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What Is Phishing Simulation?

Prevent phishing attacks from harming you or your organization by incorporating phishing simulation into your security awareness training. This tool allows you to identify and learn how to respond effectively to real phishing email threats.

What Is Phishing Simulation?

Phishing simulation is a security training method that uses phishing simulator software to create fake phishing attacks. This helps in training employees about the dangers of real phishing attempts. A phishing simulation tool mimics real-life phishing emails without the harmful effects.

The main goal of phishing simulation training programs is to test if employees can spot and correctly handle a phishing email, which is an email that tries to trick them into giving away sensitive information, clicking on harmful links, or downloading malware.

Picture 1: Diagram of how phishing email attack works

Why phishing simulations are important?

Phishing simulations or simulated phishing tests are crucial in organizational cybersecurity strategy. Despite debates in both research and practitioner communities about their efficacy, the importance of these simulations is underscored by several key factors:

  • Realistic Risk Assessment: Phishing simulations enable organizations to gauge the current vulnerability of their staff to phishing attacks. By simulating real-life phishing scenarios, organizations can identify potential weaknesses in their cybersecurity armor and take proactive measures to address them.
  • Awareness and Training: These simulations serve as valuable educational tools. Employees exposed to simulated attacks are more likely to recognize and avoid real phishing attempts. This heightened awareness is critical in an era where phishing attacks are increasingly sophisticated.
  • Response Evaluation: Conducting phishing simulations allows organizations to evaluate how employees react to phishing attempts. This includes whether they can identify phishing emails and how they report potential threats. Such evaluation is vital for refining cybersecurity strategies.
  • Improving Security Culture: Regular phishing simulations contribute to developing a security-conscious culture within an organization. When routinely tested and trained, employees become more vigilant and responsible for cybersecurity.
  • Compliance and Legal Protection: In some cases, conducting phishing simulations is part of regulatory compliance. Demonstrating that employees are regularly trained and tested can be crucial for legal protection in a cybersecurity incident.
  • Cost-Effective Security Enhancement: Compared to the potential losses from a successful phishing attack, the cost of running simulated phishing campaigns is relatively low. They offer a cost-effective way to boost an organization's defense against cyber threats.
Picture 2: Keepnet’s advanced executive summary of social engineering campaigns report

Despite the challenges and debates surrounding their implementation, phishing simulations remain a vital component in the cybersecurity toolkit of modern organizations. They offer a multifaceted approach to enhancing cyber resilience, ranging from risk assessment and employee training to compliance and overall security culture development.

How Does a Simulated Phishing Attack Work?

Phishing simulation tools send simulated phishing emails to employees within a secure environment, utilizing SaaS platforms like Keepnet Labs' comprehensive platform, which includes Vishing, Smishing, Quishing, MFA phishing, Callback Phishing, and Email Phishing simulation tools.

In a standard phishing simulation campaign, you would go through the following stages:

Stage of Phishing Simulation CampaignDescriptionAdditional Notes
Preparation and PlanningCustomizing the phishing email using a phishing simulation tool. Tailoring the email to make it appear authentic.Importance of aligning the simulation with real-world phishing techniques. Deciding on the scope and scale of the simulation.
Email DispatchSending the prepared phishing email to employees' inboxes.Timing of email dispatch can be varied to test response at different hours. Ensuring adherence to ethical guidelines and company policies.
Employee InteractionRecording actions such as opening the email, clicking links, or entering data on an HTML landing page.Different types of interactions can be tested, like attachments or requests for information. Ensuring the simulation is not overly distressing or deceptive.
Data Collection and ReportingCollecting data on employee interactions.Forming a comprehensive report to assess responses and the company's overall phishing risk score.Report might include statistics like click-through rates, data entry incidents, and immediate reporting of the email. Analysis of the effectiveness of current security training.
Identification and TrainingIdentifying employees who need further security awareness training based on their interactions with the phishing email.Tailored training programs can be developed based on the specific weaknesses identified in the campaign. Ongoing training and refreshers to maintain awareness.
Follow-Up and Continuous ImprovementImplementing changes based on insights gained from the simulation.Planning subsequent simulations to measure progress and adjust strategies.Continuous improvement approach to adapt to evolving phishing techniques. Regular re-evaluation of training effectiveness and employee vigilance.

Table 1: Stage of Phishing simulation campaign

Stage of sending phishing simulation campaign to employees.png
Picture 3: Stage of sending phishing simulation campaign to employees

How Effective Are Phishing Simulations?

