As an organisation’s security technology advances, so do the cyber threats it faces. There was a time when hackers had to use advanced coding skills to gain access to our data. We’re all aware of the technical exploits that are used today to probe our networks and steal critical business information.
However, not all attacks are so technical in nature. Some attackers target employees by phone or over social media. They then appeal to human emotions by pretending to be someone else to trick the employee into conducting harmful activities like transferring money out of the company’s accounts, disclosing credentials or IDs, or divulging insider information.
These attackers are called “social engineers” because they exploit our internal psychology. Here are some examples of social engineering attacks you need to protect yourself against.
1. Spear Phishing
Spear phishing is a targeted social engineering attack used by hackers to gain access to information. It features more specific information about its target than other types of phishing attacks. They mostly come in the form of spear-phishing emails, which are often worded in a way that is meant to trick the receiver into thinking that the message came from someone they know and trust. Some signs of a spear-phishing attack include emails asking about specific details about the target’s employer and the employee’s position or function in the organisation. They could also ask about information on an employee’s team members, job responsibilities, or company projects.
Pretexting involves creating a cover story or a false scenario that an employee would be likely to fall for. The social engineer might pose as a vendor who provides goods or services to a company. He might pretend to be an employee of the company who needs a specific password or information to do their work. They might even pose as an employee who is on a business trip and needs help with something. If a company does not have a security policy that requires employees to verify the identity of anybody who calls them to request information, then a social engineer who is good at this can trick an employee into giving out critical information.
Baiting is a type of social engineering attack that involves placing a file or a link on a website that is likely to be visited by employees of a company. Then, the hacker provides a decoy file that is meant to be accessed first by the employees. This file is designed to be very tempting to the employees and entice them to click on a malicious link. It could be a file related to topics like sports, travel, movies, and more. If this is not enough to entice an employee, the hacker might create an enticing offer that is meant to entice the employee to click the malicious link.
4. Quid Pro Quo
The quid pro quo attack involves using a combination of social engineering tactics like pretexting and baiting. A hacker might pose as an employee of the company and send an email to a fellow employee pretending to be in trouble. He might claim to have a problem with his computer and ask for help. When the employee is willing to help him out, he would reveal that in order to do so, the employee would have to go through a series of steps. The steps might include logging in to a specific website, downloading a file, and deleting it.
Tailgating involves a hacker using a key card to access a system or security door. They get through by following behind a legitimate employee who has a card reader. This is one of the most common types of social engineering attacks since the person who follows behind the employee might not be noticed.
In the modern business landscape, it is not enough to protect your company against the threats that are out there today. You need a security solution that is built to keep up with the latest advances in cyberattacks, including social engineering tactics.
Protecting yourself and your company from online threats is now more possible with the help of an expert in cyberattack prevention and analysis. FraudWatch is a digital brand protection company offering modern security solutions for the digital age. We make it our mission to build anti-phishing, malware protection and other defences against brand abuse, impersonation, and other forms of cyberattack. Contact us today to give your company the protection it deserves