New Study: Human-Written Phishing Emails Work Better Than AI

generative AI phishing emailsWhile there have been a lot of concerns about the power of generative AI phishing emails and how they might allow cyber criminals to increase their phishing attacks, a new study shows that human-written social engineering emails are still more successful. With all of the advances being made in AI-based technology, in particular generative AI, security experts have been kept on their toes with all sorts of new email operations. Overcoming network security issues is a challenge for any business, but in particular for small and mid-size businesses, which are inherently more at-risk. Due to lack of budget, staff, or experience with these security issues, many small businesses are on the radar for attackers looking to gain access to sensitive data or disrupt business entirely.

How Much Better are Humans?

So while it’s good that humans are still better at writing social engineering phishing attacks than generative AI, the bad news is that they are only three percent better. The success rate for phishing emails is based on clicks, and human-written emails have a small advantage over emails written by AI. Unfortunately, the whole point of AI is for it to adapt and learn to do better over time, so that three percent advantage might all but disappear very soon. All of this was discovered in a research project that was performed at a healthcare company in Canada, which sent out fake phishing emails to their staff to find out whether they would click on them, or not.

Similar to how these emails work “in the wild,” the emails themselves were crafted to specifically target the business, using proven social engineering techniques. While it was much faster to create generative AI phishing emails, the effort taken to research and compose an email by a human paid off at a higher success rate. Some of the research includes learning specific names associated with departments at the business, understanding some of the most pressing needs within the structure that might create a sense of urgency to interact with the email, and knowledge of what the company does overall. The study showed that this can take approximately 16 hours of human work to achieve, while the generative AI chatbot was able to do it in about five minutes. In the end, the AI-generated email achieved an 11 percent click rate and the human-written version received a 14 percent click rate, a difference of just three percent.

Phishing Emails and Your Business

So what does the success rate of human-written versus generative AI phishing emails have to do with you and your company? Today’s digital landscape requires businesses to be alert to potential network security issues, establish a plan for recovery in the event of an attack, and do everything they can to prevent falling victim to phishing attacks. One way to do all of this is to work with a team of technology experts at Synivate, where we can create a customized solution based on your unique needs and requirements. Our team of highly trained and experienced technicians, technology innovators, and consultants with work with you and your staff to address all of your most pressing needs and concerns. Whether that means 24/7 monitoring and management, business continuity resources, or employee education and ongoing support, we can provide it to the degree that you require.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to network security and protecting your company’s IT infrastructure and essential data. We work with a wide variety of technologies and can offer a large range of services, support, and solutions to help you achieve your goals. Server migrations, cloud application transitions, customized IT security, data protection, unified communications, and specialized support services, Synivate has the talent, the experience, and the ability to do it all. Whether you know exactly what you want or if you need guidance in the development of your IT strategy, Synivate will be your trusted partner in designing innovative technology solutions based on your unique needs. Simply contact our team to setup a consultative session or to learn more about all of the services we provide to businesses of all sizes. We look forward to hearing from you and partnering with you to achieve your business aspirations. Give us a call at 617-517-0704 and speak with one of our friendly agents to get started.

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