Phishing simulation software is a key component in cybersecurity training, but its effectiveness can vary based on several factors. These simulations are designed to imitate real phishing attacks, providing a practical and engaging way for employees to learn about cybersecurity threats. However, the effectiveness of phishing simulators depends on how they are implemented and followed up.

Here are some key points that determine their effectiveness:

Stage of Phishing Simulation CampaignDescriptionImpact on Effectiveness
Realism of SimulationsPhishing simulators should closely mimic real phishing attempts to provide realistic training scenarios.Higher realism leads to better preparedness against actual attacks.
Employee Engagement and ReactionThe way employees react to and engage with the simulations is crucial.Positive engagement indicates a higher level of awareness and learning.
Training and FeedbackProviding immediate feedback and training after simulations.Enhances learning and corrects behavior, turning mistakes into lessons.
Measurement of ImprovementATracking improvements in employee responses over time.Quantifies the effectiveness and highlights areas needing more focus.
Cultural ImpactThe effect of phishing test simulators on organizational culture.Effective simulations build a vigilant and responsible security culture.
Legal and Ethical ConsiderationsEnsuring phishing assessments are ethically and legally sound.Preserve trust and compliance, avoiding counterproductive outcomes.
Regular and Varied TestingContinuously updating and varying the phishing simulation templates.Keeps training relevant and employees alert to evolving threats.

Table 2: Factor Influencing Effectiveness of a Phishing Simulation Campaign

Moreover, recent data from Keepnet Labs' phishing awareness training reveals a significant improvement in employee vigilance. Within six months, the ability of employees to recognize and report suspicious phishing attempts rose to up to 90%. This substantial increase demonstrates the tangible impact of well-structured phishing simulations on an organization's cybersecurity posture.

See sample progress below:

Picture 4: Percentage of employees who recognize and report phishing attacks in 6 months.

The effectiveness of the phishing attack simulator extends beyond mere statistics. These simulated phishing test softwares are proactive in the ongoing battle against cyber threats. They not only test but also enhance the awareness and reflexes of employees when confronted with potential cyber threats.

Is It Possible to Make Phishing Simulation Easy?

Simplifying phishing simulation training is key to enhancing their effectiveness and ensuring better engagement from employees. Organizations can adopt certain strategies to make these simulations more accessible and less daunting. Here are some methods to achieve this:

  • User-Friendly Tools: Employing intuitive phishing simulation software simplifies participation. Easy-to-use interfaces and straightforward setup processes encourage broader employee involvement.
  • Automated Campaigns: Automation in sending simulated phishing emails ensures consistency and reduces manual workload. Regular, automated phishing training tests maintain ongoing vigilance without constant oversight.
  • Pre-Designed Templates: Utilizing phishing campaign templates that replicate common phishing attacks can speed up the setup of simulations, allowing for quick customization to fit specific training needs.
  • Clear Instructions and Feedback: Providing explicit instructions and immediate feedback helps employees understand their actions during the phishing training simulation, enhancing the learning experience.
  • Scalable Difficulty Levels: Gradually increasing the complexity of phishing simulation tool helps build employee confidence and skills, starting with easier scenarios and moving towards more challenging ones.
  • Integration with Awareness Training Programs: Embedding phishing simulation software within broader cybersecurity training contextualizes the exercises, making them more relevant and engaging for employees.
  • Engagement and Incentives: Incorporating gamification and incentives can increase participation. Rewards for correctly identifying phishing attempts make the process more enjoyable and motivating.
  • Feedback from Employees: Soliciting employee feedback on the phishing simulation tool provides valuable insights for future improvements, ensuring that the training remains effective and user-friendly.
  • No Whitelisting: Avoiding whitelisting of phishing simulation emails ensures that the test conditions are easy and quick without the challenge of configurations.
  • No False Positives in Reports: Ensuring that phishing simulator reports are accurate and free from false positives is crucial. Accurate reporting helps in correctly assessing the effectiveness of the training and the preparedness of the employees.

By incorporating these strategies, phishing simulation tools can be made easier and more effective. Simplifying the process not only encourages better participation but also ensures that the training is more reflective of real-world scenarios, thereby better preparing employees to handle actual phishing attempts.

10 Key Features of the Best Phishing Simulation Software?

When selecting the best phishing simulation software, it's essential to consider various features that make the tool effective, user-friendly, and efficient. The right phishing simulator software can significantly enhance an organization's cybersecurity training program by providing realistic phishing campaign scenarios, detailed analytics, and user engagement.

