Your 6 Top Phishing Simulation Questions, Answered

Phishing simulations are one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of human error during cyber attacks. Want to learn more? Our handy FAQs cover everything you need to know. 

What increases the risk of a security breach? Poor password management? Outdated software? Lack of security software? Misconfigurations? These are definitely all contributors. But did you know that the leading cause of breaches is good old-fashioned human error? That’s right. Even if your employees intend well, the fact is that they can end up being the weak link exploited by criminals. 

So what’s the solution?

Well, here at Reliable, we think phishing simulations are one of the most effective yet underutilised methods to help employees boost their reactions and responses to threats. And we’re here to answer all the burning questions you might have about simulation exercises and their impact. 

1. What exactly is a phishing simulation?

A phishing simulation is an exercise which mimics a real phishing attack on your business. Your employees won’t know that a simulation has been arranged, and, if they notice the signs of an attack, they’ll believe it to be the real thing. It’s carried out by cybersecurity experts – like us – who use cutting-edge tools and strategic planning to test and challenge your employees as much as possible. It’s one of the most effective ways to build stronger defences against growing phishing attempts. 

2. What’s the point of it?

The biggest benefit of a phishing simulation is that you gain deep insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. You get to see how they’d react in a real-life phishing situation, helping you to highlight vulnerabilities in the response which could be leaving your business at greater risk. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to tailor your employee training sessions to ensure that you’re giving your workers the support they need to react quickly and effectively. 

3. What happens?

During the exercise, your cybersecurity partner will send emails to your employees that use the exact same tactics that are used by professional cyber criminals. These emails will be designed to look like legitimate communications from trusted sources, using a sense of urgency to encourage the recipient to click on a link. Throughout the simulation, employee activity is continually monitored. You’re able to track interactions with the communication, and assess employee responses. 

4. How long does it take?

That’s really up to you. However, most industry experts recommend sending a replica phishing email once per month. There are a few reasons for carrying out the activity regularly. One is to ensure you’re able to test the knowledge of any new hires. It’s also a chance to test how employees handle the latest phishing techniques as technology advances. And by being proactive, you’re able to detect drops in response levels early, giving yourself time to address this before it becomes an issue. 

5. Is it safe?

Absolutely! While in a real attack scenario your employees could expose critical business data by clicking malicious links and unknowingly sharing credentials, that can’t happen in a simulation. The websites that are set up to tempt employees into providing sensitive information do not capture data. So for those employees who fail to spot the signs of an attack, and go through the phishing process, the worst that will happen is they’ll fail the test and will need to undergo some additional training. 

6. Do we need it if we’ve already done security awareness training?

At Reliable, we’d definitely recommend using phishing simulations alongside your regular security awareness training. Why? Because there’s a big difference between theory and practice. You can read a cookbook from cover to cover, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to whip up a 3-course meal with no practice! In the same way, your employees can learn about phishing through training sessions, but until they’ve been through an attack scenario, they might not be sure of what to do. 

Ready to get started? We can help. Contact us to schedule a phishing simulation for your team. 

Gregory Olczyk

Gregory Olczyk