Socially Engineered Behavior To Blame For Most Security Breaches

KnowBe4 analysis shows effectiveness of security awareness training on employees

January 23, 2014

4 Min Read


Tampa Bay, FL, January, 2014

Security Awareness Training firm KnowBe4, LLC, has released an analysis of 372 companies that clearly shows the impact and effectiveness of Security Awareness Training on employees. The study was done over a 12 month period and follows behavior patterns of 291,000 end points, showing a reduction in risky behavior by over 12X. Using an initial baseline of 15.9% for the "phish-prone" (employees prone to click on dangerous phishing links), training methods used by KnowBe4 reduced this to a 1.28% average.

"It is well known amongst IT managers that the weakest link in security is the end user and we sought out a way to effectively address this, says Stu Sjouwerman (pronounced "shower-man"), KnowBe4 founder and CEO. "Nearly 40% of these companies are financial entities who typically are more aware and have tighter restrictions and yet were able to see a huge improvement, showing the program works extremely well."

Studies recently released and posted on the Sophos blog by forensics and risk management firm Stroz Friedberg, Osterman Research and SecureData Research clearly show risky behavior is still a major concern and growing.

KnowBe4, LLC, and security expert ("The World's Most Wanted Hacker") Kevin Mitnick released a new version of the Kevin Mitnick Security Awareness Training 2014&trade that includes additional templates and customization options. This brand-new, high quality 30-40 minute web-based interactive training uses case-studies, live demonstration videos and short tests. The training specializes in making sure employees understand the mechanisms of spam, phishing, spear-phishing, malware and social engineering and also includes a new, condensed 15-minute version for executives which specifically focuses on Advanced Persistent Threats in nine languages.

As phishing and social engineering tactics become increasingly sophisticated and difficult to detect, "The threat posed by malware should not be underestimated, particularly considering that employees have consistently proven to be the weak link in companies' Internet security efforts," noted Mitnick. "In most cases, their involvement is unintentional – they unknowingly allow access to corporate networks simply because they don't know what to watch out for. That's why our security awareness training is designed to ensure they understand the mechanisms of spam, phishing, spear-phishing, malware and social engineering, and are able to apply this knowledge on the job. This allows organizations to create a 'human firewall' that actively works to prevent network security breaches."

Regularly-scheduled phishing security tests with customizable emails help keep employees on their toes. Those users who fall for the simulated phishing attacks can receive instant remedial training. An admin console provides before-and-after reports with instant graphs detailing the effectiveness of the training.

To help organizations determine their risk, companies can request a free phishing security test to determine the percentage of employees who are Phish-prone&trade, or susceptible to phishing attacks. To learn more about KnowBe4's Kevin Mitnick Security Awareness Training and to access additional cybercrime prevention resources, visit

About Kevin Mitnick

Kevin Mitnick is an internationally recognized computer security expert with extensive experience in exposing the vulnerabilities of complex operating systems and telecommunications devices. He gained notoriety as a highly skilled hacker who penetrated some of the most resilient computer systems ever developed. Today, Mitnick is renowned as an information security consultant and speaker, and has authored three books, including The New York Times best seller Ghost in the Wires. His latest endeavor is a collaboration with KnowBe4, LLC.

About Stu Sjouwerman

Stu Sjouwerman is the Founder and CEO of KnowBe4, LLC. An IT Security expert with 30+

years in the industry, Sjouwerman (pronounced shower-man) was the co-founder of Inc. 500 company Sunbelt Software, an award-winning anti-malware software developer that was acquired in 2010 by GFI Software, a portfolio company of Insight Partners. Realizing that the end-user is the weak link in IT security and this being seriously neglected, Stu decided to partner with famous former hacker Kevin Mitnick and help IT pros to tackle cybercrime tactics utilizing New School Security Awareness Training combined with regular simulated phishing attacks. Sjouwerman is the author of four IT books, with his latest being Cyberheist: The Biggest Financial Threat Facing American Businesses Since the Meltdown of 2008.

Company Overview: KnowBe4, LLC provides Kevin Mitnick Security Awareness Training to small and medium-sized enterprises, and recently introduced the brand new KnowBe4 Compliance Manager, SaaS that helps IT administrators and Compliance Officers to automate their audit- and compliance workflows, dramatically cutting down audit costs and improving organizational compliance. KnowBe4 services well over 400 customers in a variety of industries, including highly-regulated fields such as banking, finance, healthcare, insurance and high-tech. KnowBe4 expanded with a YoY growth of 427% 2012 – 2013.

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