There are countless firms that work to make computer networks safer and identify new computer viruses. But many ignore the most important point of infection; the human behind the screen.
Founded in 2011, Cofense offers its clients traditional cyber security services like malware analysis and incident response support. But it goes further. The firm also trains people how to avoid the most common cyber attack; spear phishing.
What is Spear Phishing?
To understand spear phishing, you need to understand what phishing is. A phishing attempt is when a hacker sends malware attached to a regular email to someone’s mailbox. Often disguised as harmless emails from someone you know, once opened, the attached virus can wreak havoc on an individual’s computer as well as entire computer networks.
Spear phishing is when countless infected emails are sent with the goal of at least one of them being opened. According to the SANS Institute, 95% of all attacks on corporate networks are the result of spear phishing attempts. And they’re dangerous. The 2017 NotPetya ransomware outbreak for example was caused in part by phishing emails and cost companies billions of dollars in damages.
What Does Cofense Do?
Cofense turns employees into a company’s ‘last line of defence’ with their software training programme known as PhishMe. The program works by sending fake phishing emails to an organisation’s employees to train them not to fall for hacker attacks. Whenever a fake phishing email is opened, the employee receives a notice that the email was bugged along with advice on how to avoid making the same mistake again.
And the service is accessible to everyone. Although usually a paid service for larger clients, the company offers a free version for companies with fewer than 500 employees.
Does it Work?
It seems so. Having trained over 5 million people until now in over 160 countries, Cofense claims it can reduce chances of employees being fooled by phishing emails by up to 95%. What’s more, the company reports that 50% of Fortune 100 companies have used its services.
So long as people will be behind screens, they will be vulnerable targets. Given the increasing number of hacking victims and the sophistication of their tradecraft, Cofense’s PhishMe program is a great way to ensure the safety of our information.