User Security Awareness Training – Strengthening Your Frontline of Defence

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User Security Awareness Training–Strengthening Your Frontline of Defence

As Canadians navigate the ever-expanding digital landscape, there is growing concern about cybercrime, with fraud and scams emerging as the most common threats. Cybercriminals, with their sights set on personal, financial, and corporate information, leverage the vast expanse of the Internet to conduct malicious activities such as phishing, leading to hefty financial losses.

Startling statistics from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reveal over 150,000 fraud reports and a staggering $600 million stolen since January 2021. However, in this landscape of digital perils, ransomware stands out as the most disruptive cybercrime Canadians face. Ransomware goes far beyond the financial burden of ransoms by crippling critical systems, jeopardizing sensitive data, and afflicting profound damage to organizations.

Considering how these evolving cyber threats can impede access to essential services as well as endanger our physical safety, it is imperative to equip ourselves with user security awareness training.

The Purpose of User Awareness Training

The most challenging aspect of information security is your users – the one thing you cannot fully control.

Amateurs hack systems. Professionals hack people. — Bruce Schneier

Although many companies try to secure their environments, we still see many security issues resulting from poor password practices and a lack of general security awareness. In this area, some will argue, “But don’t they already know that?”  It’s true that many have a general understanding of security, but it only takes one who doesn’t to compromise an entire organization.

Evaluating Your Employees

The top malicious email attachment types are .doc and .dot which make up 37 percent; the next highest is .exe at 19.5 percent. (Symantec)

Do you know if your employees can spot common tell-tale signs of phishing emails? Would your employees download an attachment from an unknown sender? There are many ways to test your employees.

One method is to conduct phishing simulations. In this, your goal is to identify people who fall for the simulation so that you can better educate them about what they should look out for next time. You can also have a phishing banner appear, warning them with the details about the ramifications of an actual incident.

The Effectiveness of Good User Security Awareness Training

Usually, the initial round of this strategy is relatively successful at catching poor safety practices. A phishing simulation usually catches 20-40% of average, non-technical users. That means up to 40% of users can create a bad outcome for the organization.

Once training starts,  these numbers fall to about 10-15% in the first six months and 2-10% after a year. However, there are several reasons to continue the program after this point-even when phishing simulations no longer catch many users.

  1. Staff turnover: ensuring new employees are getting the training they need.
  2. Developing threats: having a regular training cadence ensures up-to-date knowledge.
  3. Security first (most important): keeping safety at the forefront of the entire company’s consciousness.

Adopting a Security-First Mindset for Everyone

Why is this the most important? Consistent exposure to how attacks happen and how an attacker might choose their target helps develop an instinct. This sense allows a user to determine that something is amiss about a situation. It helps give employees a gut feeling about daily tasks without thinking about them.

A security-first mindset also helps stave off complacency. After all, an attacker can catch even the most knowledgeable user in a moment of weakness.

While users get caught because of a knowledge gap, the more likely scenario is that they were busy and just reacted to an email and clicked without thinking. It is far too easy to do. Small reminders to all staff are an effective tool for keeping your team vigilant and safe.

This truth rings true, especially for executive-level users. Even though their time is precious, their elevated access to information makes them a prime target for attackers and corporate spies. There should be no exception to the training regimen, not even for CEOs and Presidents.

IT Weapons can help you take a step forward into the new world of data security with a wide variety of security solutions and services to suit your needs.

If User Security Awareness Training is your next step forward

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