Social Engineering Training: What You're Really Paying For

Social engineering attacks are currently one of the most prominent cyberattacks plaguing organizations today. While many corporations try to implement state-of-the-art software to prevent this type of threat, the most crucial safeguard is often overlooked... End users, who are the first and last line of defense when it comes to social engineering attacks. 

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to hear cybersecurity experts say, "Users are the weakest link in your organization's security." Although there may be some truth in those words, well-trained users can actually become the most effective element in achieving an overall solid security posture. 

Social engineering training programs use various methods to prepare employees to spot signs of potential social engineering attacks. This article will discuss the types of training elements you can expect when purchasing a social engineering training program.

Training Videos

First and foremost, any social engineering training will likely include educational videos. Training videos are the heart of any program because they set the stage for the rest of the training elements. 

These videos are used to introduce the concepts— like, say, a module on the types of social engineering attacks— and explain them in depth to the users. 

Many social engineering training programs embed these videos and lessons into something called a learning management system (LMS) so that each new video builds on the topics learned in the previous lessons.

When looking into various social engineering training programs, be sure to choose one in which the videos are both educational and entertaining. If the videos are dry and dull, users will quickly lose interest and miss the message behind the training. 

Live Hack Demonstrations

One of the most challenging aspects of any training program, regardless of topic, is keeping everyone interested. Live hacking demonstrations are a great way to keep users engaged in social engineering training. 

In addition to being entertaining, these demonstrations show users how easy it is for attackers to gain unauthorized access and drive home the importance of their awareness. Live hack demonstrations teach employees that cybersecurity is everyone's responsibility.

Curious as to the live hacking events we offer here? Check out this insider look into Kevin Mitnick’s live hacking experience.


Supportive Resources

Supportive resources— such as infographics, tip sheets and downloadable study guides— go a long way to increasing your cyber security awareness training program's effectiveness. After all, the more often a concept is placed in front of a user, the more likely the user will remember it.

Many programs will even allow administrators to print out the infographics. Hanging up infographics in the break room or around the office helps remind employees of the importance of being cyber aware.

Interactive Security Games

Most people would choose to play a fun game over sitting through a video. Gamifying learning has become a prevalent technique for engaging an audience in training. 

Games geared toward teaching social engineering awareness bring out the competitive nature in us all. Social engineering training games are a fun way to help teach users about the threat while keeping them entertained along the way. 

Assessments & Quizzes

Upon completing a social engineering training module, most training programs include an assessment or quiz at the end. These assessments and quizzes are crucial for determining whether the employees truly understood what was taught in the lesson. Identifying which users fully understand the concepts and which need a little more instruction allows employers to determine which employees pose a risk so you can work with them individually. 

However, assessments and quizzes should never be used to shame an employee or user into learning the topics. Instead, they should be used as a teaching tool to further security awareness. Sit down with the users who do poorly on these assessments and determine what pieces they do not understand. Some training programs even include secondary lessons for those who fail the examinations on the first try. 

Fresh Content

Social engineers use techniques that evolve with time. For example, during the global pandemic, we saw many scams from social engineers regarding vaccinations, emails from the CDC and scams involving pandemic-related financial relief programs. Because social engineering scams are constantly evolving, social engineering training programs must adapt and grow as well. 

Fresh content is one of the most significant features offered in social engineering training programs. Training developed in-house may cover the broad topics of social engineering, but they will likely not include fresh, changing content to fit the latest threat landscape. In the case of the global pandemic, many social engineering training programs covered these related topics to inform users of the scams. 

Preventing Cyber Attacks like Social Engineering

Remember, your users and employees are your first and last line of defense against social engineering attacks in many cases. It’s pertinent to prepare your team and give them the tools they need to be successful against social engineers. 

Get started by understanding what threats you and your team are up against before exploring training programs

Download our 5-½ Steps to Preventing Cyber Attacks ebook for a few actionable, high-value takeaways.

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Topics: Social Engineering, Cyber Security Training

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