Phishing isn't new. This social engineering tactic has existed in the attack toolbox for decades, with threat actors posing as trusted contacts and then targeting unsuspecting victims through email or text messages to steal sensitive data.\n\nThere are plenty of data points that illustrate the effectiveness of this attack method. According to the Fortinet 2023 Global Ransomware Report, phishing is the top tactic (56%) malicious actors use to infiltrate a network and launch ransomware successfully.\n\nWhile malicious actors always attempt to craft legitimate-looking phishing communications, some cybercriminals excel at this more than others. Historically, phishing communications have often been easy to spot because of careless drafting, full of spelling errors, and incorrect grammar.\n\nYet as AI-driven content tools become more broadly available at a low or no cost, cybercriminals are turning to these technologies to advance their operations. One way they're doing this is by using AI to make their phishing emails and text messages appear more realistic than ever before, increasing the chances they\u2019ll succeed at getting their unsuspecting victims to click on a malicious link. \n\nAs we usher in a new era of AI-crafted communications, your employees have an even more critical role in defending against attempted breaches. However, simply advising employees to look for \u201ctraditional \u201cattributes of phishing is no longer enough to keep your organization safe. Beyond investing in the right technologies\u2014such as enabling spam filters and implementing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)\u2014employee education can make or break your efforts to safeguard your organization from phishing and ransomware. \n\nPhishing remains the No. 1 delivery method for ransomware\n\nAccording to recent research, phishing remains the No. 1 attack vector associated with ransomware delivery. And it\u2019s easy to see why it\u2019s the vector of choice, as attackers continue having success with this tactic. According to data from phishing assessments conducted by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, 80% of organizations had at least one employee who fell victim to a simulated phishing attempt. \n\nRansomware continues to impact organizations of all sizes across all industries and geographies. And while most business leaders believe they\u2019re ready to defend against ransomware\u201478% say they\u2019re \u201cvery\u201d or \u201cextremely\u201d prepared to mitigate the threat\u2014half fell victim to a ransomware attack in the past 12 months. \n\n3 employee education efforts to protect your enterprise against phishing\n\nBecause most ransomware is delivered through phishing, employee education is essential to protecting your organization from these threats. That said, there's no single "one size fits all" education program\u2014these training efforts should be tailored to your enterprise\u2019s unique needs. Below are several types of services and\/or programs that are designed to help users understand and detect phishing and other cyber threats, all of which can serve as a great starting point for building a comprehensive employee security awareness program.\n\nEvolve your security awareness program to stay ahead of threat actors\n\nAs with the introduction of any new technology, cybercriminals will continually find ways to use these tools for nefarious purposes. This requires our security teams and every employee in our organization to become even more diligent in guarding against threats. That's why it's vital to evaluate and evolve your current cyber awareness program, ensuring learners have the most updated and relevant knowledge to keep them (and your data) safe.