Phishing is the process where criminals attempt to obtain sensitive information such as login credentials, credit card details, and other private data from their victims. The attackers often impersonate trusted brands or known individuals and then send enticing emails that can bypass security tools.
A study by Stanford Research found that about 88% of successful data breaches are due to human error and begin as phishing emails. Most of these attacks take advantage of the human element being the weakest link in an organization’s security ecosystem.
As the threats evolve, they become more sophisticated and challenging to suspect or block using security solutions such as antivirus programs, firewalls, and spam filters.
However, organizations and users can recognize and stop the threats using up-to-date antivirus programs, firewalls, spam filters, phishing simulation software, and others while practicing safe online practices.
How to Identify Phishing Emails
It is possible to avoid phishing attacks if you know how to identify and protect yourself again the scams. Before opening a link in a suspicious email:
- Find out if the email, domain URLs, and sender are consistent and familiar.
- Confirm that the domain name corresponds to the one the sender purportedly says it is from. Also, check the links to determine if they relate to the message and your business.
- Check if the sender uses unfamiliar language, an unusual urgency, or inconsistencies like spelling and grammatical errors.
- The attackers may also make suspicious requests like asking for payment details, passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information.
- You may also get a message that warns you about password expiry and requests to change.
These and others are signs of phishing attempts, and you should be careful when handling such messages.
Tips on How to Stop Phishing Attacks
While organizations are responsible for securing their systems, data, and users, the employees also have a role to play.
For organizations, the admins can:
- Install effective security software such as antivirus, spam filters, firewalls, and other tools to detect and stop a wide range of threats.
- Enforce a strict password management policy.
- Enable and enforce multifactor authentication for all users.
- Conduct regular security awareness.
Users can also help to reduce phishing attacks by practicing safe online practices. These include:
- Always ensure the email with links or attachments is from the actual person and confirm the domain matches the trusted one.
- Ensure that the message corresponds with the sender’s domain and that the content does not deviate from the subject.
- Avoid clicking links and messages from unfamiliar or suspicious sources.
- Do not give personal or company information, such as login credentials and banking details, when visiting suspicious or insecure websites.
Phishing Simulation Software
A phishing simulation software is a product that exposes users to phishing attacks by mimicking real-life scenarios. Besides using antivirus, firewalls, and other tools to identify and stop attacks, simulated phishing tests and security awareness training provides an additional security layer to help organizations and users stay safe.
Most simulation solutions include training materials that guide users in identifying and responding to phishing attempts.
The simulators allow admins to send fake phishing emails to their users to see how they would behave with real-life phishing attempts. It helps to determine the level of awareness for users while identifying the most vulnerable and those that require additional personalized training.
The general benefits of simulation software include the following:
✅ Preparing the users and creating awareness
✅ Reduces the risks of data breaches
✅ Helps security teams to identify and address weak areas
✅ Improve compliance with various data protection regulations
While there are so many simulation software in the market, finding what will work best for you can be a challenge. Here is the best phishing simulation software to help narrow down what will work for you.
Phished AI is an automated and effective simulation software that provides extensive security awareness. It enables users to identify and avoid clicking on malicious files and links.
- Help create a behavior risk score for each staff, enabling you to have more targeted training for vulnerable employees.
- Active and comprehensive reporting, including each user’s behavior risk score (BRS) and trends.
- It uses AI to automatically develop, customize and provide personalized simulations and training for each employee based on the person’s risk level, potential data sources, and more. Easy to set up and use tool that helps behavior change amongst employees.
- It uses advanced artificial intelligence algorithms to analyze data from various sources.
The AI-powered tool delivers a holistic approach with threat intelligence, active reporting, and personalized phishing simulations and training campaigns.
Gophish is a great phishing framework that helps organizations to evaluate and address their exposure to phishing attacks.
- It provides detailed real-time results while allowing you to track users, the links they open, and the credentials they provide.
- It enables you to schedule phishing campaigns.
- It has cross-platform support and works with various Linux, Mac OS, and Windows versions.
- Appealing web interface that allows you to import emails and websites. It also enables you to track emails.
- Delivers powerful and useful actionable results.
The open-source tool, which is easy to deploy and use, requires only three steps to launch a phishing test campaign.
TitanHQ’s SafeTitan is an effective behavior-driven security awareness solution with an easy-to-use and intuitive management and monitoring portal. It uses a holistic approach to provide automated phishing, monitor user behavior to track progress, and offer customized training where there are gaps.
- Automated phishing simulation with real-time training to change vulnerable or at-risk user behavior.
- It has an extensive library of templates, short training courses, questions, videos, and other components that you can customize to address certain user behaviors without taking too much of the employee’s time.
- Effective and easy-to-digest reports for better data-driven security decision-making.
- It helps organizations to comply with GDPR, HIPAA, ISO, PCI, and other regulatory standards.
- Seamless integration with productivity tools such as G-Suite, Azure AD, Outlook, Teams, SSO, and others.
The tool provides a wide range of automated phishing simulation campaigns based on thousands of templates.
usecure’s uPhish is a powerful solution that you can use to perform simulated phishing attacks in just a few minutes. It also allows you to track the rate at which users open compromised messages and URLs and how often they get compromised.
- Ready-made templates library that allows testers to impersonate known and trusted companies.
