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How To Run An Effective Phishing Simulation Program

Empower your employees with an effective phishing simulation training program. Learn how to protect your organization against social engineering cyber attacks with our phishing simulation training guide.

How To Run An Effective Phishing Simulation Program

Learn how to implement an effective phishing simulation program to train employees about cybersecurity threats. This blog post covers how to set up an effective phishing simulation program, including phishing education, setting simulation goals, selecting realistic scenarios, creating credible tests, and reviewing response rates to strengthen defense against growing phishing threats.

As phishing threats grow, with Verizon's 2023 DBIR revealing that 36% of all data breaches involve phishing, implementing an effective phishing simulation program is important to prevent social engineering attacks. Well-designed and regularly conducted phishing security tests teach employees for how to recognize and avoid dangerous phishing attacks on organizations.

Follow these steps to create an informative phishing awareness campaign that educates, tests with actionable scenarios, supports employees, and protects your company from growing cyber security threats.

5 Steps to Run An Effective Phishing Simulation Program

Step 1 - Introduce Phishing Education

Before running any simulations, conduct organizational-wide phishing education through seminars, courses, and onboarding training. Teach employees how to recognize phishing indicators such as suspicious links, spoofed domains, grammatical errors, urgent threats that necessitate immediate password changes, and contact information mismatches. Make sure employees understand the protocols, such as alerting IT to verify legitimacy. We have a series of free tip sheets and a security awareness training tool available to assist you with this.

Step 2 - Set And Define Explicit Goals

Define the specific learning objectives you hope to achieve from the phishing simulation, such as assessing department vulnerability, evaluating overall response rates, identifying security awareness knowledge gaps, and comparing improvements to previous tests. Consider whether you will transparently notify all employees ahead of time or keep it a secret to see how they naturally react. If informing employees, specify the exact reporting procedures to be followed if they suspect a test phishing attempt.

Step 3 - Choose Realistic Scenarios

Research common phishing emails in your industry to create scenarios that accurately reflect potential threats to your organization. Spoof vendor invoices with fake payment site links, impersonate HR notifications with malware attachments, spoof executive requests for W2 data, and so on. We offer phishing email templates in a variety of categories for modeling.

Step 4 - Craft Credible Phishing Simulation Tests

Match the email's language and links to the phishing template to ensure overall credibility. For example, if you're impersonating IT and alerting employees to an attempted network hacking incident, provide a convincing IT ticket number, incident report links that lead to a simulation landing page, etc. Staff would detect a variety of details in real attacks, such as sender address spelling errors or domain inconsistencies.

Step 5 - Evaluate Employee Response

Analyse simulation response rates, keeping track of which departments, individuals, and schemes produced the most victims so that future education can be tailored accordingly. Establish methods for tracking simulation exposure vs. training comprehension over time. Provide additional phishing identification resources and cybersecurity training to users in need of improvement.

How to Launch Phishing Simulation Using Top Brands?

Phishing tests with popular brands are important for cybersecurity training. They imitate real attackers' methods. These simulations enhance awareness and fine-tune individuals' ability to detect and respond to sophisticated phishing attempts.

Using a brand in security awareness training is important because:

  1. Incorporating familiar brands into training scenarios makes the learning experience more realistic. People interact with these brands daily, enhancing their engagement and attention.
  2. Testing individuals with simulated phishing attempts that mimic trusted brands evaluates their ability to identify fraudulent communications, a technique frequently exploited by cybercriminals.
  3. The inclusion of well-known brands in cybersecurity education improves memory retention. Familiarizing these brands helps embed cybersecurity lessons more deeply in learners' minds.
  4. Using popular brands in simulated attacks helps to keep the training current and applicable. This allows for demonstrating common tactics used by hackers in real-life situations.
  5. Practicing with well-known brands helps people get ready for real threats. This boosts their confidence and skills in stopping security breaches.

Using Top Brands: Phish or not to Phish?

The verdict is in: Continue with your phishing simulations.

Do not let fear or misinformation deter you. Keeping your network informed is essential, whether they're colleagues, friends, or family. Educate them about bad guys’ daily use of trusted brands in their phishing schemes. By teaching them to recognize and reject these deceitful tactics, they're not just safeguarding themselves.

Each lesson learned from a simulation is a step towards a more secure environment for everyone involved. So, despite potential obstacles, pressing on with phishing simulations is both valuable and necessary.

Using the top brand you also protect that brand against scams!

Phishing Simulation Checklist

Below, we have put together a step-by-step checklist that you can use to follow this guide:

StepChecklist ItemDone
1Conduct phishing education across the organization, covering phishing indicators (suspicious links, grammatical errors) and protocols for handling unexpected messages.Yes
2Define simulation objectives (department vulnerability, response rates), decide on transparency to employees, and establish reporting procedures.Yes
3Create industry-specific phishing scenarios using resources like our Phishing Simulator for realistic email templates.Yes
4Create phishing templates that mimic real phishing attacks, focusing on language, links, and details like sender address and domain.Yes
5Analyse response rates to identify vulnerable areas and improve future training, providing additional resources as needed.Yes

Get Started With Keepnet Labs Today

Everything listed above is what Keepnet Labs specializes in. We can assist you with employee education and setting up a variety of phishing simulations. To ensure continuous improvement, we constantly update our practices and platform.

We’d also like to highlight our Phishing Simulation Platform. This tool assists businesses in simulating realistic phishing attacks, providing a practical method for testing and training employee responsiveness in a real-world setting. It is a necessary supplement to the theoretical security training provided by the Awareness Educator.

Please see our YouTube video below and see how our phishing simulation works:



Schedule your 30-minute demo now!

You'll learn how to:
tickSet up automatic security awareness training for your employees that more than 4 million people trust.
tickSend security awareness training to your employees through SMS.
tickChoose from a wide range of materials from more than 10 vendors for thorough training without being limited to just one supplier.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Phishing Simulation Program?

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A phishing simulation program is like a practice drill for your team. It uses fake phishing attacks to see how well your employees can spot and avoid them. These simulations mimic real scams to teach everyone how to stay safe from cyber crooks. Keepnet Labs offers tools and resources to make setting up these drills easy and effective.

Why Do We Need Phishing Education First?

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Starting with education is crucial because it lays the groundwork. Before you test your team with simulations, you want to make sure they know what phishing is and how to recognize the common signs, like weird links or spelling mistakes. It's like learning the rules of the road before taking a driving test. Keepnet Labs provides tip sheets and training tools to help get everyone up to speed.

How Do I Set Goals for My Phishing Simulation?

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Setting clear goals helps you focus on what you want to achieve with your phishing simulation. Maybe you want to see how different departments handle phishing attempts, or you're curious about the overall awareness level in your company. Deciding this upfront helps you tailor the simulation to get the insights you're after. Whether you let your employees know about the drill ahead of time is up to you.

What Makes a Good Phishing Scenario?

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A good phishing scenario feels real. It should be something your employees could actually encounter in their inbox. This might mean creating fake vendor invoices or HR notifications that look like they could come from within your company. Keepnet Labs has a bunch of ready-made templates you can use to create believable fake phishing emails.

How Can I Analyze the Results of a Phishing Simulation?

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Analyzing the results involves looking at who fell for the fake phishing attempts and which scenarios were most effective. This shows you where your team's strengths and weaknesses are, allowing you to focus your training efforts more effectively. Keepnet Labs' tools can help track responses and provide extra resources for those who need a bit more help in spotting scams.

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