Chris Lawrence is a journalist and chief editor at Wlan Labs. He has been writing about technology for more than ten years. He writes about everything ranging from privacy to open source software. His goal is to educate readers about important topics to help make their lives easier.
Phishing is a form of hacking that most people do not know they are vulnerable to until they become victims of it.
A study by Cisco found that around 86% of businesses are vulnerable to phishing attacks. It only takes one person to click the link to open the whole business to hackers.
This study shows exactly why it is so important that we start taking cybersecurity threats like Phishing seriously. We need to start training everyone in our organizations to spot and avoid these scams.
Due to how cybercriminals operate, it is not enough to do one training session on Phishing with your employees. Every time you learn one of their tricks, they create two more.
Businesses need to take advantage of the power of Phishing simulation and testing tools that are out there. Ones that will allow them to stay ahead of the people who are trying to rob them.
In today’s article, we will be sharing with you the 10 best options on the market right now, a buyer’s guide to Phishing solutions, and answering some of your questions on the topic.
Best For Big Businesses – Hook Security
You often pay through the nose for subscription services if you’re a big business. Things are a little different with Hook Security. The more employees you bring on board, the less you will be paying per person per month.
So, what does Hook Security have to offer?
Hook is a cloud-based phishing simulation and training provider that allows you to run fast, impactful, and educational phishing simulations. They have a range of thousands of templates that will allow your security experts to put together tests relevant to your employees.
These templates are updated to reflect real-life phishing scams and are incredibly easy to set up. They will allow you to test thousands of employees with less than half an hour’s work on your part.
Hook collects all the data and feeds it back to you on an easy-to-read dashboard that allows you to track progress and stop where there is room for improvement.
One of the best features that Hook offers is its Email 365 plug-in. This will allow employees to flag suspicious emails to the admin with a push of a button. This is used to track their performance in the tests, but it also allows them to alert the right people about real phishing attempts instantly.
You could be alerted to a company-wide phishing scam before most people have had a chance to open the email.
- Bulk order discount
- Email plug-in
- Thousands of templates
- The smaller your business, the more expensive per person
#2 – Best Reviewed – Phished
Phished is one of the biggest phishing simulator companies in the world. They are currently working with over 1000 businesses and have specialized content for businesses depending on what country they are based in.
The Phished program is designed to equip employees with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves and the business from attempted cyber attacks. Their methods are tried and tested. And they are effective.
Phished is a web-based system that allows administrators to set up and run complex phishing tests throughout the company.
You will have the option to run automated tests picked from a range created by Phished, customize these tests to suit your business better, or even use Phished’s tools to create your own tests from scratch.
Phished comes with an email plug-in that works on Outlook and Google Mail. This plug-in will create a report button that employees can use to report any emails they deem to be suspicious. The system will alert you when emails outside the simulation are flagged as suspicious.
The reports dashboard is easy to use, and you can customize it to suit your visual needs. Our only criticism about this product is that the dashboard is not always easy to read.
- Complex testing system
- Can create completely custom tests
- Well-trusted company
- Reporting on the dashboard could be improved
#3 – Best All-Rounder – SafeTitan From Titan HQ
SafeTitan is the titan of online security. The company was founded in 1999 and has provided top-of-the-range security for companies since then.
They currently have 12,000 businesses on their client list, some of which are huge – like Vodafone, Microsoft, and Comcast.
This is a double-edged sword – you will get some of the best phishing testing and solutions out there, but unless your business is bigger than Microsoft, you won’t be a priority customer.
You will also, of course, be paying top prices for top-of-the-range software.
If you are looking for training software that will change your employees’ approach to cyber security but also makes sure that they have fun while they do it – then look no further. SafeTitan has everything you need.
Their tests are complex, constantly updated, and gamified to keep your employees learning quickly.
This software studies how employees use their email and interact with previous tests. It creates tests based on this, providing each individual with an almost personalized testing experience.
They also provide a huge training library, completely unrivaled by every other company on this list. And the best part about it is that this library is full of engaging and genuinely useful training materials.
They’re fun and will teach your employees everything they need to know.
Some businesses reported a 96% performance improvement in just a few months.
Their management dashboard is also unrivaled. The admins have complete control over what they see and when. Setting up a dashboard that suits them is easy, and they have a friendly, helpful team that can solve issues quickly.
- Complete security solution
- Best training library on the internet
- Complex and tailored phishing tests
- Expensive solution
#4 – Hoxhunt
If you want to try out an exciting start-up company looking to do things differently, you should check out Hoxhunt. They are a European company that thinks outside the box regarding phishing simulations and testing solutions.
