Social engineering is a clever strategy employed by cyber attackers that relies heavily on human interaction and usually involves tricking people into breaking security practices. Social engineering techniques are extremely effective because they depend on the ability of an attacker to manipulate their victim into performing certain actions or providing confidential information.
Social engineering attacks are one of the greatest security threats to organizations today. These types of attacks can be non-technical and don't necessarily involve software or system compromise, making them even more dangerous than traditional hacking methods in many ways! When successful with a social engineering scheme, an attacker can gain legitimate access they may not otherwise have had. This access could help their cause significantly as it gives them what's called "free reign."
Types of Social Engineering Attacks
- Baiting - Attacks are conducted when an attacker leaves a malware-infected device, such as USB flash drives or CDs, in places where they know people will find them. The success of this type of attack relies heavily on the notion that whoever finds your lost item can easily load it up into their computer and install whatever's inside without knowing why you put something so suspicious there!
- Phishing – Phishing is a fraudulent act of pretending to be something that it's not. Phishers will often use email, chat applications, or social media platforms as their mode of communication to trick you into installing malware on your device. The intention is to give them your personal information like financials and business data when prompted by request for the said information.
- Pretexting – Pretexting is a form of social engineering that can be used when accessing certain information. Protesters will fabricate false circumstances for the victim they're targeting to provide what they want, like financial data or login credentials, so it seems as if their motives are legitimate!
- Quid pro quo – Quid pro quo attacks are a common way for hackers to get what they want. For instance, an attacker may request your login credentials in exchange for something desirable or some compensation like gifts that come with it. The word "quicker" can sometimes be used as bait - don't fall into this trap!
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