Digitalization has simplified many essential activities of our lives but it has also helped cybercriminals in upgrading their strategies to perform cybercrime activities.
Social engineering is one of the prime cases of upgraded cyber criminal activities.
Social engineering is a strategy applied by cyber criminals in tricking people to obtain their valuable and private information.
The confidential information is useful in getting the control of systems and accomplishing actions to negatively impact the individual or even the organization to the data accessed by the cyber crooks.
To make sure their company’s sensitive data is secure, many companies hire information security vendors who test employees’ security awareness for such attacks.
What Makes Social Engineering Attacks A Big Concern?
- An average organization faces 700+ social engineering attacks every year
- As per reports utilizing Social engineering attacks, cyber crooks are able to make their way into 93% of company networks
- Over 90% of data spills are related to social engineering attacks
- An employee receives 14 malicious emails on average every year
How Does Social Engineering Work?
Social engineering is a universal tactic of cyber criminals in performing a cyber attack. Scammers mainly target users in two primary ways- either on the phone or online.
- On Phone. Cybercriminals act as some authority figure during a phone call like a senior manager, a high-ranked banking officer, or anyone with a superior designation.
Acting as the authority figure they will throw some questions to the users to win their trust.
After establishing them as verified officials the criminal will demand confidential data like login passwords.
- Online. Digitalization has served in the emergence of new online ways to perform cyber crime practices.
Phishing is a widely used practice among cyber criminals. Using the aforementioned technique, scammers mislead victims to reveal their private information to a fraud link believing it is an authentic website.
4 Phases of a Social Engineering Attack
- Detecting. Cyber criminals start with marking out targets who own what the crooks require. They usually require credentials, information, money, and access to the systems.
- Searching Entry Points. Once the cybercriminals learned enough about their targets they will be looking for proper entry points. Entry points may include contact details like- phone number, social media handles, and email ID.
- Attack. Luring or misleading potential victims of cyber criminals perform social engineering attacks. They execute one of the multiple categories of social engineering attacks to obtain what they want.
- Retreat. Once the scammers are done they will disappear with minimal or even no evidence left behind. As the average time is more than 150 days to detect a cyber attack the criminals will vanish easily.
Common Social Engineering Attacks in 2022
- Phishing. Targets will receive malicious emails
- Spear Phishing. This is a common strategy used to attack an organization. In this emails will only be sent to employees having decision-making powers
- Whaling. Email attacks on the higher-ranked executives of an organization
- Vishing. Over the phone, manipulation to access the confidential data
- Smishing. Mobile texts will be sent to manipulate the potential targets
Tactics Organizations Can Imply to Test Their Staff
Emulating cyber criminal activities organizations can test their staff to spread awareness of social engineering attacks.
These tactics can also be called principles of social engineering attacks.
They can hire professional help for these tactics to be applied.
- Authority. Acting as an authority figure like a policeman, and senior executives of the organization forcing the employees to reveal confidential data.
- Threatening. Threatening the employees with serious outcomes for not performing the actions that are asked.
- Social Proof. Convincing employees that action is common and everyone performs it.
- Scarcity. Luring the employees with time-limited offers in performing certain actions.
- Urgency. Forcing the employees to act immediately without giving them a moment to think.
- Familiarity. Imitating familiar persons of the employees asking them to perform the required actions.
The Bottom Line
Social engineering attacks have become one of the most serious concerns over recent years.
An organization suffering from social engineering attacks loses millions to recover its systems.
So, it is better to hire professionals that perform social engineering testing to keep an organization’s staff aware of the malicious activities cyber criminals are utilizing to access valuable and confidential data.
It will save the organization millions eventually.
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