Cyber Awareness Training for Employees

Man in a white shirt and black tie with a laptop receiving cyber awareness training

The best cybersecurity solutions consist of hardware, software, and cyber awareness training for employees. Unfortunately, employees are frequently the weakest link in many cybersecurity solutions because they get busy, distracted, careless, and tired. Employees in this state are more likely to make unwise decisions like clicking a link in a harmless-looking email. Cyber awareness training helps combat the success of social engineering attacks.

Hackers Love Social Engineering Attacks

Let’s start the discussion of cyber awareness training for employees with a definition of the most successful form of cyberattack, called social engineering. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-53 defines social engineering this way:

“Social engineering is the practice of obtaining unauthorized access to information or systems by manipulating individuals into revealing sensitive information or performing certain actions.”

Cybercriminals know employees are often the weak link in cybersecurity and use it to their advantage. The following table, based on information that includes commonly cited statistics and general knowledge about cyberattacks, reflects the preference for and success of social engineering attacks.

Type of Cyber Attack Percentage of Successful Attacks
Social Engineering 33%
Phishing 29%
Malware 20%
Denial of Service 10%
Man-in-the-Middle 5%
Insider Threats 3%

You can argue that social engineering attacks represent a much higher percentage than 33% because phishing and malware attacks both rely on human actions to succeed.

Dangers of Social Engineering – Learning the Hard Way

Let’s look at a fictional but real-world example of a successful social engineering attack. A customer of Acme Best Goods calls the company, furious that they had wired the payment as requested in an email, but nothing has shipped. The Acme customer service rep was perplexed because the accounting department hadn’t created an invoice yet. The customer insisted they received an invoice attached to the usual Acme email address. The customer paid based on the “authenticity” of the email address and invoice.

After further investigation, Acme discovered that the customer had been a victim of a social engineering attack where the cybercriminal created a near-perfect copy of the client’s email format, address, and invoice layout. The phrase “near-perfect” is the key here because the domain name in the email address differed by a single character. The busy customer, likely unfamiliar with social engineering techniques, paid the bad actors.

A Cyber Awareness Training for Employees Syllabus

Practical cyber awareness training for employees needs to include five fundamental components. Excellent training like this creates a workforce properly educated about identifying and managing social engineering and other cyber attacks.

Those components are:

  1. Social Engineering Identification: Train employees to identify social engineering attacks and avoid falling victim to them.
  2. Remote Work Security: Focus on secure remote access protocols and safe use of personal devices.
  3. Ransomware Preparedness: Educate about ransomware threats and prevention strategies.
  4. Password Management: Teach secure password practices and encourage multi-factor authentication.
  5. Safe Internet Habits: Cover safe browsing practices and risks associated with downloading files from untrusted sources.

Trust Your Cyber Awareness Training for Employees to the Pros

If you don’t have an active cyber awareness training program in your organization, or the actual security practices to ensure that your organization is secure, then you need help fast. It’s not a matter of whether you’ll become the victim of an attack but a matter of when you will be a victim.

Putting together and delivering top-notch cyber awareness training and cybersecurity services for employees takes time and expertise. We encourage you to trust the pros at Digital Uppercut to take on this task so that you can devote your time and energy to doing what you do best: running your business. Call us at 818-913-1335 or fill out our online Contact Form today.