- It lets you automate regular phishing simulations, enabling you to continuously monitor and identify risk-prone users.
- Comprehensive reports can be used to analyze and determine individual and departmental-level risky behaviors.
- Run phishing simulation while impersonating the company’s internal staff.
- Identify the at-risk users, create awareness through micro-learning, then train phishing-prone users and do a follow-up.
The automated simulations tool, which is easy and fast to set up and configure, also comes with customizable security awareness training materials.
Phishing box is a set of software tools that enables organizations to do phishing simulations and provide security awareness training to the staff. The platform provides effective training that helps to reduce the risks of phishing attacks.
- Easy to use security awareness training. The tools come with an easy-to-use interface.
- Suitable for managing online security training for all sizes of organizations.
- It integrates with popular tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, OKta, and other business improvement and collaboration tools.
- It comes with a library of templates that you also edit to suit your desired simulation campaign.
- Provides In-depth analysis of results and actionable reports.
Its automated menu-driven processes and workflow help to save resources and time.
Caniphish is a modern, self-service, cloud-based phishing simulation and training platform with an extensive library of phishing emails and website templates. Besides creating powerful tests, it allows you to track your simulation and training campaigns in real time.
- Easy-to-use interface with walkthrough videos, help articles, and other supporting materials to help you create and launch a wide range of campaigns.
- Assign short training sessions (micro-learning) for vulnerable users who fail the regular simulated phishing emails.
- It lets you easily set up campaigns and simulate even the most advanced phishing attempts.
- Available in a free version and on flexible payment plans, including pay-as-you-go options.
- Test and track users and conduct additional customized training for those still vulnerable.
Additionally, you can schedule the reports to track your organization’s month-to-month performance and determine if the rates, such as clicking phishing emails and links, are going up or down.
Fortinet Fortfish is a cloud-based phishing simulation and security awareness service that helps organizations to test their users’ preparedness and ability to recognize phishing attempts and other threats.
- It helps you to run phishing simulations mimicking real-world scams.
- Provides in-depth analytics that enables administrators to identify vulnerable users, hence customizing the training that addresses the identified user’s weaknesses.
- Enables teams to track phishing email open rates and provide comprehensive visual campaign analysis reports.
- Assess results and grade them according to the risk level. This also helps identify the areas that require improvement and the users at a higher risk.
- Track the effectiveness of the simulation and training campaigns by tracking the improvement based on the rate at which various employees fall prey to the simulated emails.
Hook Security is an easy-to-deploy cloud-based phishing simulation and training software. With hundreds of templates, the tool allows admins to easily and quickly launch a variety of regular phishing simulations.
- Provides visually appealing, engaging, and easy-to-understand training materials that enable admins to train employees on identifying and responding to threats.
- Automatically redirect at-risk users to instant extra and personalized training sessions whenever they fail the simulated phishing tests.
- It has an Office 365 plugin that enables users to identify, mark, and report suspected actual or simulated phishing emails in Outlook.
- Comprehensive reports, data analytics, and sharing enable admins to make better data-driven security decisions.
- Use the custom template editor to create new and modify existing templates.
You can customize the templates to mimic real-life phishing attempts and instantly identify and train at-risk employees.
Ironscales is an automated, AI-Powered phishing detection, response, and prevention platform available for servers, desktops, and mobile devices.
- An easy-to-use platform that enables IT teams to do any phishing simulation campaigns.
- Includes third-party security training solutions such as Cyber Maniacs, Ninjio, and Habitu8 to enhance its effectiveness and provide more comprehensive awareness campaigns.
- Allows you to launch customized simulations using its extensive library of real-life conditions.
- Helps the teams to detect, resolve and report phishing attempts, ransomware, Business Email Compromise (BEC), and other threats.
- Provides effective training that enables users to detect and report phishing emails and other threats.
The comprehensive tool provides in-depth visibility into the email environment and can detect and quarantine suspicious emails in all the mailboxes. Besides those in the Ironscales community library, it has an Outlook plugin that enables users to flag suspicious phishing email messages.
Sophos Phish Threat
Sophos Phish Threat is a tool for providing advanced phishing simulation and intelligent security awareness training. The tool comes with a free trial and is an effective solution for reducing the attack surface, creating awareness, and stopping threats.
- Testing and training users through automated phishing simulations and training programs.
- Provides comprehensive and actionable analysis and reports that enable security teams to make better decisions.
- In-depth reporting with an intuitive dashboard that offers various results on demand. These include the number and trends of at-risk users caught, training coverage, and more.
- Identify and train the staff with risk user behavior. The tool helps to identify the users who may have visited blocked URLs with high-risk profiles.
- Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 phish threat add-in to enable users to report attacks in a standard format.
Sophos uses advanced data-gathering technologies to monitor millions of files, URLs, emails, and other data points to identify the latest phishing threats.
Security software and tools are essential in the fight against security threats. However, tools alone are not enough, and you need to create security awareness for users, who are usually the weakest elements in the fight against phishing and other threats.
One way of preventing this is to use phishing simulation software as an additional security layer. The software helps prepare your employees by learning to recognize and avoid phishing attempts emails. Additionally, the simulation tools may detect real phishing attempts and quarantine them.
Next, check out business email security solutions to protect you from spam and phishing attacks.