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.
The mistakes that are made by authorized users are less predictable and hence making them harder to thwart and identify than a malware-based intrusion. They exploit the one weakness that is found in every organization: human psychology. These attackers trick people into handing over access to the organization’s sensitive information using different platforms.
Social engineering attack techniques:
Phishing, pretexting, baiting, and tailgating is one of the most common attack types that these social engineers use to target their victims.
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 impersonation, identity theft and other secondary stage 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.
Ways to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks:
1. Make sure to intricately check for SSL Certificate
Hackers try to intercept your communication, and if they do so encrypting your data, emails, and communication comes in handy. So, even if they intercept they can’t be able to get access to the information contained within. Obtaining SSL certificates from trusted authorities let you achieve this easily.
Furthermore, there are always websites, which asks you for sensitive information and there are times when these websites are not legitimate. To verify the website’s authenticity, always look for its URL. Websites containing https:// in their URL can be considered as trusted and encrypted websites and websites having http:// in their URL will never offer 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.
Penetration Testing helps you identify all potential vulnerabilities and provide a report. A successful penetration test is very helpful in identifying all the systems and employees that are more prone to get attacked and by which type of attack. Hiring a good penetration testing team can help you mitigate all vulnerabilities and frauds.
3. Regular updates in security patches
Cybercriminals are generally looking for weaknesses in your application, software, or systems to attain unauthorized access to your data. It is always advisable to bridge gaps between your security patches, web browsers and systems with the latest version of the software as prevention is better than cure and security is a necessary element.
Never wait for security loopholes to come into action, one thing that many companies follow is releasing security patched right after detection of loophole but by the time you release, cybercriminals can do a lot of damage. Maintaining your systems with the recent release will reduce the possibilities of cyber-attacks and ensure a cyber-resilient environment.
4. Enable the Spam Filter
Not enabling the spam filter is like offering the door keys to the hacker, hence it is very important to lock the door for social engineering security threats. Shielding your inboxes using spam filters is very vital to protect yourself from these attacks.
Email security is very important as 43% of the phishing begin with an email, keeping this in mind many email service providers offer spam filters that have an option to categorize your suspicious emails in few simple steps. Spam features help you in removing all mistrustful emails and let you browse freely through your emails.
5. Extra detailed attention to Digital Footprint or your attack surface
Oversharing personal details online through social media can give these criminals more information to work with. For instance, we all keep our resumes online what’s the big deal there but have you ever thought that all the information present there ranging from date of birth, phone number, residential address and email can be easily fetched by any social engineer who might be planning an attack.
It is better if you properly maintain your social media settings keeping in mind the security. We advise you to think twice before you share anything on social media platforms.
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