a culture of security awareness and provide employees with the knowledge and skills to recognize and respond to social engineering attacks.
  • Tailored training, real-world examples, and interactive activities can help engage employees about social engineering risks and best practices.
  • Slack can be used as a tool for engagement about social engineering, including creating dedicated channels, posting regular updates, creating interactive quizzes or surveys, and organizing team challenges or competitions.
  • By leveraging Slack for engagement about social engineering, organizations can help reduce the risk of successful social engineering attacks.

Keeping your workforce up to date with current social engineering scams is required to reduce the risk of human actions. But, with new technologies, especially AI and ChatGPT, new tools, content, and types of attacks are highly dynamic (think weekly). How do you keep employees up to date, maintain a security mindset, and reduce the chances of success of social engineering attacks? In this post, we cover several approaches employed by companies.

Conduct Regular Phishing Simulations

One of the most effective ways to keep employees up to date with the latest social engineering scams is by conducting regular phishing simulations. These simulations can test employee awareness and identify areas for improvement.

Phishing simulations involve sending fake phishing emails to employees, mimicking real-world attacks. The goal is to see how many employees fall for the scam and click on a malicious link or download an attachment.

After the simulation, you can provide immediate feedback to employees who fell for the scam and offer additional training resources to help them recognize future phishing attempts. You can also use the results of these simulations to identify areas where more education is needed, such as identifying suspicious email addresses or subject lines.

By conducting regular phishing simulations, you can help your employees maintain a security mindset and reduce the chances of success of social engineering attacks.

Implement a "See Something, Say Something" Culture

Phishing simulations can only do so much. Sometimes, employees will encounter a real phishing email or social engineering scam that was not covered in the simulation. That's why it's important to create a culture where employees feel comfortable reporting suspicious activity.

Implementing a "see something, say something" policy encourages employees to report any suspicious activity they encounter. This could be anything from an unsolicited email from an unknown sender to a strange phone call from someone claiming to be IT support.

To make this policy effective, it's important to create clear guidelines for reporting and ensure that all reports are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. Employees should also be educated on the types of suspicious activity they should look out for and how they can report it securely.

By creating a culture where employees feel comfortable reporting suspicious activity, you can reduce the chances of successful social engineering attacks and better protect your organization from cyber threats.

The Importance of Vigilance: Real-Life Examples

Providing real-life examples of successful social engineering attacks can be an effective way to highlight the importance of remaining vigilant. These examples can help employees understand the potential consequences of falling for a scam and motivate them to take security seriously.

One such example is the 2016 breach of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). In this attack, hackers used a spear-phishing email to gain access to the DNC's network. Once inside, they were able to steal sensitive information and leak it to the public, causing significant damage to the organization's reputation.

Another example is the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack. This attack exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows and spread rapidly across networks, encrypting files and demanding ransom payments. While not a traditional social engineering attack, WannaCry demonstrates how quickly and devastatingly malware can spread if employees are not vigilant about security.

These examples show that social engineering attacks can have serious consequences for both individuals and organizations. By remaining vigilant and following best practices for cybersecurity, employees can help prevent these types of attacks from succeeding.

Use Gamification to Make Security Training Fun and Engaging

Security training can often be dry and dull, leading to disengaged employees who may not retain the information they've learned. One way to combat this is by incorporating gamification into your security training.

Gamification involves using game-like elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards to make learning more interactive and engaging. By incorporating these elements into your security training, you can make it more fun for employees while also encouraging them to learn and retain important information.

For example, you could create a phishing simulation game where employees earn points for correctly identifying phishing emails. Or you could create a "security champion" program where employees earn badges for completing various security-related tasks or attending training sessions.

By making security training fun and engaging through gamification, you can help ensure that your employees are retaining important information and maintaining a strong security mindset.

Engaging Employees About Social Engineering Where They Are

In today's digital age, social engineering attacks are becoming increasingly common. These attacks rely on exploiting human vulnerabilities to gain access to sensitive information or systems. To protect against these threats, it's essential to engage employees where they are and provide them with the knowledge and skills to recognize and respond to social engineering attacks.

Here are some ways to engage employees about social engineering where they are:

  • Tailor training to individual needs: Providing tailored training that takes into account the unique needs and learning styles of individual employees can increase the effectiveness of training and help ensure that employees retain what they learn.
  • Use real-world examples: Using real-world examples of social engineering attacks can help make the training more engaging and relevant to employees.
  • Encourage participation: Encouraging participation through interactive training activities and simulations can help employees better understand the risks of social engineering and how to respond to them.

By engaging employees about social engineering where they are, you can help create a culture of security awareness and reduce the risk of successful social engineering attacks.

Using Slack for Engagement About Social Engineering

Slack is a popular team communication tool that can also be used to engage employees about social engineering. Here are some ways to use Slack for this purpose:

  • Dedicated channels: Creating dedicated channels on Slack for discussing social engineering and related security topics can help keep employees informed and engaged.
  • Regular updates: Posting regular updates on social engineering news and best practices can help raise awareness and keep the topic top-of-mind for employees.
  • Interactive quizzes: Creating interactive quizzes or surveys on Slack can help employees test their knowledge of social engineering risks and best practices.
  • Team challenges: Organizing team challenges or competitions around social engineering awareness can help build engagement and encourage participation.
  • Surveys and Quizzes: At Haekka, we leverage Pulses to engage users in Slack with ad-hoc and recurring social engineering surveys and quizzes.
  • Scam of the Week: Haekka customers also get current events nudges each week in Slack.

By using Slack for engagement about social engineering, you can leverage an existing tool to help create a culture of security awareness and reduce the risk of successful social engineering attacks.

At Haekka, we leverage Slack to build a security mindset over time. It's a powerful way to keep employees connected to security.

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