If you want to run phishing tests but don’t have a team to manage them or don’t have the time to do it yourself, then outsource your testing to Hoxhunt. They will handle everything for you while allowing you to have a good amount of control over what tests are being run.
This software was made with the user in mind and is as much about enabling your employees to learn and track their own improvement as letting you get a birds-eye view.
They also offer their services in over 20 languages. They have just raised $40 million in investment and are looking to expand their services in the next few years.
If you like what they do, we recommend you get in now before their prices inevitably go up.
- User friendly
- Unique approach
- Fully managed service
- They are a young Company
- About to go through a lot of changes
#5 – Cofense (Formally Known As PhishMe)
Cofense is a company that offers a wide range of cybersecurity services and solutions for businesses. They have a wide range of free resources on their website too.
If you are a small business with less than 500 employees, you can get a version of the PhishMe software for free. You can upgrade to the more sophisticated version if you want to.
The PhishMe software is more popular with employees than it is with managers. It is easy to use, but occasionally working through the collected data can feel like a real slog.
One of the things managers will like about this product is that you can set up a year’s worth of tests for your whole company with less than an hour’s work. You could spend less than 5 minutes each month and still get amazing results.
PhishMe has email plug-ins that work on nearly every form of business email, unlike other options on this list that are limited to one or two email companies.
- Free version available
- Works will most emails
- Quick to set up
- The management dashboard could be improved
#6 – Barracuda
Barracuda is a company with over 20,000 customers, operating in over 80 countries. It was launched in 2002 and offers a wide range of cybersecurity services, phishing simulations, and testing solutions.
You can purchase just the phishing protection training from Barracuda or buy their total package at a discount that will give you access to over 10 cybersecurity tools.
Barracuda supports over 20 different languages and allows a large amount of customization on their tests. These sets are easy to set up and even easiest to run. They are constantly being updated based on real-world examples of phishing attacks.
Barracuda takes their tests beyond just phishing attacks, but it also allows your employees to prepare themselves for SMiShing and vishing.
Barracuda has a reputation for having one of the most powerful reporting systems on the market. They claim that their system collects over 16,000 data points to organise their reports.
Their email plug-in works with all major email systems and allows employees to report phishing attempts outside the training simulations.
- Powerful reporting
- User-friendly system
- Well-established company
- Sometimes reports contain too much data
#7 – Mimecast
If you’re looking for a company that can offer you a fully functioning security platform and a training and phishing simulator, you should check out Mimecast.
Mimecast is a security suite with threat protection, safe archiving, and more.
Because it is a full security system, rather than just testing software, you will be paying more for this service than the other options on this list. But, remember that you will be getting more for it.
Their phishing simulation SAFE Phish is built into the security system. It allows you to set up and run long-term security tests on your business. These sets are slower to set up than most other phishing tests, but they will work well.
On top of offering the testing system, Mimecast comes with a well-stocked library of video training courses – including a few courses on phishing.
Mimecast allows you to look at individual performances in tests, as well as the performance of the company as a whole – giving you more complex feedback and insights.
- Full security system
- Lots of training materials
- Phishing software is not available separately
#8 – KnowBe4
If you have worked in multiple companies, you have probably seen the KnowBe4 training programs before. As far as cybersecurity training is concerned, KnowBe4 is the go-to guy in the industry.
They claim to have over 36,000 customers worldwide who they are servicing in over 34 languages. They have over 5000 templates for campaign admin to pick from when they are creating their tests.
As far as the training library goes, KnowBe4 would probably only be beaten by TitanSafe. They have a really impressive range of training videos and have been at the cutting edge of this industry for many years.
If you wanted a tried, tested, and true system, they don’t come more tried and tested than KnowBe4.
The major issue with KnowBe4 is that they have quite a complicated tiered pricing system – ranging from silver to platinum. There are a lot of features in the platinum band that many other companies would give you at the base level.
That being said, there are other companies on this list that we think have something better to offer. We might think differently if all the services were available at one lower price level.
- Industry-leading company
- Amazing library of resources
- Lots of important features are locked behind higher price points
#9 – IRONSCALES
This is another platform that will give you an email security system blended in with a phishing testing system. If you are looking for that, this well-priced option blends artificial intelligence and human input to make a smart and fast security system.
IRONSCALES describes itself as an “all-in-one” phishing security solution. They offer protection from phishing attacks and a platform to train your employees. They have a good-sized library of training materials too.
IRONSCALES takes a smart approach to phishing training. They gather data from each of its users and tailor their tests and training to the user’s specific needs. Users will be scored based on their performances on previous phishing tests. The tests they receive as the campaign goes on will be dictated by their score.
IRONSCALES does not take a one size fits all approach to cybersecurity training.
