Social engineering is the practice of influencing people so they can obtain their personal and private information. The gathered information varies from person to person and later the social engineer uses the data collected for their purposes.
When individuals get targeted so, the attackers usually aim to get the targets passwords, credit card details, bank account details, and access to their system. The prime purpose of gaining access to the target’s system is to install malicious software so, they can get access to their bank details and passwords and can also gain control of their system.
Nearly all criminals use this technique to target the individuals because it is quite easy to misuse your natural incline of trust rather than discovering different ways to hack software. Like for instance, it is easy to make someone fool by getting their password than looking for ways for hacking the password.
Most Common Social Engineering Attacks:
Social engineering takes place in different forms anywhere where human interactions happen. Mentioned below are the five most common types of social engineering attacks. Let’s have a look.
It is one of the most common types of social engineering attacks existing today. Phishing attacks showcase the following characteristics:
- They intend to obtain the target’s personal information like name, addresses, passwords, and security numbers.
- They often use embedded links which send the users to any suspicious websites in URLs which might appear legal.
- These attacks often include threats, fear, and a sense of hurry in an attempt to influence the user to act quickly.’
It is another common type of social engineering where attackers emphasize on creating a good pretext, or even a made-up scenario which they can use to obtain target’s personal information.
Such attacks usually appear in the form of a scammer who acts as if they want a specific piece of information from their target so they could confirm their identity.
These attacks are generally used to obtain both sensitive and non-sensitive information. Highly advanced attacks might also attempt to influence their targets to perform an action which allows them to damage the structural vulnerability of an organization or a company.
3. Quid Pro Quo:
Quid Pro Quo is another type of social engineering attack which assures a benefit in return for information. Here the benefit generally means the form of a service, where baiting often takes a good.
It is yet another type of social engineering attack which is also known as piggybacking. These attacks include someone who does not have proper authentication following a worker in a restricted area.
In this type of attack, a person pretends to be a delivery driver who waits outside a building. When an employee gets the security approval and opens the door so, the attacker asks the worker to hold the door, in the way getting access from someone who has the authority to enter the company.
This type of attack does not take place in all organizations especially the big ones where any other persons require swiping a card for entering the building. But in mid-size companies, attackers can have a conversation with an employee and can use this thing to successfully coming to the company.
Baiting and phishing attacks are similar in many ways. The only thing which differs them from other kinds of social engineering attacks is the promise they make. The attacks in this type of social engineering attack promise any item or any other good thing to lure the target.
They can offer some free music, game, or movie download only when they submit their login details to a specific site.
Important Things to Remember:
Following mentioned below are some of the essential tips for individuals against social engineering practices:
Do research the facts:
It is advisable to stay alert and doubtful of any unwelcome and unwanted messages. If the email you receives seems to come from an organization you use so, you must do your research. You must use a search engine to visit the official website of the organization, or you may even check the phone directory to search for their phone numbers.
Stay Cautions of any downloads:
If you receive an email or a file from a sender whom you don’t know personally very closely then don’t download it. Because doing so will not only harm your system as it might contain malicious material, but the attacker may also gain access to your confidential information.
Overseas offers are bogus:
It is important to note that if you get an email from an international sweepstake, money from some unknown relative, and request to transfer some amount of funds from an overseas country to share an amount of money, then it is undoubtedly a scam. Thus, be aware of any such fraud.
Remember to stay in control by searching the websites on your own. You can do this by using a search engine to make sure that you fall where you aim to fall. Remaining over the links in the emails will show you the actual URL present at the bottom. However, a false email can drive you wrong.
Hijacking Emails is extensive:
Social engineers, hackers, and spammers taking control of users email accounts are becoming very widespread nowadays.
When the criminals get control over the person’s email account, they mainly target their contacts. They try to obtain their information. It is therefore suggested that if you receive an email from a known person, but you don’t expect an email along with a link or attachment, then you must check with your friends before opening or downloading those links and attachments.
The social engineers want their target to act quickly. They want them to react hastily without seeing the possible chance that there might be a scammer behind a phone call, email, or even face-to-face request on which they are acting.
It is crucial to thing first think and ask yourself if it makes sense or it is a bit doubtful. If you take a little time to act and think first, then you might move in your best possible interest and not in a way that scammers want you to respond.
Preventive Measures in Combating Social Engineering:
Social engineering is becoming rampant. Social engineers aim to control and influence human emotions and feelings and target people for their meaningful purpose. To combat social engineering is the need of time. Doing something against this practice is essential.
It is crucial to be aware and careful of emails, links, and attachments you are suspicious of. If you found any doubtful email don’t open it and if it is from an unknown person/ company delete it or you might search about it first.
If the sender is someone from your contact list, but you are still not sure about the email, then you must directly contact your friend and ask about the email.
Following are some of the preventive measures which are extremely important in tackling social engineering. Let’s have a look:
It is important to delete any request which asks your financial details and passwords. If you are asked to reply to any messaging which is seeking your information, then it is a scam.
Consider help offer as scam:
All legal organizations and cooperates doesn’t contact anyone to help them. If you do not specifically request for any assistance from the sender, then you must consider any help offer, answer your question, and refinance a home a scam. In the same way, if you get a request for any help from a charity organization which you do not know then delete it because it is a type of scam.
Set Spam Filters:
You must set spam filters. Almost every email program has spam filters. If you want to find your spam filters than you must go to the setting options and set these filters high, you must check your spam filters regularly to see if any legitimate email has unintentionally trapped here. You can also search a step-by-step guide to set your spam filters by searching the name of your email provider along with the phrase spam filters.
Install Anti-Virus Software:
Another way to prevent yourself is to secure your computer devices by installing anti-virus software, email filters, firewalls, and keep all these updated. You must set your operating system to update all these software automatically. However, if your smartphone doesn’t have an automatic update, then you should manually update it whenever you receive a notification. You can also use an anti-phishing tool offered by your web browser or any other third party to make you alert from risks.
Lock Your System:
You must also lock your laptop whenever you are not using it or are away from the workstation.
It is also essential to train everyone about security awareness. Make sure that if you are a part of an organization so, you must have a complete security awareness training program. The programs must be updated regularly to address both the general phishing threats and the latest targeted cyber threats.
Do not Reveal Your Confidential Information:
Most importantly never reveal your login details or password to anyone. Even if a technician needs to access your account, then they should do it without requiring your personal information.
Nowadays social engineering is widespread and can take different forms. These attacks can happen at any time and any place. These attacks can take place even if you are offline.
There are different ways by which you can protect yourself and can prevent these attacks.
To prevent social engineering attacks, you must educate yourself and your surrounding regarding this issue. You may also need to install antivirus software and keep it updated regularly. You can also follow the above mentioned preventive measures to avoid these attacks.