Well, I’ve had to sit on this info for quite some time but I’m happy to see that Phishme.com is now up and running. Phishme.com is founded by the Intrepidus Group who you may have heard of, with names like Rohyt Belani and Aaron Higbee at the corporate head. What is it? It’s education, but the kind of education that actually works for a change. If you’ve read this site long enough or heard my speeches you probably know I’m not the biggest fan of consumer education. It just isn’t impactful and it doesn’t give enough incentive for people to pay attention and learn. People don’t digest the information and they don’t become armed with the correct information on what to do when faced with an attack. That is until now.
Phishme.com uses a fake phishing attack to simulate what a user might see in a really targeted (Spear-Phishing) attack against the company. Specifically it scrapes the pages of an organization’s website and then sends everyone in the company a phish email to entice them to click on it and give up their credentials. Once the user is phished their information is logged and aggregated for future use by the security team to do further communication with the impacted employees or build further metrics, etc. Screenshot of the interface:
Does it work? Preliminary numbers in at least one exercise with 24,000 people say there is a huge drop in the numbers of users who stop clicking on links. In the first run of one experiment 82% opened the email and 64% entered info. In the second 28% opened and 27% entered info and in the third 4.5% opened and 4% entered data. That’s a pretty impressive reduction because it’s actually actionable and it gets people thinking almost immediately about the problem and that it can and will negatively affect them personally. Would you rather phish your users or have the bad guys do it for you? Ethics of owning your own employees aside, I think it’s hugely valuable to know this information.
There are all sorts of legal implications for doing this to your own staff and personally I think those issues are almost completely outweighed by the benefits of solid actionable training. When I talked with Rohyt about this, I get the feeling they’ve spent a lot of time trying to make the interface as difficult as possible to inadvertantly get compromised by trying not to actually transmit the password. So all in all, I think this product is going to do a lot of companies a lot of good. I can think of a dozen or so companies that need to go through this training right now. With phishing attacks becoming a constant and ever present attack, this is a very timely product!