Advanced technology and cutting-edge hacking techniques have been the main tool that cybercriminals use for online attacks. But did you know that the most effective method that hackers use for enticing victims online is something so much simpler? Cybercriminals use social engineering or in other words, manipulate people by establishing trust and playing on their emotions.
Common Methods of Social Engineering Attacks
There are a number of creative ways that social engineers go about their devious ways. However, there are five ways that stand out on how cybercriminals use social engineering for their personal gain.
This method is by far the most common and most effective tactic that cybercriminals use in social engineering. It has been around for years yet people continue to fall for it at an alarmingly high rate. Phishing is common using emails. In fact, anyone who has an email account would likely have received several phishing attempts in their inbox.
Among the earliest phishing emails are those that come from a Nigerian prince who needs your help in getting his inheritance and in return, he will give you a sizable portion of his wealth. Later on, phishing emails became more believable, like an email from what seems to be your bank, asking to verify your account number. Recently, phishing through social media has become rampant, where you would be asked to log in to your account on what seems to be a real social media site but is actually just a clever imitation.
Baiting is what cybercriminals use social engineering and is an approach where something is in front of the target victim, hoping to get them to click on a link and fall for the trap. It could be a free movie or song or something that would be of interest to the victim. The link does not give them what was promised and is instead some kind of malware that will cause damage.
Cybercriminals use Social Engineering Pretexting
This kind of social engineering scam is where the hacker pretends to be someone that the victim knows. They might pretend to be the head of IT doing some routine check, then ask for an employee’s login info. Or they might pretend to be a law enforcer or investigator, at which many people would be very cooperative. Because the employee thinks the hacker is a trusted entity, they might willingly give their details.
Quid Pro Quo
This is a type of social engineering attack where the hacker offers you something in exchange for critical information. Let’s say a disgruntled employee has been laid off or had left a company in not so amicable terms. Hackers hunt these disgruntled individuals and offer to buy the information that they can use to attack the company.
Cybercriminals use Social Engineering Piggybacking
Although social engineering these days is through online, there are still plenty of approaches that take place in the physical environment. Piggybacking is one such example. Also known as tailgating, piggybacking is when someone discreetly follows an authorized person into a restricted area of the building. Once they are in, they can easily access computers to steal data.
How to Be Safe from Cybercriminals using Social Engineering Attacks
There are so many ways of how cybercriminals use social engineering for malicious intent these days. However, there are also several things that you can do to keep safe from these attacks.
Many of the preventive measures are actually very simple, starting with never revealing passwords and other sensitive data to anyone. This includes heads of IT departments, people in charge of corporate audits, or even law enforcers.
As a business owner, it is also crucial to ensure that you educate all your employees fully when it comes to social engineering attacks and other cybercrimes. You can check what they already know about the dark web by having them take this 10-question cybersecurity quiz.
We have plenty of tools and resources that can help boost your protection against all kinds of cyberattacks. Call us today and we will be happy to put together a strategy that will keep your business and data as safe as can be!