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Employee Awareness: Security from Within


Data breaches and cyber attacks have become so rampant that business organizations around the world are now collectively spending billions of dollars as a direct result of these threats. The resulting impact of cyber attacks, including ransomware, often extends far beyond financials, causing irreparable damage to businesses and their invaluable reputations. It is as a direct result of this impact that organizations must now consider cybersecurity spending an investment.

Unfortunately, regardless of how much an organization spends on cybersecurity, their investment may be all for nothing if they neglect vulnerabilities found from within, their employees.

The Human Element

The human element remains the weakest link of almost any security-based endeavour and accounts for the vast majority of data breach incidents across all industries.

The fact remains, dealing with the human element can be a mountainous task. Where software, hardware and computer networks respond in a relatively predictable manner, people are anything but. In order to strike a solution, it is first important to understand how your organizations “human element,” as a collective whole, actually behaves, what they require access to and where they are weakest.

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The Solution

When it comes to cybersecurity measures, these can be put to the test via attack simulations and penetration testing. Fortunately, we can also examine end-user behaviour via social engineering attacks, including phishing campaigns. These campaigns allow an organization to measure and analyze how their employees respond to such threats.

Seasoned attackers understand that many end-users are easily exploitable. The use of fabricated emails and websites, carefully designed to dupe users into believing they are genuine is a common strategy used by hackers. The unfortunate souls who fall for these ploys have a high probability of giving up sensitive, including credentials and passwords.

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Many organizations are still of the belief that out-of-box email protections are adequate defence; unfortunately, many emails will still make it through. Thus, end-users must again be educated well enough to avoid these attacks.

At Packetlabs, we’ve performed simulations for organizations, escalating from successful email phishing to attainment of domain admin within literal hours. Fortunately, because these attacks are merely a simulation, they do not cause any harm to vital network infrastructure however; they give organizations a clear picture of how their employees are actually behaving when faced with a phishing attack. These test simulations, along with many others, have proven invaluable to many of our clients.

Exploring the Results

By carefully reviewing of the results provided by these attack simulations, organizations are then able to accurately identify the extent to which they need to invest in cybersecurity, awareness training, and which areas require the most attention.

For example, this could include educating staff on how to identify headers, domains and links accurately. Other corrective actions may consist of standards for reporting suspicious emails to IT prior to opening them.

Highlighting Employee Awareness

All too often, vulnerabilities rooted in the human element are treated as the elephant in the room. It is a process that involves ongoing training and attention in order to be effective. Changing habits and behaviours can be tricky; however, for cybersecurity to be effective, organizations must invest in their workforces’ attitude regarding cybersecurity. At the end of the day, all it takes is one individual to slip up for a catastrophic cyberattack to take hold of an organization.

For more information on social engineering, email phishing or other breach and attack simulations, please contact us today to find out more about how our services can protect you and your organization from a cyber-attack.