The 6 Essentials of Employee Security Awareness TrainingDavid Chung
Understanding Employee Risk
Nearly all businesses rely heavily on email, with the average employee receiving 90 or more emails every day. Nearly 80% of these are spam, phishing attempts, and malware. Employees have limited time to verify that the correct mail has been received and approved.
Cybercriminals frequently employ social engineering, or the psychological manipulation of targets to obtain the release of sensitive data that can be used for destructive purposes.
Phishing is another common method, in which fake emails or links are sent to workers in an effort to steal their credentials. Since phishing scams are responsible for 95% of all cyber attacks, training and education on how to recognize and evade them is crucial. In addition to these two persistent dangers, malware is increasingly prevalent as users download programs and apps that might corrupt their devices or give hackers access to their networks.
Why Attend Security Awareness Training?
Training employees on fundamental security concepts and dangers is just the beginning of the process of raising their understanding of the importance of cyber security.
Cyber security awareness is fundamentally a state of mind. Your actions and thoughts while conducting activities defines you. It is how you feel about ensuring security, maintaining the privacy of your personal information, and dealing with danger in your work and personal life. Additionally, it is a skill that can be cultivated and refined with repetition.
The goal of cyber security education for employees is to establish in them a sense of ownership for their own safety in the face of cyber dangers, as opposed to a passive acceptance of risk. Smaller organisations may have limited access to specialist security personnel, but any interested employee with the necessary resources can attend security training sessions.
Elements of Security Awareness Training
1. Email Protection
The first line of defense against email-borne assaults is an organization’s workforce. Employees who have received cybersecurity awareness training are better informed about the risks they encounter, which lowers the organization’s cyber risk and enhances the likelihood that their data will remain secure. Make sure staff members are aware of potential attack indicators and the repercussions of disregarding email security best practices.
Making an Email Security Strategy
A good company email security strategy must include employee education and security awareness training. Although CIOs, administrators, and IT experts are aware of the value of sensitive data, the necessity of corporate email security, and the repercussions of a successful phishing attack or breach, it is vital that workers be as well. The bulk of insider breaches are caused by human error or carelessness, and businesses can reduce this risk by teaching staff about their principles and values. The greatest way to reduce the risk of human error and enhance this vital defense is to regularly provide employees with comprehensive security training.
Companies must educate their personnel about the characteristics of harmful emails and the value of not opening emails from unknown or unauthorized senders. Additionally, they must conduct courses on the quality standards for email attachment security and phishing email simulation.
2. Web Protection
Ensure that all of your staff receive thorough training on identifying and reporting questionable online activity, exercising good online safety, and protecting their own devices and home networks. In order to keep their knowledge current and fresh in their minds, employees should participate in training both when they are hired and on occasion after that. Additionally, training should be kept current and should cover any new security procedures that might need to be put in place.
Mindful Usage is a concept that states the following –
- Never click on questionable links: Steer clear of clicking on links on questionable websites or in spam letters. Malicious links could trigger an automated download that infects your computer if you click on them.
- Don’t divulge personal information: If a call, text, or email asks for personal information from an unreliable source, don’t respond. When organizing a ransomware attack, cybercriminals may try to get personal data from you in order to customize their phishing messages for you.
- Do not open dubious email attachments: Ransomware can also be downloaded onto your system via email attachments. Any suspicious-looking attachments should not be opened. Pay special attention to the sender and verify that the address is accurate to ensure the email is reliable. Never open an attachment that requests that you execute a macro in order to view it.
- Use only trusted sources for downloads: Never download software or media files from untrusted websites to reduce the chance of obtaining ransomware. Use reputable and trusted websites to download from. These websites can be identified by the trust seals. Ensure that “https” is being used in place of “http” in the browser address bar of the page you are visiting.
3. Social Engineering Awareness
Encourage employees to learn appropriate internet habits for dealing with customers. In other words, individuals must be aware of who they are communicating with at all times. Never respond to an unsolicited contact attempt with any personal information. If the initiator keeps asking for more information, that’s a red flag.
