Security Awareness Training: The best way to secure your staff

June 12, 2021

A report from Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) stated that their solutions have detected and blocked more than 60 million security threats globally between November 2019 and October 2020. It has become increasingly easier for cybercriminals to take advantage and find numerous loopholes as every organization has some form of online presence, making it easier to harvest information. This means companies must take proper precautions to refine and improve their cybersecurity defenses to protect themselves from cyber threats. As hackers are finding more ways to steal data, it is crucial for companies to be aware of what form of cyber threats are awaiting them. In 2020, industries such as retail, travel, and hospitality attracted a startling 63% of credential stuffing attacks and 41% of web attacks making it crucial to raise awareness about security threats among the workforce.

Why is it necessary for employees to undergo security awareness training?

Security awareness training programs aim to provide a formal education for employees to learn about potential security risks and how they can impact themselves and their organization. This training will help employees to detect and take necessary precautions to handle cyberattacks. Thus, organizations must ensure their employees are given proper security awareness training as a countermeasure to defend themselves and their assets from cybersecurity threats.

4 Benefits of Security Awareness Training:

1. Able to Detect Cyberthreats

As hackers have found numerous techniques to phish for information, employees need to recognize current cyberattacks and malware activities such as social engineering, cloud-based vulnerabilities, threats related to the working from home trend, etc. This training will enable employees to be up to date with the latest cyberattack techniques used by cybercriminals and thus prevent them from falling for these security threats.

2. Cyber Resilient Workplace

Security awareness training will help raise awareness among employees on the importance of cybersecurity measures, particularly among those not in the cyber field. This will prompt them to regularly practice safe measures when handling organization assets and information and create a cyber-resilient workforce that will ensure more confidence among clients and stakeholders.

3. Compliance

Security awareness training incorporates compliance training such as HIPAA, PDPA, GDPR, and PCI-DSS. Compliance aids in developing policies and enables employees to understand their responsibility when handling organization information. Your employees need to familiarize themselves with these compliances, even if your organizations are not under these compliance requirements. Security awareness training programs offer convenience in terms of both cybersecurity and compliance training.

4. Enhance Employee Knowledge

Organizations flourish when their employees are looked after well. Security awareness training trains employees on how to be secure at work and to be secure in their personal lives as well, providing them with the necessary security skills. This training will benefit not only organizations but also their employees.

Cyberattack Simulations to Include in Your Security Awareness Training:

1. Ransomware Attack

Ransomware is a malicious segment of code sent by a cybercriminal to infect files or a system. The attacker will then demand a ransom to restore the access or system to how it was before. Suppose the organization refuses to meet the attacker's needs before the time given is up. In that case, the attacker will then threaten to block access or have the organization's sensitive data be published in either public portals or places like the Dark Web.

The most significant ransomware attack was the WannaCry Ransomware attack that happened in May 2017 carried out by the WannaCry ransomware crypto worm, which targeted many Microsoft Windows Operating system machines by encrypting their data and demanding a ransom fee in Bitcoin Cryptocurrency. Statistics show that every 14 seconds, an organization gets attacked by ransomware. With government, healthcare, and education institutions alike being victims of this attack, ransomware is now considered a global threat. Therefore, your workforce needs to be trained to recognize and always take precautions to safeguard your organization's sensitive data.

2. Phishing Attack

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack used to steal valuable information such as login credentials, credit card numbers, etc. In a phishing attack, the attacker poses as a legitimate person and tricks the victim into clicking on a malicious link, leading to the installation of a malicious file that may freeze the device or reveal valuable data.

The most common phishing attack is email phishing, where the hacker sends emails that contain a link or a file. Such links and files, when accessed, may disrupt the processing of a system, transfer data or give attackers unauthorized access to a system. Another type of phishing attack is spear phishing, in which the attacker attacks a specified individual to steal the victim's data or remotely install malicious software.

In 2020, statistics showed that over 83% of organizations throughout the world experienced phishing attacks. The most costly phishing attack that has ever occurred in the attack on Facebook and Google between 2013 and 2015, where they were scammed over 100 million dollars. Their employees were sent multiple phishing emails with fake invoices impersonating their vendor, Quanta, a Taiwan-based company. With big corporations like Facebook and Google falling victim to this attack, it is important to realize how this attack can happen to big and small corporations alike. Thus, every organization must play their role in implementing training for their employees to avoid falling for malicious phishing attacks.

3. DoS Attack

A DoS attack is when access to a service is blocked by overloading its network connections or physical resources. The service will be surged with traffic causing no access to be available until the threat is removed.

This attack is often carried out by sending malicious, invalid, and many connections requests to a service's network. This will then overload the service storage and processing space. Consequently, real users will be unable to access the said service. This threat may even lead to physical damage to the service resources.

DoS attacks look for any cyber-vulnerability in your website and take advantage of it to launch an attack. Malware-infected devices may also be used as a tool for this type of attack, also known as a Distributed-Denial-of-Service attack.

Cybercriminals launch DoS attacks to crash or slow down a service website to cause businesses a significant service downtime that may result in financial losses. In 2020, Amazon Web Services suffered DoS attacks sent by one of their unidentified customers, causing the service to be slowed down for three days and, in return, suffered revenue losses and consequential damage to their brand.

These cyberthreats may not only harm your organization but also will jeopardize your company's reputation as it portrays a security weakness. An organization needs to show that they have adequate measures to safeguard their data and have a proper emergency recovery plan. These measures can be implemented if your workforce is given formal training against such threats.

Security Awareness Training Program

Keeping in mind the increasing cyber threats around us, EC Council has developed its own security awareness training program known as Aware. Aware is a customizable web and mobile integrated training platform that adheres to your organization's needs. This application tracks and provides detailed reports on your employees' training performance and enables you to train your employees anytime and anywhere. Click here to find out more about their security awareness training program.

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