Phishing training: how to improve cyber security behaviour

Responding to human risk
CultureAI Team
May 24, 2023
Security Awareness Pros

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⚡ TL;DR ⚡
  • Organisations must combat phishing by training employees to recognize and respond to suspicious emails, and safeguarding data and assets.
  • Tailored phishing training helps employees reduce human error and strengthens business cybersecurity.
  • Phishing attacks, including BEC and ransomware, increasingly target businesses through email and social media, causing substantial damage.
  • Personalised phishing training with real-time feedback, AI-driven scenarios, and progress tracking bolsters cybersecurity.
  • Automated phishing simulations enhance cyber security with customisation, flexible delivery, targeted training, and easy scalability.
  • CultureAI offers AI-driven, personalized phishing simulations with analytics to bolster cybersecurity against evolving threats.


As cyber security threats evolve and become more sophisticated, organisations must tackle one of the most significant dangers they face: phishing. This type of cyber attack involves hackers posing as trusted sources, luring certain members of a team into revealing sensitive information or clicking a malicious link. The consequences can be dire, ranging from data breaches and financial losses to lasting reputational harm.

Employees are often prime targets for phishing scams, and without adequate cyber security phishing awareness training, they may inadvertently give cyber criminals the keys to the kingdom. That's why it's crucial for organisations to educate their workforce on the perils of phishing, teaching them to identify and react appropriately to any suspicious emails or messages.

In our increasingly digital world, the risks associated with cyber attacks have never been more apparent. So, it's high time organisations take the initiative to safeguard their data and assets by investing in effective phishing email training programs.


Phishing attacks pose an ever-increasing threat to businesses, big and small. With remote work on the rise and the growing reliance on online communication tools, the likelihood of falling victim to such attack exercises has skyrocketed. In fact, phishing has become the top cyber attack method.

Yet, many businesses overlook the importance of properly training their employees to combat phishing. Astoundingly, human error accounts for up to 90% of security breaches.

This is precisely why your business needs phishing awareness. Employees must learn to spot email phishing, grasp the mechanics of social engineering attacks, and understand the risks associated with browsing the web on a mobile device connected to a company's network. Mere awareness emails won't suffice; employees require comprehensive security training work and simulated phishing training campaign to gauge and mitigate their vulnerability to attacks.

Phishing training offers the added advantage of exposing weak spots in network defences. Security teams can use these insights to prioritise email threat reports and devise strategies to fend off future attacks. Moreover, this training fosters a culture of vigilance and proactivity, where employees play an active role in defending your business against cyber threats.

It's vital to tailor phishing training options to different people, ensuring relevance to their specific roles within your online defence strategy. For instance, lower-level employees may not face business email phishing attacks, so their training simulations should concentrate on threats pertinent to their position. Relevance is key, as disinterest in phishing email training can undermine its effectiveness.

Investing in phishing cyber security awareness training is an essential measure to shield your business from cyber attacks. By educating your workforce and cultivating a culture of phishing education awareness, you can dramatically decrease the likelihood of succumbing to phishing attacks and other cyber threats. Read more on how to improve cyber security awareness.

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Phishing attacks remain a major concern for businesses, as cyber criminals constantly devise increasingly sophisticated techniques to deceive employees into disclosing sensitive information. A new report by Cofense showed that phishing emails sent in 2022 spiked by 569%.

Business email compromise (BEC) is one of the most prevalent phishing attack types, where hackers impersonate senior executives or vendors to request sensitive data or financial transfers. The report also found that for the eighth consecutive year, BEC ranked as the top cybercrime.

Ransomware is another widespread phishing attack variant in which hackers encrypt a business's data and demand payment for the decryption key. A study also found that 71% of organisations worldwide were reportedly affected by ransomware attacks in 2022.

Phishing attacks aren't limited to emails either; social media platforms have become hotspots for cyber criminals. Proofpoint's study found that 90% of social media scams in 2020 were phishing attacks, with LinkedIn being the most frequently impersonated brand.

