In an ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape, experts tirelessly develop new defense systems to safeguard individuals and businesses from the relentless pursuit of hackers. But hackers have found an effective way to circumvent even the most robust network security systems: They capitalize on human vulnerabilities, tricking people into divulging sensitive information. To avoid becoming the next target, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the most common social engineering scams.
Phishing is a type of social engineering attack where criminals use emails, phone calls, or text messages to trick people into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers. These attacks often involve sending emails or text messages that appear to be from legitimate sources, such as banks, credit card companies, or government agencies.
Oftentimes, phishing messages contain urgent requests for information or offer too-good-to-be-true deals. If a victim clicks on a link in the message or opens an attachment, they will be directed to a fake website that looks like the real website of the company or organization (this is called a spoof). The attacker’s goal is to fool the victim into unwittingly sending their sensitive information through the spoofed site.
Baiting is a type of social engineering attack that involves leaving something of value, such as a USB drive, in a public place. When someone picks up the bait and they insert it into their computer to check its usability, their device may be infected with malware or directed to a malicious website.
Quid pro quo
This social engineering attack involves offering something of value in exchange for information or favors. For example, a social engineer may offer to help someone with a technical problem in exchange for their login information.
In pretexting, a false scenario is created in order to gain someone’s trust. For example, a bad actor may pose as a customer service representative and call a victim to ask for their account information.
Spear phishing is a type of phishing attack that is targeted at specific individuals or organizations. Spear-phishing attacks are often more sophisticated than traditional phishing attacks, and they may be more difficult to detect.
Whaling is a type of spear phishing attack that targets high-level executives or other wealthy individuals. Whaling attacks are often very well-planned and executed, and they can result in significant financial losses.
A watering hole attack is a type of social engineering attack that targets a website or application that is frequented by the intended victims. When a victim visits the watering hole website, they may be infected with malware or directed to a malicious website.
In smishing, or SMS phishing, cybercriminals send text messages that appear to be from legitimate sources, usually offering too-good-to-be-true deals or requesting sensitive data. Clicking on a link in the message may direct the victim to a fake website or one infected with malware.
Vishing, or voice phishing, involves making phone calls that appear to be from legitimate sources. The caller may request for the victim’s information or offer deals that are too good to be true. If a victim provides the caller with their personal information, the criminals can steal it.
Despite the advancements in security measures, the threat of fraudsters and their social engineering tactics still looms large for businesses. Therefore, it’s crucial to stay vigilant and prepare for potential attacks. To safeguard sensitive information, arm yourself with knowledge and exercise caution. Remember, if an offer or request seems too good to be true, it probably is. Safeguard your business from the ever-evolving threat of social engineering. Contact our experts today for a comprehensive assessment and protection plan.