Here's a table highlighting the 10 key features to look for in top-notch phishing simulation software:

Voice Phishing SimulationVoice phishing simulations that mimic voice-based phishing attacks, often via phone calls or voicemails.Enhances employee awareness of voice phishing tactics, building skills to recognize and respond to telephonic scams.
SMS Phishing SimulationSimulated SMS phishing attacks sent through text messages, replicating tactics used in SMS-based phishing.Prepares employees to identify phishing attempts in text messages, a common vector for cyber attacks.
MFA Phishing SimulationMFA phishing simulator that focus on phishing attempts designed to bypass Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) systems.Trains employees on the sophistication of phishing attacks, especially in the context of seemingly secure MFA protocols.
QR Code Phishing SimulationSimulated phishing attacks using QR codes, which when scanned, lead to malicious sites or actions.Educates employees about the potential risks associated with QR codes, a newer and increasingly popular attack vector.
Callback Phishing SimulationInvolves receiving simulated phishing messages or emails that prompt the user to make a phone call, often to a fake 'help desk' or similar service.Enhances employee's ability to discern legitimate requests for callbacks from fraudulent ones, a less common but emerging threat.
No Whitelisting ChallengesAvoids the need to whitelist phishing domains for phishing test simulations, which can be challenging and time-consuming.Boosts productivity and efficiency for administrators, allowing admins to allocate their time to other important tasks, as this approach saves significant time.
No False PositivesGuaranteeing the accuracy of simulation detection, ensuring that legitimate emails are not incorrectly flagged as phishing attempts.Maintains the integrity of the phishing simulation and avoids confusion or distrust among employees.
Generative AIUsing advanced AI to generate realistic and varied phishing content, adapting to different scenarios and employee responses.Ensures that simulations are dynamic and reflective of the constantly evolving nature of phishing tactics, providing up-to-date training.
Automated CampaignsThe ability to schedule and automate phishing attack simulation campaigns saves time and ensures regular testing.Streamlines the process of conducting phishing simulations, allowing for consistent and regular training without requiring constant manual input.
Detailed ReportingComprehensive reporting features provide insights into employee responses, success rates, and areas for improvement.Facilitates a deeper understanding of the effectiveness of the training program, enabling targeted improvements and adjustments.

Table 3: 10 must have features in a phishing simulation software

Picture 5: 10 best features for an effective phishing simulation software

These features encompass many capabilities necessary for effective phishing simulation software. From addressing various phishing methods to ensuring efficient and accurate training processes, these features strengthen an organization's defense against sophisticated cyber threats.

Get Help from Keepnet against Simulated Phishing Attacks

To combat this growing phishing threat effectively, consider using the power of Keepnet - a reliable and user-friendly phishing solution offering comprehensive phishing simulation support.

  • Easy to Use Phishing Simulation Training: Keepnet prides itself on its user-friendly interface and intuitive design, making it accessible to cybersecurity experts and novices. Whether you are new to phishing attack simulators or a seasoned professional, Keepnet's phishing simulator platform ensures a seamless experience in creating, launching, and managing simulated phishing campaigns.
  • Customizable Phishing Simulation Software: One of the standout features of Keepnet is its exceptional level of customization. Tailor your phishing simulation tests to mirror real-world scenarios specific to your organization. Keepnet offers unmatched flexibility, from crafting convincing phishing emails to simulating sophisticated attack scenarios. This adaptability empowers you to address the unique security challenges your business faces.
  • Free Phishing Simulation Test: For those looking to get started without commitment, Keepnet offers a free phishing simulation for baseline testing. This allows you to evaluate the platform's capabilities and gauge its suitability for your organization's needs before making any financial commitment.
Picture 6: Benefits of Keepnet's Phishing Simulation
  • Choose Keepnet for the Best Phishing Simulators: Keepnet consistently ranks among the top choices when selecting the best phishing simulator. Its user-friendliness, customization options, and comprehensive insights set it apart as a robust and reliable solution for safeguarding your organization against phishing threats. Keepnet is recognized as a Voice of the Customer by Gartner, a testament to our unwavering dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction.
Picture 7: Keepnet is recognized as a Voice of the Customer by Gartner

Keepnet offers a powerful, user-friendly solution to protect your organization against simulated phishing attacks. Its customization capabilities, ease of use, and valuable insights make it an indispensable tool in fortifying your cybersecurity defenses.

Take proactive measures with Keepnet's phishing simulation software before the next phishing attack. Embrace the future of cybersecurity with confidence.

