New tool helps businesses simulate phishing attacks

Microsoft has announced new security tools to help businesses understand the strengths and weaknesses of their cyber defenses.
17 April 2018

Microsoft’s new tool allows businesses to run mock ransomware. Source: Shutterstock

Microsoft has announced new security tools to help its business users simplify how they manage security across their enterprises.

One of the tools is called Attack Simulator, which allows enterprise security teams to run simulated attacks including mock ransomware and phishing campaigns.

With humans typically being the downfall of a company’s security protocol, many larger enterprises are running simulated phishing exercises which test the reaction and responses of their employees.

However, most small and medium businesses lack the budget to invest in such security measures. But now Microsoft is allowing these businesses to leverage the advantages of phishing attack simulators with its new offering.

According to a data breach investigation by Verizon, 90 percent of data breaches had a phishing or social engineering component to them. While Microsoft and others attempt to detect and put a stop to these attacks before they reach the inbox of an individual, unfortunately, some attacks cannot be prevented. And this is when it’s up to the user to know how to respond.

How does it work? The new tool allows IT professionals of a business easily formulate a mock phishing email to see if employees fall for them- and therefore need more training.

Microsoft’s new feature allows businesses to send mock phishing emails. Source: Shutterstock

Another tool released by Microsoft is called “Secure Score” which facilitates businesses in determining which controls to enable to help protect users, data, and devices.

This tool is an expansion of the current Office 365 Secure Score tool and gives IT admins a single measure for evaluating their risk profile. The new feature will also allow organizations to compare their score with similar profiles using machine learning.

Some of the other security features launched by Microsoft today rely on the Microsft Intelligent Security Graph. This is the company’s main tool for tracking and putting a halt to attacks across a variety of platforms and services.

Using artificial intelligence among other tools, Microsoft collects data from web pages, emails, and malware threats on Windows 10 and the cloud. Microsoft aims to make this data more broadly available to smaller businesses, presenting them with information on existing and potential new threats. Such insights that will strengthen organization security.

A new feature that is based on the Microsoft Security Graph is an extension of the existing Office 365 Conditional Access service. The current service ensures that only authenticated individuals who use an authenticated and compliant device can gain access to Office 365 service.

With the new update, Microsoft is combining this with data from the Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) security scanner. This will ensure that access is only given to a user if their device is healthy. This feature is currently in preview and will become generally available with the launch of the next Windows 10 update.