What are Social Engineering Attacks?
Social engineering attacks are referred to as psychological manipulation to trick users into making security mistakes or giving away sensitive information, i.e., a broad range of malicious activities accomplished through human interactions.
Most importantly, social engineering is especially dangerous because it relies on human error, rather than vulnerabilities in software and operating systems.
Mistakes made by legitimate users are much less predictable, making them harder to identify and thwart than a malware-based intrusion. They exploit the one weakness that is found in every organization: human psychology. Using phone calls and other media, these attackers trick people into handing over access to the organization’s sensitive information.
Social engineering attack techniques:
The four most common attack types that social engineers use to target their victims. They are phishing, pretexting, baiting, and tailgating.
1. Phishing – Phishing is one of the most common types of social engineering attacks that occurs every day, especially during this pandemic.
2. Pretexting– Pretexting is where attackers focus on creating a good pretext, or a fabricated scenario, where they try to the victims’ personal information.
In such types of attacks, the scammer impersonates some organization asking for certain bits of information from their target to confirm their identity, later on, they steal that data and use it to commit identity theft or stage secondary attacks.
3. Baiting– Baiting is a form of distinguishing from other types of social engineering is the promise of an item or good that malicious actors use to entice victims.
4. Tailgating – Tailgating or “piggybacking” is a type of attack, where an individual without the proper authentication follows an authenticated employee into a restricted area.
Top 10 Ways to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks:
1. Make sure to check for SSL Certificate
Encrypting data, emails, and communication ensure that even if hackers intercept your communication, they can’t be able to access the information contained within. This can be achieved by obtaining SSL certificates from trusted authorities.
Furthermore, always verify the site, which asks for your sensitive information. To verify the website’s authenticity, check the URLs. The URLs which start with https:// can be considered as trusted and encrypted websites. The websites with http:// are not offering a secure connection.
2. Regular Penetration Testing
The most effective approach among the ways to prevent social engineering attacks is conducting a pen test to detect and try to exploit vulnerabilities in your organization.
If your pen-tester succeeds in endangering your critical system, you can identify which system or employees you need to concentrate on protecting as well as the types of social engineering attacks you may be prone to. Learn more about how application Pen testing can mitigate Fraud.
3. Security Patches updates
Cybercriminals are generally looking for weaknesses in your application, software, or systems to attain unauthorized access to your data. As a preventive measure, always maintain your security patches up to date and keep your web browsers & systems up to date with the latest versions.
This is because companies release security patches as a response whenever they uncover security loopholes. Maintaining your systems with the recent release will reduce the possibilities of cyber-attacks and ensure a cyber-resilient environment.
4. Enablement of Spam Filter
Enable Spam filters and close the door for offenders of social engineering security threats. Spam filters offer vital services in protecting your inboxes from social engineering attacks.
Most email service providers offer spam filters that hold the emails which are deemed as suspicious. With spam features, you can categorize emails effortlessly, and be freed from the horrible tasks of identifying mistrustful emails.
5. Extra detailed attention to Digital Footprint
Oversharing personal details online through social media can give these criminals more information to work with. For instance, if you keep your resume online, you should consider censoring your date of birth, phone number, and residential address.
All that information is useful for attackers who are planning a social engineering threat. We recommend you maintain your social media settings to “friends only” and think twice before you share anything on social media.
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