Workplace Safety: Why Employees Play a Key Role in Phishing Prevention

Company employees have always been at the center of phishing attacks. As millions of people transition to Work From Home (WFH), their role as phishing enablers grows even bigger. Recent research found that 37% of WFH employees report an increase in phishing attempts, and the numbers are likely to be much higher if we take into account employees who remain unaware of such changes. This lack of awareness makes employees the weakest link in the anti-phishing chain and creates a vulnerability that needs to be addressed. 

You had one job: what makes employees a key target for phishing attacks 

More than a third of organizations consider unaware and careless employees a security vulnerability. Here’s why they’re right to think that:  

  1. Phishing scams focus on the human factor and target individuals with access to information. The idea is to create an online asset that could mislead employees into clicking links and offering data. Employees check all the boxes, and hackers consider them the gate to company information. 
  2. Employees juggle many different platforms and tools and struggle to detect suspicious behavior taking place in every arena. The fast pace and scattered attention work in favor of scammers. 
  3. WFH makes employees more exposed to cybersecurity threats since they can no longer rely on some of the anti-phishing solutions that protected them at the office. Also, this new work environment only adds to the confusion and lack of focus. 
  4. Employees are at the forefront of anti-phishing efforts, but for many, this isn’t an official part of the job. For example, Marketing teams may notice that a new campaign fails to yield any leads and report this as suspicious behavior, but the security stars would have to align for that to happen.  

Building cyber resilience, one employee at a time

After establishing the critical role of employees in phishing prevention, here are the action items companies must prioritize to stay safe. 

  • Updated procedures and policies: Security policies should be considered a part of the company’s overall security infrastructure. Outdated policies and procedures expose companies to new phishing threats and methods.   
  • Regular training: Think of cybersecurity as a muscle you have to train. Only through simulations and detailed training will employees develop the ability to detect phishing scams and report them accordingly. Training takes security policies from theory to practice. As one hacker advised, “Teach employees what malicious emails and phishing attacks look like.” 
  • Updated anti-phishing solutions: Software should be updated, and companies must add new solutions to address emerging threats. These technical steps include the following: Windows Firewall should be kept active and configured; security software should also scan archived and compressed files; companies should have strong spam filters and authentication tools, as well as pop-up and autoplay blockers; any unused wireless connection must be switched off.  
  • Improve passwords: Credential creation should be part of the training process, and employees must be advised to use strong passwords and update them regularly.   

Your secret weapon: How employees can help in your phishing prevention efforts

The same way employees might be a phishing risk, they are also able to support and enhance it. When given proper training and the right anti-phishing solutions, employees can turn into the organizations’ gatekeepers and extend protection to platforms that are not directly controlled by the company, such as social media networks. 

BrandShield’s solution detects online fraud of all types and provides employees with the technology they need to protect the company. By covering a wide range of online arenas and recognizing a long list of threats, BrandShield turns every employee into a valuable contributor to the company’s security. 

Your path towards phishing protection

The right security threat ensures that you’re protected  from phishing attacks at all times by taking the following steps:

  1. Detect and shut-down any malicious website or online activity.
  2. Analyze online behavior across multiple platforms to discover and handle trademark infringement and phishing attacks
  3. Maintain and protect your online entity to protect customers.     

The above measures, backed by advanced anti-phishing technology, will keep your employees, and customers safe. To learn more about BreandShield’s anti-phishing solutions, schedule your demo today, and start building a secure work environment.