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Great Options for Creating Your Own Phishing Campaigns

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By: Shimon Brathwaite

November 12, 2021

Phishing emails continue to be one of the most effective types of cyberattacks used in over 50% of data breaches globally. Simply put, a phishing email is a type of social engineering attack where an attacker sends a fraudulent message designed to trick a human victim into either revealing sensitive information to the attacker or downloading malware. One study found that as manyas 74% of organizations in the United States suffered from a successful phishing attack. RiskIQ estimates that businesses worldwide lose $17,700 every minute due to phishing attacks. It's a major issue for companies, and many people want to know, "What can I do to stop this from happening to my business?" In this article, I will explain the best way to prevent phishing attacks from being successful against your business and how to test your organization's ability to resist phishing attacks.

Why is security awareness training important?

Security awareness training teaches people how to identify any social engineering attack, including phishing attacks. Even when investing in security software that filters out malicious emails, it's impossible to stop all phishing emails from coming through. Not only that but people can still be fooled by other methods, such as someone calling or texting them. In situations where the attack reaches the employee, they need to recognize when someone is trying to manipulate them, and that's where having a good security awareness program is critical.

After providing staff with security awareness training, you need a way to quantify whether the training was successful or not. If you give people mandatory training, there's a chance that people will attempt to do the bare minimum required to pass, and, beyond that, they won't have the practical knowledge needed to recognize a phishing email. This is where phishing simulations come into play. A phishing simulation is where one creates a phishing campaign to test employees. This can be accomplished by crafting a phishing email, creating fake websites, dropping USB drives around the company, or any other type of commonly used social engineering technique. Then, the experiment results are tracked to see how many people opened the email, clicked on the link, gave up login information, etc. This will give the necessary data for evaluating how effective the security awareness training was, and it will allow you to figure out where the company is weak. For example, maybe your employees are great at not opening malicious emails. Still, call centers employees are too easily tricked into giving up information when someone calls into the call center. You need to understand where the company's weaknesses lie.

Best software for phishing emails

Infosec IQ: This is a free phishing risk test that enables you to create a phishing campaign and receive your company's phish rate for the past 24 hours. They also offer a full-scale phishing tool called Phishsim, allowing users to run more complicated phishing simulations. It comes with over 1000+ phishing templates, attachments, and fake data entry landing pages. It also comes with a drag and drops email builder for creating convincing phishing emails.

Gophish: This is an open-source phishing platform that supports almost all operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. It can launch phishing campaigns very quickly and get real-time results based on how users interact with the simulation. Its user interface is very easy to navigate, the installation process is very simple, users can be easily added, and it allows bulk report exporting in CSV format. The primary disadvantage of this tool is that there are no awareness education and no campaign scheduling options.

LUCY: While the first two on this list are strictly for creating phishing campaigns and measuring the results, LUCY is a social engineering awareness platform. Its basic features include exporting campaign statistics, performing file attachment attacks, and campaign scheduling. In addition to creating simulations, LUCY has interactive quizzes and modules for training employees, in addition to actually testing them through a phishing campaign. Unlike the other two on this list, LUCY is a commercial product, though a free version has limited functionality.

King Phisher: This is one of the most comprehensive tools on this list. King Phisher has many useful features when it comes to analytics, including running multiple campaigns at once, geolocation of phished users, web cloning, sending emails with embedded images, and SMS alerting. It's also a completely open-source project, which is great when working on a tight budget. It also has a very clean and simple user interface, making it very easy to learn. The only downside to this tool is that the installation and configuration can be difficult, and a limitation is that it's only supported on Linux.

Social Engineering Toolkit (SET): This is a Python-based command-line tool for making quick social engineering attacks. It's primarily used as a penetration testing tool, so it's very effective for making quick spear-phishing emails and mass email campaigns. It also comes with advanced features, such as importing target emails from a file and flagging highly important messages. However, while this tool is very effective, not having a user interface can make it difficult for some people to use. It doesn't have any reporting or campaign management features.

Recap

A social engineering attack is the manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. Phishing emails are the most popular type of social engineering attack used by hackers. This is when an attacker sends a fraudulent message designed to trick a human victim into revealing sensitive information to the attacker or downloading malware. The best way to protect your company from this type of attack is through good security awareness training and, ultimately, good phishing simulations. By performing personalized phishing simulations against your employees, you can get a good idea of how well prepared they are for actual phishing attacks. Most phishing simulation platforms give reports of how many employees were tricked by the campaign, as well as other details that help in better planning out your organization's security.

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