The repercussions of phishing attacks on businesses can be disastrous, causing financial losses, reputational damage, and significant disruptions to operations. The Ponemon Institute reports that the average cost of a data breach stands at $3.86 million, taking an average of 279 days to identify and contain.


Phishing training is a vital component of any business's cyber security strategy, equipping employees with the skills to recognise and evade phishing attacks. But how effective is phishing training in practice?

The success of anti-phishing hinges on various factors, including training quality, frequency, and employees' ability to apply their knowledge in real-life situations.

Phishing training can significantly diminish the risk of succumbing to such attacks. Research indicates that employees who participate in regular phishing training are far less likely to click on dubious links or disclose sensitive information. In fact, Wombat Security found that companies using simulated phishing training experienced a 64% reduction in their employees' average phishing susceptibility rate.

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However, not all phishing email awareness training programs are created equal. Many rely on outdated or irrelevant information, which can confuse employees or breed complacency. It's crucial to select a phishing training program tailored to your business's unique needs and current phishing techniques and trends.

Phishing training can also foster a false sense of security, as trained employees might assume they are invulnerable to attacks and lower their guard. This is why incorporating regular phishing simulations into your training is essential, ensuring employees stay alert and apply their knowledge in real-life scenarios.

Automated phishing simulations, such as those offered by CultureAI, effectively reinforce phishing training and maintain staff engagement. By mimicking genuine phishing attacks, these programs grant employees hands-on experience and instant feedback, helping them develop good habits and pinpoint areas requiring further training.

IT phishing training can be a powerful tool in defending businesses against cyber attacks. Still, it's vital to choose a program tailored to your needs and updated with the latest phishing techniques and trends. By integrating regular phishing simulations and other best practices, businesses can significantly reduce their vulnerability to phishing attacks.


To implement successful phishing training, careful planning and attention to detail are essential. Here are some best practices to maximise the benefits of your training:

  1. Establish clear goals and objectives: Determine what you aim to achieve with your training and the metrics you'll use to gauge success.
  2. Begin with a baseline assessment: A baseline assessment helps identify areas where employees may be more susceptible to phishing attacks, allowing you to tailor your training accordingly.
  3. Customise training for different user groups: Tailor your training based on employees' job roles and access levels to sensitive information, as exposure to phishing attacks may vary.
  4. Incorporate real-world examples: Make your training more engaging and effective by using real-world examples of phishing attacks targeting your industry or organisation.
  5. Prioritise frequency: Phishing training should be an ongoing process, with regular sessions and simulated attacks to reinforce good habits and maintain employee engagement.
  6. Ensure interactivity: Make phishing training interactive, using quizzes, games, and other engaging elements to keep employees involved and reinforce positive behaviours.
  7. Acknowledge positive actions: When employees identify and report suspicious emails or phishing attempts, recognise and reinforce their positive behaviour.
  8. Stay up-to-date: Keep your training program current with the latest phishing techniques and trends.
  9. Include phishing training in onboarding: Equip new employees with phishing training during the onboarding process to start them off on the right foot.
  10. Measure and evaluate: Continuously measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your employee training program, using metrics such as click rates and susceptibility rates to identify areas requiring additional training.

By adhering to these best practices, businesses can develop comprehensive and effective phishing training that bolsters protection against the ever-growing threat of cyber attacks.

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A crucial aspect of effective phishing training is personalisation. Employees have varying levels of risk and susceptibility to spear phishing attacks, influenced by factors such as job role and access to sensitive information. By providing a personalised training program based on employee risk and behaviour profiles, businesses can significantly bolster their overall cyber security posture.

One approach to personalised training is just-in-time training. If an employee fails a phishing attempt, an automatic security nudge is sent via a platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams, directing them towards specific training content to avoid future mistakes. This method is highly effective, as it offers immediate feedback and reinforcement, helping to reinforce good habits and reduce the risk of subsequent phishing attacks.

