Due to how prevalent they are, phrases like “malware” and “phishing” have grown quite popular in recent years. However, did you realize that these dubious activities are only a small component of a larger scheme which is “social engineering”?
What is Social Engineering?
Although the phrase may be new, the practice dates back hundreds of years. Social engineering involves breaking into a secure area to gather private information, and the victims aren’t even aware. Being caught unprepared could potentially result in the demise of your company.
Threats from Social Engineering
Today’s businesses rely on technology for many aspects of their operations. This reliance gives social engineers several opportunities to con people into giving them information of all kinds, including the following scams:
The most common type of social engineering attack is phishing, by far. It’s a simple form of deceit, and that simplicity is part of the reason it works so well. The hacker lures unwary victims to websites that appear realistic and asks them to log in, which many people do without giving it a second thought. You might just as easily hand the hackers the passwords to your network.
A social engineering attack of this nature is a focused phishing attempt. The scam is almost impossible to spot because it targets specific people. It uses contacts and references that the intended victim already knows. This attack often includes emails that look like they came from your CEO or CFO. Almost no one would ignore that.
The goal of this tactic, as the name suggests, is to lure the victim into taking the bait. There are various ways to achieve this scam, like informing someone that they have won a prize and then asking them to click on a link to collect the reward. Another tactic is warning them that their computer has been infected and then asking them to click on a link to solve the issue.
Threats from within in social engineering
Once a hacker has gained access to your system, there are myriad ways they might steal information or cause havoc with your company. So, getting their foot in the door is very important to these tricky social engineers.
It’s not as difficult as it might seem to accomplish this physically. Tailgating, or invading the property while posing as an authorized entity, is use frequently. Hackers also use the information they get from public websites or printed material in surprising numbers, especially if they have the patience to keep an eye on the target and are willing to go dumpster diving.
How to Prevent Social Engineering Threats
It’s scary to think how many use social engineering tricks, but if you’re aware, you can avoid them. Simple habits like not opening emails and attachments with suspicious-looking subject lines would be helpful. It’s also a good idea to use multi-factor authentication across all platforms and to regularly update your antivirus software.
It’s in your best interests as a business owner to require all staff to go through training that would give them the knowledge and abilities needed to thwart any social engineering attack. You can check your staff’s knowledge of social engineering and other internet dangers by asking them to complete this free cybersecurity quiz.
We can support your business in strengthening its defenses against internet attacks. We can handle everything, including modernizing your network and training your staff. Let us know when you’re ready and we’ll be pleased to help!