Social Engineering Attacks
"Social engineering" refers to malicious activities carried out through human interactions in which an attacker uses psychological manipulation to trick users into making security mistakes like divulging their login credentials, personal information, or downloading malicious software.
How does Social Engineering Attack happen?
Social engineering attacks occur in four stages.
- Reconnaissance - A perpetrator first investigates the intended victim to gather background information needed to carry out the attack.
- Deception - The attacker initiates the interaction to gain the victim's trust.
- Exploitation - The attacker makes the victim feel comfortable enough to reveal sensitive information or grant access to critical resources.
- Closure – All interactions with the victim is stopped, the attacker removes all traces of malware, covers his/her tracks, and leaves the charade to a natural end.
What makes social engineering especially dangerous is that it relies on human error, rather than vulnerabilities in software and operating systems, which can cause more havoc to the individual, business, and organization. Mistakes made by legitimate users are much less predictable, making them harder to identify and thwart, than a malware-based intrusion.
To protect yourself and your organization from such attacks, it is important to be vigilant and follow some best practices:
- Be suspicious of unsolicited emails, messages, or calls that ask for personal or sensitive information.
- Check the sender's email address and look for any misspellings or unusual domains.
- Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown or suspicious sources.
- Use strong, unique passwords for each account and enable two-factor authentication.
- Regularly update your software and security patches to protect against known vulnerabilities.
- Educate yourself and your employees about common social engineering tactics and how to recognize and report them.
Did you know?
According to Cybersecurity Ventures and the Web Tribunal, cybercriminals use social engineering attacks 98% of the time and the cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $8 trillion in 2023, growing to $10.5 trillion by 2025.
Fighting against these kinds of attack requires vigilance and a zero-trust mindset.
Remember, Cybersecurity is your Responsibility.