CultureAI can offer personalised training based on employee risk and behaviour profile

To further enhance phishing training effectiveness, businesses should maintain a large, continuously updated phishing scenario pool based on current, real-world threats. This ensures employees are trained on the latest techniques and trends, better preparing them to identify and respond to new types of phishing attacks.

AI-driven scenario selections can also improve personalisation by choosing the best scenario and training for each employee based on their job role and historical susceptibility to phishing. By harnessing AI and machine learning, businesses can create a more personalised and effective training experience tailored to each employee's specific needs.

Monitoring employee progress over the course of time is another critical factor in personalised phishing training. Tracking metrics such as click rates and susceptibility rates allow businesses to identify areas requiring additional training and adjust their program accordingly.


Automating your simulated phishing program is a highly effective way to enhance your overall cyber security posture. Automated phishing simulations help businesses identify vulnerabilities in their network defences, giving employees hands-on experience in detecting and responding to phishing attacks.

A significant advantage of automated phishing simulations is their customisability, allowing them to be tailored to each business's specific needs. Simulations can draw from real-world examples of phishing attacks that have targeted the industry or organisation and be updated regularly to stay current with trends and techniques.

Automated phishing simulations also offer flexibility in delivery. They can be sent through various channels, including email, social media, and instant messaging platforms. This approach enables businesses to reach employees where they are and provides a more realistic simulation of real-world phishing attacks.

Another benefit of automated phishing simulations is their ability to be highly targeted. Utilising AI and machine learning, businesses can select the most suitable phishing simulations for each employee based on their job role, access to sensitive information, and historical susceptibility to phishing attacks. This ensures employees receive the training they need to boost their phishing email security awareness and reduce the risk of succumbing to phishing attacks.

Automated phishing simulations are also highly scalable, enabling businesses to run large-scale simulations without requiring significant additional resources. Automating the process of delivering and tracking simulated phishing attacks saves time and resources while still offering an effective training experience for employees.


Empowering employees to stay secure is a critical step in bolstering your overall cyber security posture. Employees often serve as the first line of defence against phishing attacks. Providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to identify and report suspicious activity can help prevent attacks before they happen.

One way to empower employees is by making it easy for them to report both real-world and simulated phishing attempts. This can be achieved by offering a reporting button or another mechanism that enables employees to quickly and effortlessly report suspicious emails or activity. When employees feel empowered to report such activity, they are more likely to do so, helping to avert attacks and reduce the impact of successful ones.

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Ensuring employees feel valued and empowered in their roles is also crucial. When employees believe their contributions matter and that they are part of the broader cyber security effort, they are more likely to stay engaged and motivated to maintain security. Regular communication and recognition of employee contributions to the overall cyber security program can foster this sense of value and belonging.


At CultureAI, we recognise the importance of safeguarding your business against the escalating threat of phishing attacks. That's why we've developed Automated Phishing Simulations designed to help you identify vulnerabilities in your network defences and equip your employees with the knowledge and training they need to stay secure.

Our Automated Phishing Simulations employ AI to deliver a highly personalised and targeted training experience tailored to each employee's specific needs. We understand that not all employees have the same exposure to phishing attacks, which is why we offer customisable training relevant to various user groups and their roles in your online defence.

With a large phishing scenario pool continuously updated based on current, real-world threats, our Automated Phishing Simulations provide your employees with the most up-to-date information and training needed for security. Our simulations can be delivered through various channels, including email, social media, and instant messaging platforms, offering a more realistic simulation of real-world phishing attacks.

We also appreciate the significance of tracking and measuring your training's effectiveness. That's why we provide advanced analytics and comprehensive reporting, enabling you to track metrics like click rates and susceptibility rates and identify areas requiring additional training.

At CultureAI, we are dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes defend themselves against the growing threat of phishing attacks. Our Automated Phishing Simulations present a comprehensive and effective training program that can enhance your overall cyber security posture and protect against the potentially devastating consequences of a successful phishing attack.

If you're interested in discovering more about our Automated Phishing Simulations and how we can help your business stay secure and see results fast, book a chat with us today to explore how we can help keep your organisation safe.

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