2022 / Data theft / Phishing

What is a phishing simulation?

What is a phishing simulation?

Running a phishing simulation is a topic that is often underestimated. At first listen, it sounds like a video game for anglers, but it protects companies from compromise. Since we offer a phishing simulation as a service and have customers who ask about this again and again, we would like to provide an explanatory article on the subject today.

In this one, we’ll explain the phishing simulation itself in a little more detail, how we go about it, and why phishing remains a serious security risk in any organization. So, if you want to know what exactly a phishing simulation is and why it proves to be essential in terms of IT security, you’ve come to the right place.

Compromise in your own company

Enterprises are increasingly the target of large-scale and sophisticated cyberattacks. It has long since ceased to be just about the big players, and even espionage is no longer the focus of the attackers. Successful phishing attacks can capture valuable access that can be exploited in a variety of ways. Often it is simply a matter of blackmail or collecting user data in order to sell it for profit.

In this way, data is copied en masse and analyzed or offered for auction on the darknet accordingly. The same applies to passwords and usernames, which have long since spawned a flourishing trade. They are usually sold in large packages or very specifically focused on certain security-related areas of a company. Here, of course, it depends entirely on the industry in question.

Phishing attacks are often a key ingredient in the hackers’ success. Because although the term phishing is not new, the consequences and potential for attack are often underestimated.

Prevent phishing and email attacks

In IT security, phishing refers to a method of fishing for user data. This, in turn, is achieved with the help of a clever strategy.

The phishing takes place with fake websites, emails and SMS. But sensitive information can also be scammed via QR codes, so-called quishing. Any form of communication and input can be used to obtain highly sensitive and security-relevant information by means of phishing. Phishing websites that are cleverly linked in the corresponding phishing emails are still particularly effective. Basically, the concept is quite simple:

  1. A supposedly genuine email from the in-house bank arrives
  2. Everything looks the same as always. So the logos, the signatures at the end of the email, the wording and everything else match the usual mails from the bank
  3. The message then talks about a new feature or the need to re-legitimize by logging into the system once
  4. The user clicks on the link in the mail and is taken to the phishing website, not the bank’s website.

A fake website that looks exactly like the real one. He therefore logs in unknowingly and the fake login form copies the username and password. Afterwards, the website may even redirect him to the real login so that it works normally on the second try and no suspicion is raised.

Due to the phishing attack, the username and password of the bank have now been transferred, and without the person noticing. She attributes the login failure to herself – probably mistyped. Often banks run pages with security warnings of the phishing emails currently in circulation.

For example, the Savings Bank on the page of its current security alerts. If you look at the warnings, it quickly becomes clear how big the problem is. So how can you as a company protect yourself from these types of phishing attacks and ensure that employees don’t accidentally fall for it?

Run a professional phishing simulation

This is achieved with a so-called phishing simulation. We assume the role of the attackers and simulate different types of phishing attacks. The primary purpose of the phishing simulation is to determine as quickly as possible whether your company is at risk of such phishing attacks.

Within the phishing simulation, your employees will then learn, among other things, that they should pay close attention to where corresponding e-mails come from. How websites can be checked for authenticity is also a recurring topic. In the end, the goal of the phishing simulation is to find potential vulnerabilities and draw attention to them. After all, only those who know where there are security gaps can work effectively to close them.

Phishing simulations are thus a kind of real-world test. Does a simulated phishing attack go through and succeed? Or are all your employees in the company sufficiently sensitized to recognize the corresponding signs early enough? We will find out for you and help you to achieve more IT security in your company through a simulation.

Phishing simulation for more cybersecurity awareness

It is very important to understand that a phishing simulation is not about exposing employees or declaring them as culprits. Phishing simulations are considered a type of training or continuing education. Employees should be made aware of what exactly to look for in every single email and website. Especially when it comes to sensitive information that is stored there.

Thus, the phishing simulation primarily creates awareness of what is necessary to detect such phishing attacks. It also explains to all stakeholders what factors are most important and how best to review them. The goal is always to cause a heightening of the safety awareness of each individual.

Such education and training are important to increase IT security or even cyber security in one’s own company by means of an anti-phishing strategy. Cyber criminals have become so clever that it has become almost impossible to detect phishing directly without prior knowledge. We therefore see ourselves first and foremost as reconnaissance agents who provide assistance so that attacks can be effectively avoided in the future.

A single phishing simulation represents a snapshot of awareness in your organization. It is recommended that simulations be spread out and conducted over a longer period of time. With multiple simulations, an overall picture emerges and over time, improvements or deteriorations in security awareness can be quickly identified.

We protect you from phishing attacks

With our sophisticated phishing simulations, we effectively protect you and your company against possible phishing attacks. In doing so, we rely on years of experience and techniques that we constantly expand and adapt to the attackers’ methods. When criminals learn new techniques, we get this in a timely manner and use similar in our phishing simulations.

In this way, we provide you with the best possible and most realistic protection against phishing. If you are interested in increasing the security in your company by means of phishing simulation, contact us in a timely and uncomplicated manner. We would then be happy to discuss how we can provide you with targeted support to protect yourself against phishing attacks. You are welcome to use our phishing configurator, where you can put together a campaign that suits you.

Photo of author

Chris Wojzechowski

Mein Name ist Chris Wojzechowski und ich habe vor wenigen Jahren meinen Master in Internet-Sicherheit in Gelsenkirchen studiert. Ich bin geschäftsführender Gesellschafter der AWARE7 GmbH und ausgebildeter IT-Risk Manager, IT-Grundschutz Praktiker (TÜV) und besitze die Prüfverfahrenskompetenz für § 8a BSIG. Unser Brot und Buttergeschäft ist die Durchführung von Penetrationstests. Wir setzen uns darüber hinaus für ein breites Verständnis für IT-Sicherheit in Europa ein und bieten aus diesem Grund den Großteil unserer Produkte kostenfrei an.