5 Common Social Engineering Attacks And How to Prevent Them

In today’s digital world, social engineering attacks are the majority and the underlying factor. Social engineering attacks are increasing constantly regardless of whether a cyber criminal’s goal is to directly instigate fraud, gather your credentials, or install malware.

Cyber attackers continue to defraud, extort, and ransom companies for millions of dollars annually despite the general public’s best efforts. Technologically experts and crafty criminals are always in search of new ways to undermine them as new defenses are created and implemented. On the other hand, security-focused decision-makers have started to strengthen defenses around physical as well as cloud-based infrastructure. Your people are quickly becoming the most reliable and easy entry point for compromise.

You must be wondering what social engineering is? What are the common types of social engineering attacks? How to prevent them? No worries! This blog has answers to all your questions as it is all about social engineering attacks. So, be with us and get the answers to your questions.

Let’s dig in!

What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is a type of attack that takes place due to human interaction and usually involves manipulating people into breaking normal security procedures and best practices to gain unauthorized access to systems, networks or physical locations or for financial gain.

To hide their real identities and motives, threat actors use social engineering techniques and they present themselves as trusted individuals or information sources. The reason behind this is to influence, manipulate or trick users so that they reveal sensitive data or access within an enterprise.

Attackers use social engineering tactics as it is usually easier to exploit your natural inclination to trust than it is to discover ways to hack your software. For instance, it is much easier to trick anyone into giving you their password than it is for you to try hacking their password.

5 Common Types of Social Engineering Attacks

1. Phishing

Phishing is a type of social engineering attack in which an attacker sends fraudulent emails to the victim and pretends to be from a reputable and trusted source. For instance, a social engineer attacker may send an email that seems to come from a customer service manager at your bank. That mail seems to have all the necessary information about your account but to verify your identity wants you to reply with your full name, birth date, social security number, and account number first. Unfortunately, that mail is not from a bank employee but from an attacker who is trying to steal your sensitive data.

2. Whaling

Whaling is a kind of phishing attack that point to a particular, high-profile person usually, an executive, government official, or celebrity. Victims of this attack are considered “goldfish” to cyber criminals. These criminals gain many financial payouts as well as access to valuable data.

For instance, when any celebrity’s account is hacked, attackers hope to find compromising photos that they can use to extort exorbitant ransoms.

3. Baiting

Another common type of social engineering attack is Baiting in which attackers gain the sensitive data of victims by promising them something valuable in return. For instance, attackers create pop-up ads that offer lucrative free offers and discounts or movie downloads, music, free games, and much more. But as soon as you click on the link, your device will be infected with malware.

Baiting scams do not only happen in the online world but they also exist in the physical world. One common instance is a strategically placed USB stick with an enticing label like “Payroll Q3” or “Master client database.” A curious employee will pick up the drive and insert it into their workstation, which then infects their entire network

4. Tailgating/Piggybacking

When an attacker physically follows someone into a restricted or secured area is known as Tailgating or piggybacking. For instance, to make their unauthorized identification goes unnoticed, sometimes the attacker will pretend they forgot their access card, or they’ll engage someone in an animated conversation on their way into the area.

5. Scareware

Scareware is a type of social engineering attack that is also known as fraudware, deception software, and rogue scanner software. In this type of attack, attackers frighten victims into believing that they are under immediate threat. For instance, you may receive a message stating that your device has been infected with a virus. Usually, it appears as a pop-up on your device. Many times, it even appears in your mail’s spam tab. It shows the urgency for victims to click on that message to either remove the virus or download software to uninstall the virus code. But as soon as the victim clicks on the message or installs that software, the virus will affect that device.

Ways To Prevent Social Engineering Attacks

Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

It is advisable to have multi-factor instead of just relying on one factor for security. Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is the most basic preventive measure that guarantees your account security. Without any doubt, the password provides security, but we have realized they are inadequate on its own. As it is very easy for someone else to guess your password and gain access to your accounts.

The passwords can be accessed with the help of social engineering. Any type of Multi-Factor verification is required be that biometric access, security questions, or an OTP code.

Check for SSL Certificate

You should always obtain an SSL certificate from a trusted vendor for encrypting data, emails, and communication. As it ensures that your information is safe even if hackers intercept your communication but they won’t be able to access it.

Apart from this, you should always verify the site before sharing your sensitive information. You should check the URLs of the website in order to verify its authenticity. The trusted and encrypted site’s URLs always start with https:// instead of http:// as when the website starts with http:// it means that are not offering a secure connection.

Continuously Monitor Critical System

You should ensure that your system which contains important or sensitive data should be monitored 24×7. When certain exploiting tactics are employed like Trojans, they sometimes depend on the system, which is vulnerable. You can able to find the vulnerabilities in your system by scanning both external and internal systems with a web application.

Apart from this, to assess whether your staff members may fall victim to a dangerous social engineering attack, it is also necessary to perform a social engineering engagement at least once a year. Once tracked, fake domains, if any, can be taken down instantly to avoid copyright infringement online.

In Conclusion os Social engineering Attacks

Even with the best security practices in place, your business may still fall victim to social engineering attacks. You have to be ready before it happens. Sennovate has deep expertise in social engineering and fraudulent instruction schemes and can offer solutions to protect your sensitive data and your customer’s privacy. Along with this, Sennovate also offers 24×7 monitoring of your systems to stay away from cyber attacks.

Do you want to start taking the right precautions to protect your business from unwanted social engineering attacks but don’t know how to do it? No worries! Sennovate experts are just a call away.