The Future of Social Engineering: Emerging Trends and Threats

In today’s cyber attacks, social engineering threats and trends 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 the search for 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 emerging trends and threats? No worries! This blog is all about social engineering. So, be with us and get the answer 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.

Future Of Social Engineering Threats & Trends

Personalized Attacks

Undoubtedly, social media has made our lives much easier. We stay connected and share our lives with our close ones with the help of social media. But, on the other hand, the constant sharing of personal information raises the opportunities for cyber attackers.

The attackers are always in the search to hack people’s personal or business accounts to stalk their social media profiles and use the personal information to craft phishing emails or phone scams.

For example, all the personal information that one shares on social media, like their child’s names and their childhood memories, is common information used in account logins.

You should always set your accounts to private when creating and posting on social media. Also, restrict yourself from accepting friend requests from those you don’t know.

SIM Swapping

One of the top-rated cyber security tips from leading industry experts is enabling two-factor authentication whenever possible. But, a growing trend called “SIM swapping” is making this security tip useless.

To gain access to the victim’s account, attackers are using SIM swapping which is a social engineering tactic. In this, attackers are those whose accounts are protected by two-factor authentication into providing the one-time passcode sent to their phone. As soon as the passcode is shared, the cyber criminals can use it to their benefit to receive all texts and calls intended for the victim.

With the help of this, cyber criminals receive all passwords for account logins and break into a victim’s personal accounts. Undoubtedly, you should still enable two-factor authentication whenever possible, but you have to be extra diligent about paying attention to the websites you use to log into personal accounts.


In the cyber security industry today, Deepfake technology is a serious matter of concern. To edit a video, photo or voice clip with malevolent intent, it involves a combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence. To fool victim’s into handing over personal and sensitive data, this media is used.

In 2017, this trend started gaining ground. It started off as a medium for people to edit celebrities and other people’s faces onto sexually explicit videos so it looks like those people were the ones in the video.

With the 2020 presidential election coming up, some are concerned that deepfakes can be used to manipulate political images and videos to the editor’s liking. This emerging trend makes cyber security experts worry about how deepfakes can be used to fool victims into handing over their personal data.

False Assumptions End Users Have About Cyber Criminals

#1: Criminal Won’t Hold Conversations With You

To mentally drive the end users into engaging with the content, an effective social engineering is used in generating feelings within them. They will receive an email which shows urgency and the other person seems trustworthy, so interacting with or helping the requester seems legitimate.

Cyber criminals lure the users into a false sense of security by sending innocent-appearing emails. They lay the groundwork for a relationship to be more easily exploitable.

The most common type of threat is a Lure and Task Business Email Compromise (BEC) threat. These usually start with a normal conversation or ask a question to get the recipient to engage with the email.

#2: Microsoft and Google Platforms Are Always Safe

If something comes from trusty and recognizable platforms like Microsoft or Google products, people may be more inclined to interact with content. But, to create and distribute malware as well as to create credential harvesting portals, threat actors regularly abuse legitimate services like cloud storage providers and content distribution networks.

Google-related URLs were the most frequently exploited according to Proofpoint. But, when looking at which domains are clicked, Microsoft-related URL-based threats received more than twice the clicks of those hosted by Google.

This study shows why Proofpoint’s analysis shows Microsoft OneDrive is the most frequently abused service by top-tier cyber criminals, followed by Google Drive, Dropbox, Discord, Firebase and SendGrid.

#3: Replying to Existing Emails Is Safe

A kind of phishing technique that is thread hijacking or conversation hijacking is used where cyber criminals reply to existing email conversations with a malicious attachment, URL or request to perform some action on the threat actor’s behalf. In the existing email conversation, the cyber criminal in question exploits the person’s trust.

Generally, a recipient is more inclined to interact with the affected content as he is expecting a reply from the sender in the existing conversation. Cyber attackers have to gain access to legitimate users’ inboxes in order to successfully hijack an existing conversation.

Credential lists available on hacking forums, phishing, malware attacks or password-spraying techniques are the multiple ways to gain access to your coworkers’ inboxes. They can also take over entire email servers or mailboxes as well as automatically send replies from threat actor-controlled botnets.

Email messages will appear real and organic, and because the threat is a reply to a legitimate conversation thread, the message history will be attached.

Summing Up

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.

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 here to help you.

Having any doubts or want to have a call with us to know more about Security Awareness Training to protect your organization from Social Engineering Attacks?

Contact us right now by clicking here, Sennovate’s Experts will explain everything on call in detail.

You can also write a mail to us at [email protected] or call us on +1 (925) 918-6618.

About Sennovate

Sennovate delivers Managed Security Operations Center (SOC) solutions, custom Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions and Social Engineering Defence (SED) services to businesses around the world. With global partners and a library of 2000+ integrations, 10M+ identities managed, we implement world-class cybersecurity solutions that sa ve your company time and money. We offer a seamless experience with integration across all cloud applications, and a single price for product, implementation, and support. Have questions? The consultation is always free. Email [email protected] or call us at: +1 (925) 918-6618.