What Is Social Engineering & Preventing Tips

Social engineering is generally a word used for a wide range of malicious activities which gets accomplished by human interactions. It uses the technique of psychological manipulation to trick users from making security mistakes or even giving away any sensitive information.

Social engineering intends to divulge information or to take action through technology. The fundamental purpose behind social engineering is to take benefit of a victim’s natural propensities along with emotional reactions.

The social engineering attacks often happen in more than one step. The culprit or hacker at first investigates about the intended victim. It is done to collect required background information like possible points of entry and puny security protocols to proceed the attack further. After this, the culprit makes another move to achieve the victim’s trust and give stimuli for following actions which often breaks security practices, like revealing complex information or providing access to some critical resources.

Types of Social Engineering Techniques:

There are different types of social engineering which are performed everywhere where human interactions take place. Following mentioned below are the most common types of social engineering attacks:

Baiting:

It is a type of social engineering which depends upon a victim taking the lure. The person who is dangling the bait wants to lure the target into taking action. The most hated form of baiting often uses physical media to spread the malware.

In real-world baiting is like Trojan Horse which uses physical media and depends on the curiosity and greediness of the victim. It is somehow similar to phishing attacks. The only thing which makes it different from other social engineering attacks is their promise of an item or any good which culprit/ attackers use to lure the targeted person. The baiters bid users free music, movie, or any downloaded site if they submit their login identifications to a specific site.

Example:

The attacker may leave a USB loaded with malware at a place where it is easily visible to the victim. Moreover, the attacker might also label it in an attracting or luring way like ‘’for office use only’’ or Confidential. The victim who gets attracted to the bait will surely pick it up and will plug it in its system to see what it is. In this way, automatically the malware will inject into the victim’s system.

Phishing:

Phishing is a way to obtain information from an unknown and unaware victim. Even though of its notoriety, it remains successful. In phishing, the culprit often sends an email or text to the target to seek information which might help with a more noteworthy crime.

Example:

Let’s suppose an imposter sends emails which appear to come from a source which is trusted by the targeted person. The source can be a bank who is asking for emails receivers to click on a link to log into their accounts. People who get fooled easily after clicking to that link enters to a fake website. If they log in at the phony site so, very quickly, they are providing all of their login credentials and access to their bank account.

Spear phishing is yet another type of phishing which is very prevalent. In this form, the culprit tries to target a specific person. The attacker might trace down the name or email of a particular company and then sends emails to the targeted person, and it will appear to come from the top-level company executive.

Email Hacking:

People usually pay attention to messages from people they often know. Many criminals take advantage of this by capturing emails accounts and spamming account contact lists.

Example:

For instance, you receive an email from your friend with a subject ‘’Check this site; it’s cool’’, you won’t think twice before opening it and will open it casually. The thing is an imposter by taking someone else’s email account can easily make those on the contact list, and they believe they receive an email from someone they know. The fundamental objective of this act is to spread malware and to trick people out of their data.

Pretexting:

Pretexting means to use interesting grounds, cause, or ploy to capture someone’s attention. Once the pretext hooks the person, the imposter will try to fool the targeted person into giving something of worth and value.

Example:

You receive an email which names you as the beneficiary of a will. The email will ask for your personal information to prove that you’re the actual beneficiary and to also speed the transfer of your inheritance as soon as possible. Instead, you’re at a possibility of being at risk of providing a fraudster the ability not to add your bank account, but the access to withdraw your funds.

Quid pro quo:

The Quid pro quo attacks are usually a promise which benefits in exchange for information. The benefit often comes from service while baiting frequently takes the form of an advantage.

These attacks are considered as a request for your information in a swap for some compensation. It can be a free T-shirt or get access to an online game or service as a substitute for your login information, or even a researcher who is asking for your password as a part of some experiment in exchange for $200.

Example:

A typical case of Quid pro quo attacks involves fraudsters or imposters who pose as IT service people and who often spam calls as many direct numbers which belong to a company as they could find. Such attackers help IT to almost every victim. The imposters promise a quick fix in exchange for the users disabling their anti-virus programs and installing malware on their systems which assumes the appearance of software updates.

Five useful tips to avoid ‘’Social Engineering Attacks.’’

Social engineers intend to manipulate and deploy human feelings and emotions like fear, curiosity, or to carry out schemes and even draw victims into their traps. Thus, it is essential to be cautious whenever you feel something is wrong about an email, or an attracted offer on a website, and even you come across wandering digital media lying about. Staying cautious and will help you protect yourself against various social engineering attacks which take place in the digital area.

Here we are providing some of the useful tips against social engineering attacks. The tips are as follows:

  • Be cautious in opening emails and attachments from doubtful sources: It is advisable that if you don’t know the sender of the email so, there is no need to open it and respond it. Even if you know the sender but you are bit suspicious and doubtful about their messages so, you should double check and confirm the news from some other sources, like by a telephone or directly from an ISP Always remember that email addresses get deceived all the time. Even if an email supposedly coming from a reliable source may have been started by a hacker/attacker.
  • Use a multifactor authentication: The most critical information attackers collect from the victim are user credentials. It is suggested to use a multifactor authentication which ensures your account’s protection and security. The Imperva ‘’Login Protect’’ is an easy-to-deploy and straightforward 2FA solution which increases the safety of your accounts.
  • Be cautious of attracting offers: If you think an offer is too tempting and alluring so, think twice before you accept it. You can also google the topic and can collect information about it. By doing so, you will get be assured that whatever you are doing is a legitimate offer or is a trap.
  • Install and keep your AV programs updated: It is essential to make sure that all the automatic updates get appropriately accomplished. You should also make a habit to download the current signatures first and keep a check that all the updates are done on time. Also scan your system, for all possible infections and viruses.
  • Make use of your email software: Most of the emails program can help you to filter out junk mails which also includes scams. But if you think it is not working correctly so, you can do online research and can find how to change its settings. The prime aim is to set your spam filter too high so to clear out as much junk as possible.

Social engineering very prevalent nowadays. It can happen anytime and anywhere. These attacks occur either you are offline, or online. The best possible defense against all such kinds of attacks to aware and educate not just yourself but also others so, they are informed of the risks. Secondly, follow the preventive tips to stay alert and secure.

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