Social Engineering- Tricking a person into giving sensitive information or performing action that allows a hacker to obtain unauthorised access to networks is known as social engineering.
Hackers use a potential victim’s natural habits and emotional reaction in social engineering attacks. Social engineering is used by attackers because it is easier to abuse your natural tendency to trust than it is to find alternative ways to penetrate your systems. Unless the password is weak, it is easier to trick someone into providing their password than it is for a criminal to try to hack it.
Important Points to Remember
- Tricking an unwary user into completing an action that allows a cybercriminal to get access to systems and data is known as social engineering.
- Because it is easier to exploit your natural desire to trust, attackers deploy social engineering approaches.
- Baiting, phishing, spear-phishing, email hacking and contact spamming, pretexting, vishing, and quid pro quo are all common social engineering techniques.
- To avoid social engineering attacks, install a security solution, update your software, and stay watchful.
Humans: The Security’s Weakest Link
Any security expert will tell you that the human who accepts a person or circumstance at face value is the weakest link in the security chain. No matter how many security tools a corporation has, if its employees trust strangers without verifying their legitimacy, the company is absolutely vulnerable.
What are the many types of social engineering?
Hackers use a variety of social engineering techniques to steal personal information.
- Baiting: a hacker entices a victim into action by dangling a bait. A fish reacting to a worm on a hook is akin to this social engineering attack. An attacker might, for example, put a malware-infected USB stick in a company’s lobby or lounge. The hacker may also give the device an appealing name, such as “Salaries,” “Payments,” or “Confidential.” A victim is likely to grab the USB stick and plug it into a computer. As a result of this action, malware begins to run and self-replicate autonomously.
- Phishing: Phishing is a common method used by hackers to obtain information from people. In this social engineering technique, a hostile actor sends an email or text message to a target, requesting action or information that could help the attacker conduct a more serious crime. A phishing email looks to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank, and requests that the victim update their account information. When you click the link, you’ll be taken to a bogus website run by hackers.
- Spear-Phishing is an assault in which a hacker spears a single victim. An attacker may obtain information such as the target’s name and email address. The perpetrator sends an email that looks like it came from a trusted source, such as a senior executive.
- Email Hacking and Contact Spamming: A hacker having access to a victim’s email account can send spam emails to the victim’s contact list, leading the recipient to assume they are getting emails from a friend. To distribute malware and deceive individuals into exposing personal information, cybercriminals hack emails and spam contacts.
- Pretexting: Hackers employ a convincing pretext or trick to attract the attention of a target. They could, for example, write an email naming the recipient as a will beneficiary. To transfer the payments, the attackers ask for the victim’s personal information and bank account information.
- In a Quid Pro Quo attack, fraudsters deceive a victim into believing that they will receive a fair trade. A hacker may, for example, call a target while posing as a customer service agent or an IT technician. They ask for a victim’s login information in exchange for technical assistance.
- Vishing is a voice-based social engineering attack that is similar to phishing. The phone is used by an attacker to dupe a victim into divulging sensitive information. An employee acting as a coworker, for example, could be called by a criminal. The criminal may use accurate background information to persuade the victim to share credentials and other information that grants access to company systems and data.
Popular Compelling Pretext in Social Engineering
93 percent of successful data breaches are caused by social engineering techniques such as phishing and pretext. The following are some examples of practical social engineering tactics:
- Immediately requesting assistance from the victim
- Using phishing assaults that appear to be legitimate
- You are being asked to donate to a charity fundraiser or another cause (this compelling approach is popular during the COVID-19 pandemic)
- Create a problem that compels a victim to double-check their information by clicking a link and filling out a form.
- You’ve been notified that you’ve won.
- Hacker impersonating a boss or a coworker
How Can You Avoid Being a Victim of Social Engineering?
Here are a few pointers to help you avoid being a victim of social engineering:
- Keep an eye out: An USB stick isn’t always a safe find. Always keep an eye on the source, as hackers may have loaded harmful malware into such baits, ready to infect your PC. Your financial service providers do not need to send you a text or email asking you to update your bank information. It’s great if you always remember that hackers can simply impersonate reliable sources. However, do not open attachments or click on links from dubious sources. Instead than clicking on a link shared via text or email, always type a URL into your browser’s URL bar.
- Install an Antivirus Program or a Security Suite: Install antivirus software or a security suite. Keep your antivirus software up to date.
- Update Software: Make sure your computer and other devices are running the most recent versions of operating systems and other software. Set the operating systems to automatically download and install updates.
- Use Security Controls in Email Services: Some messages applications and services have security controls that can filter out junk email, including frauds. Increase the sensitivity of your spam filters to block as much spam and harmful emails as possible.
Do not wait until your systems and sensitive data have already been compromised by hackers. To avoid social engineering attacks, be proactive and watchful rather than reacting to a breach.