Social Engineers pose a large threat to both remote workers and small businesses within our digital world. Social engineering consists of any act that deceives someone into divulging information through technology, typically through emotional reactions. This can include anything from personal identification information to taking action online and allowing a hacker into your cloud. Once you are aware of the types of social engineering you will be better equipped to avoid becoming a victim of social engineering.
The Different Types of Social Engineering Attacks
Email Hacking and Contact Spamming
Often our emails are divided into ‘focused’ and ‘other’ folders as we are more apt to open messages from individuals we know. Hackers will hijack an email account and spam their existing contact lists with messages such as “Check this out” or “I thought of you…” and once you click on that link they will steal your data or spread malware.
Similar to real fishing, when a hacker is baiting, they are enticing you to take action by dangling something valuable in front of you. This can happen from a link that says “You Won” or “Confidential” but can also come from a hard USB that is loaded with malware and strategically placed publicly for someone to plug it into a computer. The moment they do, the malware has infected the computer.
One of the most common cyberattacks is phishing, or when an attacker sends a text or email seeking information that can be utilized for a more significant crime. These attacks typically come from a button or a link from a trusted source that takes the victim to a site that looks similar to a proper login to steal their credentials.
The voice version of phishing where the attacker tries to get verbal information such as a “yes” over the phone for security authentication.
A ploy to capture your attention into providing something of value or information needed for an attack to occur.
Quid Pro Quo
An exchange that occurs where the victim believes they are experiencing a service with a support technician when in reality the attacker is taking control of the computer and loading it with malware or stealing personal information.
How To Avoid Being a Victim of Social Engineering
Social engineering is a technical attack that can happen to anyone. To avoid becoming a victim:
- Install email software that can allow you to look out for spam messages and redirect them to another inbox with a lesser likelihood of action.
- Slow Down. When an attack occurs the first instinct is to react. Slow down and think about what is occurring within the moment before making any decisions or clicking on any links.
- If It sounds too good to be true, it most likely is, avoid the message you were sent.
- Update your anti-virus or security suite tool that currently keeps you safe and stay up to date on security protocols.
To take your security a step further, check out VantagePoint security for more information and contact us on how to avoid social engineering.