Social engineering is an expression used for various range of malicious actions achieved through human relations. It uses psychological process to manipulate user’s behavior and trick them into making security mistakes or giving away sensitive information. Hackers use this method to hide their true identities and aims. They fake themselves as a trusted individual who are providing information from a trusted source. Their main aim is to influence or manipulate the individuals into giving their personal information. Many social engineering actors simply rely on people’s approval to be of some help.
Social engineering attacks happen in a certain specific pattern. The attacker first investigates the victim to collect necessary information needed to carry on with the attack. Then, the attacker moves forward to gain the victim’s trust and carry forward the actions that break security practices, such as revealing sensitive information or allowing critical resources to take hands on our information.
Social engineering is on the rise because it is not so difficult to exploit users’ flaws and weaknesses than to attack them with the help of network or software vulnerability.
Various kinds of social engineering attacks
Phishing- This is the easiest way to trap victims into giving information and it’s quite successful in its attempt to do so. The attacker sends an e-mail or message to the victim and seeks information related to their bank accounts and gains information needed to carry forward the task.
Baiting- In this type of social engineering scam, the attackers lures the victim just like a worm is thrown in front of a fish to lure it.
Email and contact spamming- People tend to open the email from the people they know, and they do not think twice before doing this. The attackers take advantage of this and spam the contact list of the victim.
Pretexting- It is in the form of a ploy which seems interesting to people and catches their attention easily and then people easily give themselves into hacking.
Quid pro quo- It is a type of attack similar to barter system. The attacker tricks you into giving something in return of the information they need.
Vishing- This is similar to phishing. The only difference being phishing is done through messaging and Vishing is done through robocalls or spam calls.
Tips to avoid such situations
- Never plug in a USB stick to your device that you have found lying somewhere. This USB may contain malware that could help them in gaining your data.
- Don’t believe anything that you find too odd to be true.
- Install Norton antivirus software on all your devices and keep it up to date.
- Always run the latest version of Operating System on your device.
- Be prepared for the upcoming threats well in advance.
Social engineering scam can take place anywhere and everywhere. Whether you are online or offline, you can fall prey for such scams. Be aware and alert to avoid situations that may hamper you in your way. Take precautions while you enter into digital world.