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Social Engineering: The Menace Every Organization Must Avoid

by Seamfix

Even if lions decide to stop roaring and bats try to stop screeching, hackers will never cease to devise new ways to get into your database.

Most of the times you hear “hacking,” what comes to mind first is how another system has been overridden without the owner’s input or permission, but in the real sense, a lot of cyber attack cases recorded are linked to hackers manipulating people who have access to critical data into releasing their data unintentionally.

What’s social engineering?

Social engineering is a cyber attack that relies on human interaction and deception to obtain sensitive information or gain access to restricted systems. It is a common tactic used by hackers and cybercriminals to exploit individuals’ trust and lack of security awareness.

Imagine a criminal who has tried every possible means to break into a well-secured compound – from trying to scale the fence to attempting to sneak in at night, but the guards would not just sleep on duty. Only for him to discover a lady who resides in the estate; he found a way to get talking with her and eventually walked confidently through the main gates until he carted away his target. Now that’s social engineering!

Whenever social engineering is in play, there is always a dependent cybercriminal and an unaware “inside-person” who are being manipulated to grant the access they have been finding hard to gain.

Types of social engineering

Cybercriminals may manipulate their targets through phishing, pretexting, baiting, and quid pro quo. 

Phishing: is the most popular form of social engineering, where attackers send fake emails or text messages pretending to be a legitimate company or individual and trick the victim into clicking on a malicious link or providing sensitive information. 

Pretexting: involves the attacker using a false identity or pretext to obtain sensitive information, such as pretending to be a customer service representative and asking for a victim’s login credentials. 

Baiting: involves offering something enticing to the victim in exchange for sensitive information, such as a free gift or special offer. 

Quid pro quo: involves the attacker offering something in exchange for sensitive information or access, such as technical support in exchange for login credentials.

Social Engineering: The Menace Every Organization Must Avoid

How to detect when social engineering is in play

To detect social engineering attacks, it’s essential to know some signs and indicators or red flags.

  • Suspicious emails or text messages from unfamiliar senders, or emails that contain urgent language or request personal information
  • Links or attachments that seem suspicious or out of place
  • Requests for sensitive information or login credentials from unfamiliar individuals or organizations
  • Offers that seem too good to be true

Avoiding social engineering

To avoid falling victim to social engineering attacks, some of the steps to take are:

  • Be cautious of emails and text messages from unfamiliar senders, and never click on links or download attachments from unknown sources
  • Don’t provide personal or sensitive information in response to suspicious requests
  • Use strong and unique passwords for all accounts, and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible
  • Be aware of your surroundings and protect your personal information in public places
  • Educate yourself and others about the risks and strategies used by attackers in social engineering attacks
  • Mobile device management (MDM) is a security measure that can help prevent social engineering attacks coming in through mobile devices. MDM allows organizations to manage and secure their mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, by enforcing policies and security measures. This includes setting up password requirements, enabling remote wipe, and installing security software to protect against malware and other threats. 

By implementing an MDM solution, you are a step ahead in preventing social engineering attacks by protecting against unauthorized access and limiting the ability of attackers to gain access to sensitive information stored on your devices.

Cyber attackers will not rest till they get into the next database, be cautious and practice the tips above to get the needed edge over them.