Social engineering is one of the most commonly used methods of stealing information from individuals and businesses alike. This is a form of cyberattack that is usually difficult for a user to recognize because it mostly relies on human interaction rather than computer code.
The most important thing to remember about this method of attack is that it targets the user directly.
Hackers use this method to access sensitive information by manipulating the user into willingly giving up the data.
Fraudulent emails, tweets, instant messages, and even phone calls are examples of social engineering attacks.
Social engineering is a threat because it's a method of attack that potential victims sometimes overlooked, exceptionally when the spell is executed by someone who seems to be someone they know.
While some social engineering threats are easy to spot, like when you get an email from someone who claims to be your Great Aunt Susie, others are more subtle and harder to identify.
Some examples of social engineering techniques:
An example of this is phishing, where an email is sent that appears to be from a legitimate organization to encourage the recipient to reveal personal information.
(An example of a phishing email.) Targeted Email: Hi, I am writing you because I need to know if your phone number is still active. I had several pictures from our event last night, and I can't seem to find your number in the address book. Could you please resend it to me? Thanks, Jane.
Social engineering attacks are also known as “social exploits.” They are a type of computer hacking in which the attacker can obtain information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by deceiving users into giving the information away.
The attacker will either call or email the user and pretend to be an authority or pretend to be someone who the user knows. The attacker will use several techniques to get users to give away their log-in details.
Why are social engineering attacks so effective?
Social engineering attacks are effective because they exploit the weakest link in any organization's security: the people who use them. Because social engineering attacks rely on the gullibility, laziness, or compassion of people, they are often successful.
Social engineering attacks are not only the best way to gain access to a corporate network but the easiest. And once inside, there are few security measures to keep attackers from gaining access to valuable information.
Social engineers know that it is much easier to trick you into giving them the access they need to your critical data and personal information than it is to hack into your systems. Once they have your trust, they can trick you into doing whatever they want you to do.
Security awareness training
Security awareness training is a crucial part of any company's security strategy. Antivirus software is not enough to protect a company from hackers. Employees need to be taught how to recognize and avoid suspicious emails, spot phishing attempts, and identify malware.
Each company and its employees require a customized security awareness program. Company policies and procedures, security policies, and employee job descriptions must be considered when developing a training program.
While a solid cybersecurity policy should be fairly straightforward, it is a problematic venture with many pitfalls.
A cybersecurity policy is a document that either defines or references the set of business rules that will be used to guide employees in the event of a cybersecurity incident.
This could take the form of a full-blown cybersecurity policy, a more general employee code of conduct, or something in between. Regardless of the form, it must be defined and communicated to employees to have a clear line of expectations.
Federal agencies like the FBI have outlined steps that companies can take to secure their intellectual property and protect customers from identity theft.
The basic principle behind a good cybersecurity policy is that it must adapt to the changing face of the cyber threat.
You must be prepared for a wide range of potential risks, and make sure your organization's defenses are robust enough to handle them all. Make sure everything is encrypted. This includes passwords, client and server information, and of course, the company's Intellectual Property.
Think about your network as a whole and breaking it into separate components. Emphasize the importance of employee training and the need to have quality, up-to-date security software and hardware in place to detect and prevent breaches.
Employees need to be aware of the state of security on the network and the potential security. If they're not, you could be leaving your organization more exposed to a cyberattack than you intended.