What Is Social Engineering?

Have you ever heard of the term social engineering and wondered what it was? This blog will break down what it is and what you can do to prevent it. Social engineering is the name given to a series of malicious attacks on users accomplished through human interactions and playing into human psychology. Social engineering can happen in several settings and can have a disastrous effect on the victim. The psychological manipulation used in social engineering scams will cause the victim to give up sensitive information more often than not.

How Do These Attacks Happen? 

Social engineering attacks happen when a cyber criminal investigates an individual or group and pinpoints the weaknesses in their system. They do this by gathering necessary information against them to understand how their systems work, where there might be gaps in security or protocols. Once the attacker has pinpointed the weaknesses, they will move to figure out how to manipulate the victim’s trust or sense of security online. This is done by working with human psychology and playing up to human weakness and fallibility.

You will see these attacks come in several different guises. However, the most common is an email or click bait. This is where the attacker engages their target. They work with human psychology to manipulate a person into opening an email or link threatening and posing a risk. To do this, they play with several different enticing factors, for example, a sense of urgency, too good to be true scam or a reward system. This will arrive in the form of an email with various hyperlinks that will take that user to a page where they might have to enter their details. Once this has happened, the attacker will be able to execute the attack and get a foothold into the business and begin siphoning data.

How Do You Prevent them?

What makes these types of attacks dangerous is that they rely on human error rather than the vulnerabilities of software systems. It is much more likely that a human will make a mistake than a machine or automated system. Furthermore, the mistakes made by users are far more unpredictable—it is impossible to say how and when a human is likely to be manipulated by a scam online. However, the statistics show that social engineering crimes rose in number between 2019 and 2020. So how do you prevent them? The most important thing that any individual or business can do is invest in social engineering prevention, which will help protect your business from malicious links and websites.

Furthermore, you can prevent them by educating your colleagues and employees on how this type of crime occurs. You might find that nobody will admit to being seduced by an email or Cyber link; however, as has been said, human error is inconsistent and unpredictable. Thus, highlighting the potential risks might alert a red flag in an employee’s brain before they click on a dangerous link and leak all sorts of valuable information to a cyber criminal.

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