Kaspersky reveals phishing emails that employees find most confusing

According to estimates, 91% of all cyberattacks begin with a phishing email, and phishing techniques are involved in 32% of all successful data breaches.

To provide further insight into this threat, Kaspersky analysed data gathered from a phishing simulator, provided voluntarily by users[1]. Integrated into Kaspersky Security Awareness Platform, this tool helps companies check if their staff can distinguish a phishing email from a real one without putting corporate data at risk. An administrator chooses from the set of templates, mimicking common phishing scenarios, or creates a custom template, then sends it to the group of employees without pre-warning them and tracks the results. A large number of users clicking the link is a clear indication that additional cybersecurity awareness training is required.  

According to recent phishing simulation campaigns, the five most effective types of phishing email are:

  • Subject: Failed delivery attempt – Unfortunately, our courier was unable to deliver your item. Sender: Mail delivery service. Click conversion: 18.5%
  • Subject: Emails not delivered due to overloaded mail servers. Sender: The Google support team. Click conversion: 18%
  • Subject: Online employee survey: What would you improve about working at the company. Sender: HR Department. Click conversion: 18%
  • Subject: Reminder: New company-wide dress code. Sender: Human Resources. Click conversion: 17.5%
  • Subject: Attention all employees: new building evacuation plan. Sender: Safety Department. Click conversion: 16%

Among the other phishing emails that gained a significant number of clicks are; reservation confirmations from a booking service (11%), a notification about an order placement (11%), and an IKEA contest announcement (10%).

On the other hand, emails that threaten the recipient, or offer instant benefits, appeared to be less “successful”. A template with the subject “I hacked your computer and know your search history” gained 2% of clicks, while offers for free Netflix and $1,000 by clicking a link tricked just 1% of employees. 

“Phishing simulation is one of the simplest ways to track employees’ cyber-resilience and evaluate the efficiency of their cybersecurity training. However, there are significant aspects that must be considered when conducting this assessment to make it really impactful,” comments Elena Molchanova, Head of Security Awareness Business Development at Kaspersky. “Since the methods used by cybercriminals are constantly changing, the simulation has to reflect up-to-date social engineering trends, alongside common cybercrime scenarios. It is crucial that simulated attacks are carried out regularly and supplemented with appropriate training – so users will develop a strong vigilance skill that will allow them avoid falling for targeted attacks or so-called spear phishing.”     

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