Try Cyber Security Awareness Training by Keepnet

Keepnet offers a comprehensive and cutting-edge cyber security awareness training program to empower your workforce with the knowledge and skills to effectively recognize, respond to, and mitigate cybersecurity threats.

Investing in Keepnet's cyber security awareness training is an investment in the security and resilience of your organization. By fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of falling victim to cyberattacks and protect your sensitive data and assets.

Watch our Phishing Simulator video on Youtube and see how it can help you with your phishing simulation and security awareness training endeavors.



Schedule your 30-minute demo now!

You'll learn how to:
tickEmploy a wide array of comprehensive phishing simulations, encompassing Email, Voice, MFA, QR Code, Callback, and SMS, to instill secure behaviors within your workforce.
tickHarness over 5000 AI-driven phishing templates and real-world phishing scenarios available in more than 30 languages, guaranteeing heightened engagement and effectiveness.
tickLeverage automated reports to acquire valuable insights into employees' conduct, enabling you to benchmark your company's cybersecurity posture within your industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the four types of phishing attacks?

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Phishing attacks manifest in several distinct forms, each with its tactics and objectives:

Email Phishing: This is the most common type involving deceptive emails designed to appear as though they originate from trusted sources, such as banks, social media platforms, or government agencies. These emails often request recipients to divulge sensitive information, such as login credentials or personal data.

Vishing (Voice Phishing): Vishing, or voice phishing, occurs when scammers use phone calls to impersonate trusted entities, such as banks or government agencies, to extract sensitive information or financial details from victims. It often involves urgent or threatening language to manipulate the recipient.

Smishing: (SMS Phishing): Smishing, the combination of "SMS" and "phishing," involves phishing attempts via SMS or text messages. Scammers send text messages with malicious links or prompts, tricking recipients into clicking on them, divulging personal information, or downloading malicious apps.

Quishing (QR Code Phishing): QR code phishing involves scammers distributing QR codes that, when scanned, direct victims to fraudulent websites or apps. These QR codes may be presented in various contexts, such as on posters, flyers, or product packaging.

What are some examples of phishing?

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Phishing examples are varied since they can take various deceptive forms, including but not limited to:

Emails Posing as Trusted Entities: Attackers send emails impersonating legitimate organizations, such as banks, online retailers, or social media platforms. These emails request recipients to provide sensitive information, like usernames, passwords, or credit card details.

Fake Job Offers and Lottery Winnings: Cybercriminals entice victims with offers of nonexistent job opportunities or false claims of winning lotteries. To proceed, victims are often asked to provide personal and financial details, putting them at risk of identity theft and fraud.

Impersonation of Colleagues or Executives: Phishers may impersonate coworkers or high-ranking executives, asking employees to transfer money or share confidential company information under the pretense of urgent business matters.

Phony Antivirus Pop-ups: Malicious websites display fake antivirus alerts, warning users of non-existent security threats on their devices. These pop-ups pressure victims to take immediate action, potentially leading them to download malware or share payment information for unnecessary services.

How do phishing simulations contribute to enterprise security?

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Phishing simulations significantly bolster enterprise security through several key mechanisms:

Raising Awareness: By simulating realistic phishing scenarios, employees become more aware of the various tactics employed by cybercriminals. They learn to spot red flags and develop a heightened sense of vigilance.

Behavior Modification: Phishing simulations actively encourage employees to adopt secure behaviors. When they encounter simulated phishing attempts and receive immediate feedback, they are more likely to apply these lessons to real-life situations, reducing susceptibility to actual attacks.

Identifying Weaknesses: These simulated phishing tests or phishing simulations pinpoint vulnerabilities within an organization's defense mechanisms. By identifying areas where employees may need additional training or where security policies may require reinforcement, organizations can make targeted improvements to their cybersecurity posture.

What happens when an employee clicks on a simulated phishing email?

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No actual harm occurs when an employee clicks on a simulated phishing email. Instead, the system utilizes this as a valuable teaching moment. The employee receives immediate feedback that informs them of their interaction with a simulated phishing attempt. This feedback includes guidance on identifying phishing threats and reinforcing their awareness and preparedness to recognize and respond to similar situations.

How often should you take phishing simulation training?

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The frequency of phishing simulation training sessions should be aligned with an organization's specific security needs and evolving threat landscape. Typically, organizations conduct such training on a quarterly or biannual basis. However, the frequency may vary based on industry regulations, organizational policies, and emerging cybersecurity threats. Regular, ongoing training ensures that employees remain vigilant and well-prepared to tackle the evolving tactics of cybercriminals effectively.

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