Social engineering attacks account for a large portion of all cyber-attacks, and studies show that they are becoming more common. Over 90% of successful hacks and data breaches begin with a type of social engineering attack. Cybercriminals launch a cyberattack by taking advantage of human frailties and behaviour that lead the victim to provide sensitive information that the attacker then utilises fraudulently. Additionally, they employ strategies that involve deception and scare tactics in an effort to strip the victim of all control over his network system(s) so that he is then compelled to comply with ransom demands.
These are the most common types of social engineering attacks to be aware of
Phishing emails are malicious emails that contain links or attachments that install malware on your device. We've all received scam emails, but some are more difficult to detect! Social engineers can spoof email addresses to appear to be from a boss or a trusted source.
Vhishing is an abbreviation for "voice phishing." It's the phone equivalent of email phishing, in which a bad actor calls instead of sending emails to steal sensitive information. These calls frequently use fear and urgency to elicit quick, impulsive call-backs.
Bad actors don't just leave deceptive voicemails; they've also mastered texting! They're sending targeted SMS messages to phish from your work phone or personal device. This is called as Phishing via SMS (Smishing)
Whaling is a type of phishing that specifically targets top-level business executives and government agency heads. Whaling attacks typically spoof the email addresses of other high-ranking individuals in the company or agency and contain urgent messaging about a bogus emergency or time-sensitive opportunity. Because of the high-level network access these executives and directors have, successful whaling attacks can expose a lot of confidential, sensitive information.
A vishing phone call is when a con artist employs social engineering to induce you to divulge financial and personal information, including account numbers and passwords. The con artist may claim that your account has been compromised, pose as a representative of police enforcement or your bank, or they may offer to assist you in installing software. It's probably malware, so beware.
Using emails to launch specialized assaults against people and companies, spear phishing is a type of cybercrime. These emails frequently include attachments with dangerous links to spyware, ransomware, or other harmful software. The email will also shamelessly demand a quick response from the receiver, such as a money transfer for a specified amount or the giving of private information like a banking password.
This is a more targeted version of the phishing scam whereby an attacker chooses specific individuals or enterprises. They then tailor their messages based on characteristics, job positions, and contacts belonging to their victims to make their attack less conspicuous. Spear phishing requires much more effort on behalf of the perpetrator and may take weeks and months to pull off. They’re much harder to detect and have better success rates if done skillfully.
Tailgating and Piggybacking
Tailgating is a simple social engineering attack that allows physical access to an unauthorized location. Tailgating is accomplished by closely following an authorized user into the area without being noticed. Piggybacking is very similar to tailgating. The primary distinction between the two is that in a piggybacking scenario, the authorized user is aware and allows the other person to "piggyback" on their credentials.
Best practices to prevent social engineering attacks:
Establish a security awareness campaign
Organizations can start a security awareness programme and train their employees to combat social engineering attacks. The programme should address both general phishing attacks and new, targeted cyber threats. Training is not a one-time event; educate your employees on a regular basis and test the efficacy of your programme.
A cyber security awareness education can be helpful for even the most tech-savvy employee. A good course will always cover a variety of interesting techniques and actual instances that clearly illustrate the dangers posed by social engineering attacks. Awareness training assists employees in understanding and identifying potential hazards they may experience in the digital workplace, from simulated attacks to routine password checks.
Implement multi-factor authentication
By using multi-factor authentication, you can ensure the safety of your accounts. This two-step verification process requires the presentation of two or more forms of identification proof before a user may access an application. Multi-factor authentication strengthens the security of your sign-in processes, adding an extra layer of defence to your defences. This is especially useful when businesses use Internet-connected services, such as cloud applications.
Keep your antivirus/antimalware software updated
Make sure automatic updates are engaged, or make it a habit to download the latest signatures first thing each day. Periodically check to make sure that the updates have been applied, and scan your system for possible infections.
Currently, user education and technological defences are the best defences against social engineering. Amvion Managed Security Services uses a proactive approach to cyber security in order to keep cyber criminals at bay. We can assist you. We provide a variety of services that will make your organisation less vulnerable to social engineering threats, ranging from employee awareness training to vulnerability management.