Understand How Social Media Is Fuelling Social Engineering Attacks

Understand How Social Media Is Fuelling Social Engineering Attacks

Social media has now become an easy way to access the sensitive information for online crime, including the personal data and professional data. It provides all the things to attackers for social engineering attacks.

We are living in the digital world where social media platforms are considered as the best communication medium for both personal and professional communication. But, along with its benefits there are hackers who regularly exploit the trust of the users of social networks for their own benefits. Usually, this is done by using phishing attacks. Hackers send phishing or spam emails to hack the data. Most of the organizations, governments as well as individuals have been affected by these attacks. An attacker uses the most powerful tool to access this knowledge which is Social Engineering. In Social engineering, attackers manipulate a person for giving information to the social engineer. This is superior to most other forms of hacking in that it can breach even the most secure systems, as the users themselves are the most vulnerable part of the system.

According to one of the reports, Social Engineering attacks can be performed on a large scale as it can be easily automated in many cases. In virtual communities, Social Engineering has become an emerging threat. Information security is key to the success of any business.

This blog throws light on social engineering attacks on social media, its types and much more.

Let’s get started!

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.

How Social Media Is Fueling Social Engineering Attacks?

To manage your company’s security as well as your employees’ social media security is quite difficult for the organization. Regarding what can be and can’t be shared on social media, most of the businesses may choose to have strict social media policies.

Having a tendency to overshare is the main problem of social media, this however, only opens up many opportunities for a social engineer to plan an attack. The more information they have shared, the better the attack can be planned by a social engineer. In this way, social media gives enough “fuel” to start a fire, then there is a higher chance of the social engineering attacks success.

Types Of Social Engineering Attacks on Social Media

Account Takeovers and Cloning

In this type of social engineering attack on social media, attackers generally attack by taking over a person’s social media profile and either posting to their profile and tagging contacts or private messaging all their contacts. This is known as contact spamming. Even, many of the times an account does not even need to be taken over. Smart attackers can create a very similar copy of a person’s account by simply using their profile picture as well as other publicly available information.

Data Gathering

Cyber attackers may not even target you specifically on social media but they can use it as a means to an end by using personal information for malicious purposes. Hackers can use even the most smallest of information and smallest details you share to create a lookalike profile that can either be used on a social media platform to carry out the scams or elsewhere.

Targeted Scams

From fake social groups, fake fundraisers, competitions, giveaways to fake questionable ads and even catfishing, social media scams can take countless forms. To make it more difficult to spot, these attacks on social media are typically more targeted and align with your interests, particularly if something is posted by a trusted contact, a legitimate-seeming business, celebrity, or influencer you follow.

How To Avoid Social Engineering Attacks On Social Media?

The best way to avoid social engineering attacks on social media is by educating employees on the risks of oversharing on social media. It is the key to preventing a loss of sensitive data or even finance. However, it is not easy to encourage employees to completely avoid sharing sensitive information on social media, but raising security awareness on what your organization deems unacceptable to share. Along with how this information can be used to target the business, is a good starting point.

Real-life Example Of A Social Engineering Attack On Social Media

Below mentioned is one of the examples of a social engineering attack where attackers use an OOO message and other publicly available information to initiate a wire transfer.

Type of Attack: CEO/CXO Fraud

Industry: Financial Services

Reason of Attack: Financial Gain

The hacker group monitors news wires for up-to-date information about banks in the United States to find their target, an asset management firm called SoBank. They see that the company’s CFO – Andrew Neal – is OOO at a conference. Thanks to his OOO message, they’re able to identify their target, Tristan Porter. They also learn that Andrew goes by “Andy” at work. The hacker group sends a fabricated email chain that appears to be between Andy and Gregory Ellwood, Senior Partner at Dorling Clayton – SoBank’s advising firm – urging Tristan to make a wire transfer.

Social Media Security Tips

It is impossible to keep your employees away from social media but taking proactive measures can pay dividends. Below mentioned are few tips:

  • Before posting anything on social media, you should think twice. Those posts can live lifetime in screen captures as well as lose context even if you delete it.
  • Don’t share your location even if you are away from home for extended periods. Look at the information closely when you share photos.
  • Be as restrictive as possible by customizing your privacy settings to be regarding who can read and see posts. Consider having one account for people you trust and another for public use.
  • Stick to multifactor authentication (MFA).
  • Restrict yourself from clicking on links, files, games or applications within the confines of social media. Be sure that your organization’s anti-malware tools are up to date and in the right direction regardless of how difficult it is to mitigate the risk of being victimized by profile cloning. Try to maintain a culture of not clicking on links, even from people employees know.

Summing Up

We hope this blog has helped you understand the social engineering attacks on social media. But the unfortunate and harsh reality is that the social engineering attacks on social media are becoming more sophisticated as well as evolving constantly.

On the other hand, you can protect yourself by using a bit of common sense and being very careful about what you share publicly online should go a long way.

To summarize, you can use the below mentioned checklist for safeguarding yourself from social engineering attacks on social media.

  • Always use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Optimize your privacy settings
  • Don’t trust unexpected messages and posts (especially containing links or attachments) and stay away from them.
  • Be careful and always double-check the source of giveaways and fundraisers
  • Be sure while trusting social media ads, pages, or any groups
  • Be careful about what you post on social media and what you should not

Do you want to start taking the right precautions to protect your business from unwanted attacks on social media 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 our Security Awareness Training to conquer 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.