which of the following is a common social engineering attack

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By SagheerAbbas

Human mistakes are one of the main flaws in any organization’s cybersecurity plan. Social engineering attack exploit this weakness by tricking gullible individuals into divulging private information and jeopardizing security. Social engineers might deceive you into believing them by using psychological tricks, or they can incite fear and a false sense of urgency to weaken your defenses. Then hackers might get past your technological or physical security to take sensitive data and cash.

The only defense against social engineering is to familiarize yourself with the techniques, psychological traps, and technological instruments employed by these assailants. Scammers frequently use social engineering attacks, but you can identify and steer clear of them by recognizing several telltale signs.

10 Types of Social Engineering Attacks

To prevent a social engineering attack, individuals must recognize the signs and tactics employed by scammers to avoid falling victim to them. These are the 10 most common types of social engineering attacks to be aware of.

1. Phishing

Phishing is the most prevalent kind of social engineering assault. It usually involves attackers sending false emails and links to deceive victims into divulging credit card numbers, login passwords, or other personal information.

Phishing attack variations include:

  • Angler phishing: spoofing social media customer service accounts
  • Spear phishing: Phishing attacks directed at particular individuals or groups

2. Whaling

Another popular phishing tactic is whaling, which targets government officials and high-ranking corporate leaders in particular. Phishing attempts typically use email accounts of other senior executives inside the organization or agency, along with urgent messages of a fictitious emergency or opportunity. Because these executives and directors have access to high-level networks, successful whaling attacks have the potential to reveal a great deal of sensitive and confidential information.

3. Diversion Theft

An old-fashioned diversion theft strategy involves the burglar convincing a courier or delivery driver to go to the incorrect address or give a package to someone other than the intended receiver. Sensitive information is taken by an online diversion theft scheme that deceives the victim into emailing or sharing it with the incorrect party. To do this, the thief frequently uses an email address spoof of an employee of the victim’s business—a financial institution or auditing firm, for instance.

4. Baiting

A form of social engineering assault known as “baiting” entices victims to divulge personal information or login credentials by offering something of value in exchange for nothing. For instance, the victim might get an email promising them a gift card in exchange for clicking on a survey link. The link may lead users to a fake Office 365 login page, where an evil actor obtains their password and email address.

5. Honey Trap

A honey trap attack involves the attacker luring the victim into an online relationship by seeming to be romantically or sexually interested in them. The attacker then uses financial threats or coercion to get the victim to provide sensitive information.

6. Pretexting

Pretexting, an intricate form of social engineering attack, involves scammers creating false scenarios or pretexts, such as impersonating an IRS auditor, to manipulate victims into revealing sensitive financial or personal information, such as their social security number. In an attempt to win over your staff’s trust, an attacker may potentially physically obtain access to your data by posing as a contractor, delivery driver, or vendor.

7. SMS Phishing

As more businesses use texting as their main form of communication, SMS phishing is growing in severity. A technique known as SMS phishing involves con artists sending text messages that mimic requests for multi-factor authentication. The intended victim is then redirected to a malicious website, where malware is installed on their device or their credentials are collected.

8. Scareware

Scareware is a type of social engineering when a con artist places harmful code on a website to create pop-up windows that flash and make ominous noises. These pop-up windows will deceitfully notify you that your computer has a virus on it. The con artists will either install actual viruses on your computer or steal your credit card information, or (most often) both after you buy and download their security program.

9. Tailgating/Piggybacking

Piggybacking, or tailgating, is a social engineering technique when an attacker follows a victim into a restricted or secure area. To evade detection, the fraudster may sometimes feign misplacement of their access card or engage in a lively conversation with a passerby as they enter the area.

10. Watering Hole

A hacker infects a trustworthy website that their targets are known to visit in a watering hole attack. Subsequently, the hacker either installs a backdoor trojan to get access to the network or obtains the credentials of their selected victims and uses them to penetrate the target’s network.

How to Prevent a Social Engineering Attack

Social engineering poses a serious threat to your company’s security, making it essential to incorporate prevention and mitigation strategies for these types of attacks into your cybersecurity plan. A comprehensive security strategy that includes both technology security measures and in-depth training for executives and employees is necessary to thwart social engineering attacks.

Training is your first line of protection against a social engineering attack. Every employee in your company should possess awareness of the most prevalent social engineering techniques and understand the psychological tricks employed by con artists to deceive others. Employees should learn how to:

via a thorough social engineering and security awareness training session.

  • You can tell whether an email has been faked by clicking over the sender’s name and confirming that it corresponds with the email address. You can also check the email address for common giveaways like spelling mistakes.
  • Any unsolicited correspondence should raise suspicions, especially if it comes from a stranger.
  • Refrain from opening dubious email attachments.
  • Verify the website URL by hovering over links in emails.
  • Before giving out any sensitive information, confirm the identity of the recipient via a different means of communication (e.g., in person or over the phone).

To make sure that your employees haven’t grown complacent, you should periodically evaluate them after providing security awareness training. To find out how many employees fall for the social engineering techniques, phony phishing emails are sent to staff members as part of simulated phishing tests that are permitted by many training programs. Then, if needed, those employees might receive new training.

Establishing a strong security culture inside your company is essential to stopping an existing social engineering attack. If any member of your team feels that they have been the victim of a social engineering attack, they should feel free to self-report; if they are afraid of being punished or humiliated in public, they won’t do so. By reporting these problems as soon as they arise, the threat can be promptly reduced before it causes too much harm.

Final Words

Finally, to defend your company from assaults and lessen the impact of any successful breaches, you must put technological security mechanisms into place. Firewalls, email spam filters, antivirus and anti-malware programs, patch management software, and network monitoring tools should all be part of this toolkit.

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