As this is all-in-one security, you cannot purchase phishing training and testing software independently.
- Constantly evolving training methods
- More expensive than the average software on this list.
#10 – Proofpoint
Finally, let’s talk about our last option, Proofpoint.
Proofpoint claims to be on the human factor of cybersecurity by creating tools to help people navigate the complexities of a computer-driven world.
Over the last decade, Proofpoint has bought up some of the best cybersecurity tools on the market and has brought them into the Proofpoint repertoire. The Proofpoint Security Awareness Training is one of their best products.
They have over 700 templates available that you can completely customize to your location and industry. Their services are available in over 35 languages too.
Anyone trying to run an immersive campaign that will challenge even the most seasoned and tech-savvy employees will love the options that Proofpoint offers.
If you live inside the US, you will have the opportunity to run email and SMS tests (SMS tests are not available outside of the US).
Their phishing simulation service is called ThreatSim. It is powerful, smart, and easy to customize. It does take some time to set up, however.
- Powerful simulation tool
- Lots of language and customization options
- It can take a while to set up
Phishing Simulation And Testing Solutions – A Buyer’s Guide
When you are looking to buy a phishing simulation and testing solution for your business, you should consider these six elements before making a purchase.
For a phishing simulation to be successful, your employees must not be aware that they are being tested.
Some companies will offer you a selection of email templates you cannot customize. This might not be an issue if these templates are top of the range.
However, if these templates are created to test your employees, then you won’t get any genuine test results, and your employees won’t learn anything.
The more you can customize the templates, the more likely you will get genuine feedback and responses from your employees.
Once your administrators have run their testing simulations and campaigns – you will need to be able to gather all that data in one place. This will help you work out how to move the cybersecurity of your business forward.
A well-designed dashboard will allow you to do this.
You will want to make sure that the email plug-in offered by the company works well, is easy to use, and allows you to spot and report real phishing and fake attempts.
If the company you want to purchase from offers a free trial, you should definitely use it.
This will allow you to ensure that the templates are customizable enough and that the dashboard works correctly for your company.
Some of the most established companies may not offer a free trial. This may be a red flag. If they have a good service, the free trial will only make you more likely to buy the product at the end of it.
Some phishing simulators have started to offer SMS testing options on top of email testing. Is this something you think your company would benefit from training in?
Do you have the staff (or the budget for the staff) available to run your phishing campaigns and testing?
Some companies may be able to hand these duties over to their IT Department.
If not, you might want to consider shopping with a company that will handle the whole process for you. Essentially allowing you to outsource your cyber security training.
Once you know who has passed and failed your phishing tests, what do you do with this information?
Some companies would have you go through all this data yourself and point failing employees towards the right form of training.
While others will automatically enroll failing employees in personalized courses based on their test results.
A good testing system is good, but that alone cannot improve your business’s cybersecurity.
It needs to be coupled with a library of training materials your employees can use to teach themselves and improve their knowledge base.
You should take the time to see what users think of the training materials provided by a company. The more entertaining and engaging the training is, the more likely your employees are to complete their training.
Are you looking for a full security system that works together? Do you need to build your cybersecurity system up from scratch, or are you just looking to fill in areas like phishing simulation and training?
It is possible to purchase both online. Be aware that if you buy a complete security service, you will have to pay more because you purchase a lot more software.
The final thing you need to consider is how much you can afford to pay for your phishing simulation and testing software.
Nearly all of these companies only offer their services on a subscription basis. With some locking some features behind high price bands.
Some companies will offer bulk discounts, while others will raise their prices if you want to add extra employees to your subscription pack.
The more you shop around, the more likely you will find a good deal.
What Is Phishing?
Phishing is a form of hacking through which the hacker sends out fake emails that contain a link. If the reader clicks on the link, they will be led to a cloning page asking them to enter a password or their card details.
Once the details have been entered into the site, the hackers will access many users’ accounts and money.
If one person in the business falls for a phishing scam, the hackers may be able to access the whole company’s computer systems.
How Do I Spot A Phishing Attempt?
Here are five things to look for when you think an email might be a phishing scam:
1. Check the email address. Does it match the company it claims to be from? Someone from Apple will not be emailing you from a Gmail account.
2. Check that the domain they are emailing from is spelt correctly. For example, you don’t want to engage with an email from appple.com or facebook.com
3. Look for spelling mistakes in the email and poorly written copy. Hackers know that most people don’t bother to properly read their emails. So, they don’t spend time ensuring their grammar is correct.
4. Avoid any large company email containing attachments or suspicious links.
5. The email is trying to rush you to act. A large company won’t do this to you. In many cases, they are legally required to give you a lot of warning before charging you or making changes to your account.