The use of body-worn cameras, license plate recognition, mobile computers and other devices in the field have rapidly increased, leading to a direct correlation in an increase of cyberattacks on police departments. Just ask Albany PD and North Miami Beach PD, victims of ransomware attacks and Los Angeles PD, victim of a data breach. With attacks such as these, departments need to take action to protect themselves. A tried-and-true way is to invest in a user awareness training program.
What is a User Awareness Training Program?
Humans are the targets of cyberattacks, not tools or machines. It is far easier for attackers to trick people than it is to hack through a security system. A user awareness training program educates employees (or officers) on the foundations of spam, phishing, malware, ransomware and social engineering so they can use this knowledge to become a front line of defense.
Reasons Police Departments Need User Awareness Training Programs
Police departments and municipalities are highly vulnerable to phishing email scams that allow hackers to gain entry to a department’s system. All members of public safety departments need to be trained to recognize a phishing email scam when it hits their inbox. It is a wise decision for departments to invest in an awareness program that offers protection in three main ways:
1. Protect the Department from Freezes and Ransoms
Police departments are vulnerable to having their systems frozen and paying ransoms to cyber criminals because of the critical and therefore valuable nature of their data. This is typically done through ransomware, a sticky situation where malware is used to restrict users’ access until a ransom has been paid to the attacker. This has happened to departments across the country resulting in loss of digital files, video evidence, systems going offline and as much as $5 million paid in ransom money to criminals.
2. Protect the Public from Personal Data Leaks
Officers have a duty to protect the public. These days, that also means the public’s data. Successful hackers can easily gain access to the public’s information such as names, birthdates, email addresses, and even social security numbers.
3. Protect the Officers from Harmful Acts
Officers themselves are vulnerable to cyberattacks regarding their personal data and information. A major concern for departments is doxxing, or publishing personal information about officers like home addresses and phone numbers, creating a safety hazard for officers and their families.
What to Look for in a User Awareness Training Program
By now, a User Awareness Training Program should sound pretty good. Training officers to recognize phishing emails results in better protection for the department, public and officers themselves. But what exactly should a user awareness training program entail?
Be proactive and find a user awareness training program that offers:
Attackers are becoming more sophisticated by the minute, so your user awareness training program needs to use unique and difficult templates to challenge employees during simulated phishing attacks. If things are too easy during training, they won’t be prepared for the real world.
Hackers don’t take breaks and neither should your program. Find a program that is year-round and regularly trains employees. Once a year training is simply not enough!
A good user awareness training program not only educates its users but engages them. Aside from text content, it might provide videos, interactive tools and quizzes. It also must be relevant and customizable to your organization.
How Brite Can Help
Brite offers a holistic user awareness training program that gives employees and officers the knowledge they need to combat phishing. Our comprehensive process includes five main steps:
We’ll gauge a starting point by testing your employees right off the bat. Then we’ll compare this data with results down the line.
We select training content from the world’s largest library of security awareness training to turn your employees into pros. Our content is complex, challenging and engaging. We’ll also craft a program that is unique to your department.
Employee phishing testing
We always select company and industry specific templates to realistically simulate phishing, vishing and smishing attacks to test your officers. Think about it – you want a program that is tailored to police departments and not a grocery store, right?
We track the success of your program with detailed reports and analytics.
We mentioned earlier that consistency is key. Brite sends out four simulated phishing campaigns a year with each campaign consisting of at least ten emails. Remember, training once a year is not enough to keep phishing scams at the forefront of the mind.
Officers and police departments are no different from anyone else – they are just as vulnerable to cyberattacks as employees in a traditional business. Departments should invest in user awareness training programs to help protect their critical infrastructures. By doing so, they protect the department, the public, and the officers who serve. Be sure to find a holistic user awareness program that offers year-round, unique training for officers.