Social engineering is an act of tricking people into taking advantage of their human nature to gain important, confidential information. Instead of targeting digital devices such as PCs or phones ‘ security vulnerabilities, cybercriminals leverage human psychology to control or confuse them, gaining confidence from them and eventually gaining access to houses, computer systems, and personal or confidential data. The details that they can get is from a company’s own banking information, password or even highly classified documents. We like to target their potential victims who work for big corporations, manipulate the natural tendencies and emotional reactions of humans, trick someone into revealing information, such as login details, and then gain access to the company’s centre.
Baiting is also an act of tricking people in many ways similar to phishing. They gain the trust from victims by offering free item such as music, movie downloads to entice them. In this way, users are tricked and give them login information.
Pretexting is defined as the practice of presenting oneself as someone else in order to get trust from the victim and gain private information from them. It is more than just creating a lie, in some cases, it can be creating a whole new identity and then using that identity to manipulate the receipt of information. Usually, attackers create a fake identity and use it to manipulate the receipt of information.
Phishing attacks are the most common type of attacks leveraging social engineering techniques that occurs today. In most phishing scams, attackers trick people into providing sensitive information like banking account and passwords. There are some of the most common situations that could happen in phishing.
- Attackers make up some fake messages that only have part of the information or a curious topic to attract victims’ attention, to get a full view, victims need to click the URL they provided.
- Attackers use URLs that look like they are legitimate ones, however, the hidden links actually take you to a malicious domain that could host exploit codes. So victims lose their information and the computer just get infected by automatically load the malware.
- Incorporate attacks, fear and urgency in an attempt to manipulate the victims to quickly respond.
How to avoid social engineering?
1.Don’t click on any suspicious links
Consider all sources suspicious. Regardless of how real the email appears, typing a URL into your browser is better than clicking on a link.
2. Investigate the facts.
Suspect any unsolicited messages. If the email looks like it’s from a service you’re using or seems like it’s from work, do your homework. Use a search engine to go to the real company’s site, or find their phone number on their sites.
3.Install an antivirus software
Install anti-virus software, firewalls, email filters and keep these up-to-date.
“Many of the most-damaging security penetrations are, and will continue to be, due to social engineering, not electronic hacking or cracking,” said Mogull.
Social engineering has become the biggest cybersecurity risk in the last decade. The number of cybercrime has been steadily increasing as there are more and more internet users in the world. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is also a great tool to add an extra layer to your online security, as it highly encrypts your network tunnels and hides your real IP address, preventing those attackers hacking on your devices and stealing your information. Building exploitation awareness and sharpening your eyes as you browse online.