Security Awareness: Crucial Learning Points

Security Awareness Training

In the last few years, there was a 50% increase in weekly cyberattacks on businesses. According to a Forbes report, data breaches have caused reputational damage for about 46% of companies. The report further states that security breaches by third parties caused brand image damage for about 19% of companies. Because of this, businesses are more concerned about their cybersecurity and are willing to take as many precautionary measures as possible.

What Are The Most Common Internet Threats?

1. Phishing

Phishing is an online attempt to obtain confidential or personal information. It is one of the most common online threats. This is usually done by hackers who are pretending to be legal or well-known organizations or people. They send emails asking you (or someone from your organization) to click on a link or open an attachment. If you open this kind of link or click on the message, it can lead to a malicious website that can install malware on your computer or phone. This malware can be used to steal or delete your data. Recent research suggests:

  • 74% of internet users would download a potentially malicious file due to a lack of knowledge that would enable them to spot danger online
  • More than 50% of internet users receive at least one phishing email per day
  • Over 97% of people worldwide are unable to identify phishing emails

Passwords entered on malicious sites can then be exploited by a hacker or used to compromise your online accounts. Employees should understand how to identify a phishing attack and protect themselves from clicking on suspicious links.

2. Ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that, once it is infiltrated into a user’s computer, begins working in the background of the computer and encrypts all data (pictures, documents, music, etc.) so the users are not able to use them anymore. In case it is done with encrypting (cryptolocker attacks), it usually comes with a ransom note that you need to pay in exchange for data recovery—or the data can be irretrievable [1].

These threats usually affect an employee who is not familiar with IT security threats, or someone who only uses the internet for personal entertainment. The best way to defend against ransomware is to prevent it from accessing the computer in the first place.

3. Social Engineering

Social engineering uses social interactions to manipulate someone into undesired actions. Employees need to understand how to identify a social engineering attack. They need to be aware of requests for sensitive information and be trained not to disclose it, and to be vigilant about all risks.

4. Information Security

As an act of protecting digital information assets, information security is not just about protecting information from unauthorized access. It is basically the practice of preventing unauthorized access, use, disclosure, interference, inspection, recording, or destruction of information. Employees should understand that access to information is exclusive and that a “need to know approach” should always be practiced. Sharing sensitive data should be taken very seriously and employees should know their company’s information protection policy.

5. Password Threats

As an integral part of online accounts, password security represents the first line of business security. That is why employees should understand the importance of creating a strong password, and of the potential risk of password reusing on multiple accounts, or between personal and corporate accounts. It is important for employees to know how to improve password protection by enabling two-factor or multifactor authentication (2FA/MFA).

Training For Security Awareness

Hiring IT security companies might be one of the best solutions to educate employees about the importance of data protection since they can have a focused approach to a specific area of ​​expertise [2]. That is why most companies are hiring external IT partners to ensure that all cyber security risks are covered by security awareness training [3].

1. Basic Training

At the basic training, employees can learn how to recognize malicious and phishing emails, the consequences of data leaks, password security, data security, ransomware, and risks of exchanging information online (even in internal communications) [4]. Employees can also learn to understand the network and host-based threats.

2. Advanced Training

Advanced training should be provided per department. Different cyber risks may affect the finance department than the ones affecting the technical or sales department.


IT security companies can teach the employees about critical access management, products they can use to protect their business from cyber threats, and how to meet the compliance and regulatory requirements in their specific industry. With the outsourcing of IT services to security companies, organizations can completely protect their IT infrastructures without having to hire internal IT staff.


[1] 7 ways to prevent Cryptolocker attacks

[2] Crucial steps of security audit to protect your IT infrastructure

[3] Cybersecurity Training: Why Your eLearning Is Incomplete Without Cybersecurity

[4] Writing an internal communication strategy: your step-by-step guide

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