Some employers are sending fake "phishing" emails to test their employees' safe computing practices. Should you do it too?
One of the most popular fake "phishing" emails pictures a Turkish Angora cat with a purple mohawk and the subject, "Check out these kitties! :-)" The email includes an attachment or link promising more feline photos. But workers who click it get a surprise: A warning from their IT departments not to open such emails, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Why are employers doing this? Because many realize that it's not foreign hackers who cause the most harm to their networks and databases. Instead, it's employees who open suspicious emails and unwittingly invite viruses onto work computers.
While these fake phishing emails may seem like a lot of effort just to teach your employees a simple lesson (i.e., don't open unknown emails or attachments), there may be some validity for using such methods. For example:
The company behind the fake cat "phishing" email, PhishMe Inc. of Virginia, says about 3.8 million workers have received the cat email in their inboxes. Such exercises can reduce an organization's risk of falling for "phishing" scams by about 50% in the first six months, according to PhishMe's website.
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