Phishing Assessments: What is involved and why it is important

7 August 2023

A phishing assessment, also known as a phishing simulation or phishing test, is a process used to evaluate an organization’s susceptibility to phishing attacks. It involves sending simulated phishing emails to employees and measuring their response to identify potential weaknesses. As phishing is one of the main targets for cyberattacks, enhancing this vulnerability can have a massive benefit to organisations overall cybersecurity. Here are the steps involved in conducting a phishing assessment:

  1. Planning and Scope Definition: Determine the scope of the assessment, including the number of employees to target, the frequency of the simulated phishing emails, and the specific objectives of the assessment.
  2. Identify Phishing Scenarios: Create a variety of realistic phishing scenarios that mimic the tactics used by real attackers. These scenarios may include emails claiming to be from trusted sources, urgent requests, or enticing offers.
  3. Choose a Phishing Simulation Platform: Select a reputable phishing simulation platform that offers a range of realistic phishing templates and reporting capabilities. These platforms allow you to customize the phishing emails and track user responses.
  4. Notify Employees: Before launching the phishing assessment, inform employees about the upcoming test. Emphasize the purpose of the assessment, which is to raise awareness and improve cybersecurity practices.
  5. Conduct the Phishing Assessment: Send the simulated phishing emails to the targeted employees. Monitor their responses, such as clicking on links or providing sensitive information.
  6. Analyse Results: After the assessment, review the data collected from the phishing simulation platform. Identify patterns and trends in employee responses to determine the organization’s overall susceptibility to phishing attacks.
  7. Provide Training and Education: Based on the assessment results, offer targeted training and education to employees who may need additional guidance on identifying and responding to phishing attempts. Training can be in the form of short video clips that highlight various aspects of user awareness. Incorporate phishing awareness into new employee on-boarding training.
  8. Repeat the Assessment: Conduct regular phishing assessments to track progress over time and reinforce a culture of cybersecurity awareness within the organization. Keep awareness front and centre by regular updates on company news bulletins or newsletters.
  9. Report and Feedback: Share the results of the phishing assessment with management and relevant stakeholders. Use the findings to improve security policies, procedures, and employee training.
  10. Reward and Recognition: Consider rewarding employees who demonstrate vigilance in detecting and reporting phishing emails. Positive reinforcement can encourage employees to stay alert and actively participate in the organization’s cybersecurity efforts.

By conducting phishing assessments, organizations can identify weak points in their cybersecurity defences and empower employees to recognize and respond effectively to phishing attempts. Regular assessments, combined with ongoing training, play a crucial role in building a resilient defence against phishing attacks and enhancing the overall security posture of the organization. Contact our cybersecurity experts at Archway Securities to find out more about this.

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