Social Engineering Efforts are used as initial vectors for the following:
- Credential Theft
Phishing emails can be created with the intention of stealing an employee’s username and password. These credentials can be used to remotely access both local and cloud-based services in order to steal data or carry out other tasks.
- Payment Fraud
Business Email Compromise (BEC) and related frauds pretend to be senior executives of an organization. Under the guise of finishing a deal or settling a vendor invoice, these emails direct an employee to deposit money into a specific account.
- Trojan Setup
Many malicious emails contain a Trojan that aims to infiltrate the target computer. Then, this malicious software will gather information and perhaps download different kinds of malware, such as keyloggers or ransomware.
- Delivery of ransomware
Phishing emails are one of the main ways that ransomware is distributed. On machines that have been infected, a ransomware assault encrypts all of the files and demands money to decrypt them. No assurance of a full recovery exists, even if the ransom is paid.
The best piece of advice to protect themselves against social engineering efforts like these is this: If anybody demands a quick answer, the answer is no. Last but not least, restate the importance of informing workers of your company’s policy on the disclosure of sensitive information.
4. Threats Overview
The best way to fight ransomware is through a company-wide, collaborative effort from everyone. No business likes to have to decide between paying a ransom or settlement and preventing the loss of critical information. Assault attempts and data breaches will always occur. The sensible thing to do is to never be put in that position to begin with. This strategy requires a layered approach to security that includes controls at several layers (network, endpoint, edge, application, and data center) and is backed by actionable threat intelligence.
Zero Trust Policy
Zero trust security is the process of eliminating points of vulnerability by limiting network access for users, as well as adopting extensive identity verification so that they only have access to the data and systems relevant to their position. The three steps necessary for implementing Zero Trust security are listed below.
- Continuous Monitoring Through Device Visibility and Micro Segmentation
- Multi-Factor Authentication and Identity-Based Access
- Endpoint Protection for On and Off-Network Devices
Install antivirus software that checks files, networks, and websites for potentially harmful activities and prevents malware from being sent or downloaded to devices to safeguard users’ endpoints. Users can use antivirus software to assist them in eradicating any malware found on their devices as well as to stop them from accessing or downloading harmful links or attachments from emails.
5. Password Management
Protecting your computer with a strong password is the first line of defense against hackers. No matter the device or OS, users should always be prompted to provide a password. Passwords that are difficult to crack would discourage would-be hackers and slow down their attempts.
Strong passwords are those that are extremely tough to crack. It is crucial to choose a password that lacks qualities that could make it vulnerable, as attackers may utilize automated methods to guess a password.
Multi Factor Authentication (MFA)
When a user logs into a system, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is used to verify their identity. The user must submit two or more verification methods in order to access the system or application. As opposed to depending just on a login and password for authentication, it has been proved to decrease the chance of a cyberattack by offering numerous layers of protection. Passwords that are simple and easy to guess are useless when used alone since they can be cracked quickly.
Last but not least, it is crucial that procedures be put up to educate frequent password changes. Although this could be difficult for end users, it helps make systems less vulnerable to hacking.
6. Device Management
A huge danger is posed by gadgets that are misplaced or stolen. The loss or theft of any mobile device that has been used to access the network of a facility immediately becomes a liability for that facility. If a user’s credentials fall into the wrong hands, they can easily get back into the system using information they already have stored. After an intruder has breached a network, it might be challenging to determine who they are and stop them.
Information stored on mobile devices and other personal devices should always be safeguarded with a password, encrypted, or biometric authentication in case the device is lost or stolen. Employees who use their own devices for work should receive training on how to utilize those devices safely.
Security awareness training is likely to be completed if employees are required to take it, but it is preferable to have their buy-in and participate voluntarily. To achieve this, one must internalize the value of security knowledge and practice it as if it were a vital skill.
You can help employees learn how to keep their families safe on the internet by providing them with training videos and security awareness content. No one likes to watch the same video over and over again, so be sure to keep things updated, relevant, and concise.
Here are some free, federally recognized security awareness training programs to help you get started!