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Don’t Fall for the Trickery: Understanding Social Engineering and How to Protect Yourself

What is Social Engineering

Social engineering involves manipulating people into revealing confidential information or doing things that may not be in their best interest. It is a tactic often used by attackers. It is a psychological manipulation that exploits human trust and social norms to achieve a desired outcome.

According to ZD-Net, organisations face an average of 2.7 social engineering attacks per day, totalling around 700 attacks per year.

With the increasing reliance on technology in our daily lives, social engineering has become a standard and effective method for attackers to access sensitive information and systems.

This blog will explore the various tactics used in social engineering attacks and discuss ways to protect yourself and your organisation from these threats.

Type of Attacks

Several different tactics can be used in social engineering, including pretexting (creating a false identity or scenario to gain trust), phishing (sending fraudulent emails to obtain sensitive information), baiting (offering something desirable to get information), and scareware (using fear to manipulate someone into taking a desired action).

Phishing

One way attackers use social engineering is through phishing, where they send fake emails that seem to be from reputable sources like banks or government agencies. The email may contain a link that, when clicked, downloads malware onto the victim’s computer, or it may ask the victim to enter sensitive information, such as login credentials or personal identification numbers.

Another example is pretexting, where an attacker creates a fake identity and uses it to gain the victim’s trust. For example, an attacker may pretend to be a representative from the victim’s bank and ask for login information to “verify the account.”

Social engineering attacks can be challenging to detect because they rely on the victim’s trust and willingness to comply with the attacker’s requests. Therefore, it is essential to be cautious when sharing personal information or taking actions online and to verify the identity of the person or organization requesting it.

How to Protect

To safeguard against social engineering attacks, consider implementing the following measures:

  • Be wary of unexpected or unusual requests for information or assistance, especially if they come from someone you do not know or trust.
  • Please do not click on links in emails or text messages unless you are confident they are legitimate.
  • Do not provide personal or confidential information, such as login credentials or financial information, in response to an unsolicited request.
  • Use strong and unique passwords, and do not reuse passwords across multiple accounts.
  • Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible.
  • Educate employees about social engineering risks and how to recognize and protect against these types of attacks.
  • Implement security protocols and procedures, such as requiring employees to verify the identity of anyone requesting sensitive information.

By following these best practices, you can help to prevent social engineering attacks and protect your organization from harm.

Summary

Social engineering involves manipulating people into revealing sensitive information or doing things that may not be in their best interest through psychological manipulation that capitalizes on human trust and social norms. It is a tactic often used by attackers.

Several tactics can be used in social engineering attacks, including pretexting, phishing, baiting, and scareware.

To protect against social engineering attacks, it is essential to be wary of unexpected or unusual requests for information or assistance, not click on links in emails or text messages unless you are confident they are legitimate, do not provide personal or confidential information in response to an unsolicited request, use strong and unique passwords, enable two-factor authentication whenever possible, educate employees about the risks of social engineering, and implement security protocols and procedures.

We hope you enjoyed reading our post and welcome your feedback!

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Image by Katemangostar on Freepik

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