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2nd Annual Phish Throwdown: This Time It’s Personal

We had a lot of fun with our Black Hat email contest last summer, but this year, it’s time to get personal. No, we’re not talking about chatting over dinner and a movie. We’re talking about a contest that takes off the gloves and brings the best recipe for a highly personalized spear phishing email.

Highly personalized spear phishing emails contain details specific to a recipient, such as their name, the name of familiar co-workers, systems, or events. These are the types of emails that entice even a savvy user to click, as they will often appear to be from a person familiar to the recipient, deal with a topic relevant to the recipient’s job, and exploit a topic that will generate an emotional response.

Within PhishMe, highly personalized scenarios contain placeholders that could include the recipient’s job title, supervisor’s name, an interesting website, a system or application used at the company. For example, a placeholder SUPERVISOR_NAME would pull the name assigned as supervisor for each recipient. For a visual, see the following screenshot:


Sample Highly Personalized Screenshot

When designing your winning entry, make sure to include at least three placeholders.

Our panel of expert judges will evaluate the entries based on the following criteria:

• Originality: We’ve seen a lot of phishing emails, show us something new.
• Persuasiveness: Would the recipient even think about clicking on this?
• Realism: Is this believable in the real world?

Crafting an email that meets all of the above criteria won’t be easy, and if the competition is anything like last year’s contest, only a package of awesome rewards could justify the sweat and effort. So, the winner will handsomely receive  his/her choice of a Pebble Watch, GoPro Hero3 White Edition, or Sonos Play:1 speaker, in addition to a custom, one-of-a-kind PhishMe t-shirt and bragging rights – of course.

How to submit an entry?

  1. Read the Contest Terms and Conditions
  2.  Fill out the form with the required fields by 12 AM EDT on Tuesday, July 29th.

We’ll be announcing the winner during the week of Black Hat 2014 in Las Vegas, NV.

Good luck!