Table of Contents
What is a Common Method Used in Social Engineering?
Social engineering is a technique that can be carried out in different ways. For example, it can be carried out through a single email, or it can be conducted over several months using social networks and personal conversations. The result of this technique is to get you to do something, such as opening up your computer to a virus or spyware. Social engineering is a hazardous technique, so you must be aware of it. It can lead to confusion and give the hackers access to many different networks, which can be used against you.
A widely used method of social engineering is called the “cold call.” This refers to when an attacker initiates a conversation with you, the intended victim. For example, when the attacker does not have contact information for you, they might try to gain your trust through various means, including speaking about familiar topics or having some personal connection with you through mutual friends or acquaintances.
When someone initiates a conversation without personal information, it’s easy for them to take advantage of your goodwill and exploit that trust for their benefit. Using the cold call, a social engineer can gain access to the information they need to exploit you.
The cold call is often used in social engineering attacks, but it’s not limited to them. It’s possible to go on a warm call during which an attacker may present themselves as someone you already know or familiarize themselves with you through your interests and hobbies. Once they make an impression on you, they can start asking questions about your personal life and your vulnerabilities. They might make it appear as if they are searching for something specific and then make attempts to find that thing for themselves.
Many people mistakenly think that salespeople or door-to-door salespeople only use the cold call, but it’s important enough to learn about different situations. While a cold call might be legitimate, there are many other situations in which someone may make a cold call to you.
Example: A Social Engineer Googles Your Name and Your Family’s Name
The following example shows how a social engineer may use the “cold call” technique. An attacker goes to your profile on Google, searches for your name and your family’s name, and then logs into the account of one of your family members. They then go to your profile, which has your photo on it. Finally, they look at the photo, read your bio, and see whether they have any mutual friends.
Once they find a friend of yours with whom you have a personal connection to them, they call that friend’s phone number and ask for you by name. Though the attacker is pretending to be someone else, your friend may react surprised and confirm that it is you. After this confirmation, the attacker might speak about an event you attended together or some other aspect of your friendship to establish familiarity. For example, they may say, “I’m not sure if you remember me, but we met at a party last year.
Using a false identity in social engineering attacks is a common strategy scammers use to obtain sensitive information. For example, social engineers often pose as a bank or financial institution and send emails asking people to log in. The emails look legitimate, but they contain malicious content. The victims are often tricked into handing over their login credentials and giving the scammers access to their bank accounts. Another common social engineering technique involves DNS spoofing (also known as “cache poisoning”), which manipulates browser settings to redirect users to a malicious website.
Another common technique in social engineering is to pose as an authority figure. This could mean someone is calling your cell phone or emailing your account. They may even be someone you know. If you click on the link in the fake email, they may install malware or ransomware on your computer.
This technique is also known as pretexting. In this technique, the attacker creates an exciting scenario to catch your attention. They then request information from you, such as banking details or personal details, so that they can use this information for other malicious purposes. Using pretexting is especially risky, as it may lead to information leakage.
Social engineering attacks can take many forms and occur anywhere human interaction exists. Baiting is another common technique. It involves making false promises to lure the victim into a trap. The goal is to gather the information that will lead to an eventual scam, such as stealing personal information or infecting the computer with malware. Sometimes, the attacker will disguise the trap as a benign attachment.
Social engineers can also use a false identity to access your computer. For example, they may pose as a company offering assistance. This may appear legitimate to the victim, but they aren’t. People unfamiliar with social engineering may trust the social engineer and allow them access to their accounts and devices. It’s essential to avoid giving personal information to strangers unless they can prove their identity.
Social engineering attacks often involve psychological manipulation to fool unsuspecting employees or users. This can be done through emails and other forms of communication that appeal to human emotions. This leads the victim to divulge personal information, click malicious links, or download a malicious file. This strategy is highly complex and can be challenging to detect.
Sense of Urgency
Sense of urgency is a common technique used by threat actors to gain trust. For instance, an attacker may pose as an IT support staff member and trick a targeted victim into divulging a password or credit card number. Once the attacker has this information, they can take the following steps.
The attacker can compromise your email account to send malicious links that are easy to click. For example, an email from a “5000” number may appear urgent and ask you to provide sensitive information. This will cause you to feel pressured and may make you click on the link.
One of the most common social engineering techniques is pretending to be a victim of fraud. For example, a scammer may pose as a CEO or a company coworker and ask for payment or other personal information. The attacker may then use the data to perform malicious activities like identity theft. This technique is also commonly used on peer-to-peer networks and social networking sites.
Another standard method of social engineering is the use of disguise. For example, the attacker may pose as a current employee or a new system administrator or use made-up names. This tactic may work well if the attacker can gain trust and a sense of security. Once the mark has been convinced that the persona or request is legitimate, they are more likely to comply.
This tactic relies on the human tendency to believe that a particular action will bring the desired outcome. For example, a social engineer may offer a free music download or a gift card in exchange for providing their credentials. Another method involves using a free USB drive at a conference to trick the target into logging into a web-based account. Unfortunately, the USB drive may contain malicious software that will infect the target’s computer once the person plugs it in.
Social engineering is a sophisticated technique involving manipulating people to gain their confidential information. This tactic is widely used in scams and frauds and is often used by con artists to lure unsuspecting victims into providing personal information. Cybercriminals also use social engineering to access computers and secretly install malicious software that can grant access to confidential information and even control the computer.
Social engineering attacks involve psychological manipulation to lure unsuspecting victims into providing sensitive information. This tactic often includes emails and communications that invoke emotion to make the victim click on a malicious link or download a malicious file. For example, 91% of all data breaches occur through phishing scams.
Social engineering uses psychological principles that are based on human cognitive biases. These biases, sometimes called “bugs in human hardware,” are exploited by attackers to manipulate human behavior. These techniques are commonly used to obtain sensitive or confidential information. In many cases, these attacks are carried out over the phone. Criminals posing as professionals often use these methods to access a company’s secrets. The psychology behind social engineering relies on the theories of Robert Cialdini, which are based on six fundamental principles.
The main goal of social engineering is to manipulate a person’s confidence to gain access to valuable information. Social engineers use this method to get personal information through seemingly innocent but deceptive questions. Once they have a person’s confidence, they can steal financial and personal information. In some cases, criminals may use this information to infect the company’s network with malware.
Social engineering is the “art of exploiting human psychology to gain access to systems, buildings, and data.” Despite modern technology solutions, such as anti-virus software, these methods may only partially protect critical assets. According to a recent survey by Check Point, 43 percent of IT professionals have been victims of a social engineering scheme. New hires are especially vulnerable to this type of attack.
Another popular technique is water-holing, which exploits users’ trust in websites. The attacker contacts random people within a company and pretends to call for a legitimate purpose. They then try to gather sensitive information from them. Companies can protect themselves by establishing a solid trust framework among employees.
Social engineering is becoming one of the most widespread cybersecurity threats. It requires no special knowledge or technical skills to conduct these attacks. Moreover, social engineering is lucrative. A recent Aite-Novarica study found that one-third of impersonation scams involved a payment of USD 1,000 or more.