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What is Social Engineering?

What is Social Engineering? Social engineering is a technique used by cyber criminals to trick individuals into disclosing confidential information, allowing them to bypass security systems and steal or corrupt sensitive data. A successful attack could have serious implications for your business, causing irreparable financial and reputational damage, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with …

  • 03 Apr 2019
  • digitalxraid
3 min read
What is Social Engineering?

What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is a technique used by cyber criminals to trick individuals into disclosing confidential information, allowing them to bypass security systems and steal or corrupt sensitive data. A successful attack could have serious implications for your business, causing irreparable financial and reputational damage, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with the risks. In this article, we’ll explore some of the techniques criminals use to gain access to your internal networks and find out what steps you can take to defend your business against social engineering.

What are the Different Types of Social Engineering?

While traditional hacking techniques seek to exploit weaknesses in your software, social engineering preys on the goodwill, incompetence and naivety of your staff. Here are some of the methods cyber criminals employ:   

Phishing

By far the most common form of social engineering, phishing is a technique used by hackers to extract valuable information from unwitting victims. Typically, the perpetrator will send out a mass email or text in an attempt to ensnare as many victims as possible. Often posing as a trusted source, hackers prey on a victim’s helpful nature to try and trick them into disclosing sensitive information, such as login details or passwords.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a more targeted approach, focusing on a specific individual within an organisation. Perpetrators begin by gathering as much personal information about their intended victim as possible, scanning posts and personal profiles on social media, tracking recent purchases, etc. The attacker then uses this information to concoct a fraudulent email, encouraging the would-be victim to reveal confidential information or open a malicious attachment. If a spear phishing attack is successful, dozens or even thousands of company records could be exposed.  

Email Hacking and Contact Spamming

This social engineering technique employs a scattergun approach, hijacking a victim’s email account and then proceeding to spam their entire contact list. By posing as the individual whose account they’ve hacked, criminals are able to dupe unsuspecting victims, convincing them to click on harmful links or divulge confidential data. As the email appears to be coming from a trusted source, it’s easy to fall prey this type of deception.

Vishing

As the name suggests, vishing is the telephone equivalent of phishing, where the ‘v’ stands for voice. Just like a phishing attack, criminals will attempt to extricate privileged information from unsuspecting employees in a bid to expose or corrupt valuable data.

Quid Pro Quo

In this example, a scammer will call or email a target posing as a legitimate source, and attempt to gain access to internal networks by offering a service in return. A common method involves the attacker impersonating an IT support technician. Under the pretence of solving a complex software issue, the attacker will request login details from their would-be victim. Once they gain remote access to a computer, they can wreak havoc, infecting the system with malware or leaking sensitive data into the public domain.

What can I do to Protect My Business Against Social Engineering?

The good news is that the majority of social engineering campaigns are preventable, and here, at DigitalXRAID, our highly trained, industry-leading experts can give you the knowledge and the insight you need to protect your business:

  • Our social engineering experts will provide the training your employees need to help them spot malicious communications and stop the cyber criminals in their tracks.
  • Our ethical phishing campaigns simulate real-world hacking techniques to expose weaknesses in your cyber security, allowing you to make the fixes necessary to protect your business.
  • With our fully managed support service, we can provide state-of-the-art, round-the-clock protection, safeguarding your company against all the latest social engineering techniques.

To find out more about how DigitalXRAID can protect your business from social engineering, get in touch today and speak to one of our cyber security experts.

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  • 03 Apr 2019
  • digitalxraid

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