Why Do Cyber Attackers Commonly Use Social Engineering Attacks?
Social engineering is a technique that cyber attackers use to manipulate people and gain access to confidential information. These attacks target individuals and trick them into giving confidential information. Once the victims give out the information they need, the criminals can use this information to install malicious software on their computers secretly. This software gives them control of the computer and access to the victim’s confidential information.
Cyber attackers are always coming up with new methods to use to steal your sensitive data. They often do this by getting you to do part of the work for them – this is called social engineering. This can be done in various ways, but one popular way is through phishing emails or text messages. When cyber attackers send out these types of communications – whether they’re pretending to be someone you know or even just pretending that they’re offering something great (such as a discount on your favorite product!) – they’re trying to get you to click on their link and give away your valuable information without realizing it. In this article, I’ll introduce some recent research that shows how cyber attackers have been using social engineering attacks to get you to share sensitive data with them. But first, let’s look at precisely what they’re doing with these emails and texts – and why you should be wary of them.
Why Do Cyber Attackers Use Social Engineering Attacks?
Imagine you’re a cyber attacker who’s been watching the news lately, and you’ve noticed that the media loves talking about the security breaches that have been going on. You know what people love to talk about – even though it doesn’t make sense. Plus, you can often get them to talk about things that are entirely unrelated to the topic at hand. So what kind of person does this? Well, it turns out that most people are like this – especially when talking about their online security.
This is because there needs to be more clarity over online security and how we can protect ourselves from it. So, as you can imagine, this makes people want to talk about anything else, even if it’s something that has nothing to do with the actual topic at hand!
For example, they might say: “There have been so many cybersecurity breaches lately, and I’m worried my information will be stolen. I wish there were something that could be done about this.”
Or even: “I have all these logins to remember, so it’s tough to keep track of everything. I wish there were an easier way to manage all this stuff.”
Or even: “The last time an employee was fired, I told them to delete their accounts and start fresh somewhere else – but now I’m worried that they will use their old login information to continue doing damage when everyone is sleeping!”
You might not think this is a big deal since they’re just discussing cybersecurity breaches, right? But it is a big deal.
Pretexting is a form of social engineering in which a threat actor creates a plausible scenario and shares it with the target to trick them into divulging sensitive information. Typically, the attacker will pose as an authority figure or someone of interest to the victim and ask them questions about their identity or personal banking information. Then, this information is used to perform other attack scenarios or commit identity theft.
The hacker will often ask the victim if they are free to meet and establish rapport. The attacker will lower their victim’s guard and establish a rapport by asking this question. The next step is to convince the victim to do what the attacker wants, such as downloading malicious software.
Internet attackers use pretexting to obtain financial information. Pretexting takes many forms, including email, phone calls, and text messages. In some instances, pretexting can be illegal, such as when the attackers use compromised employee accounts to steal sensitive information. This method results in massive business losses because of the deceptive practices used by cyber attackers. To avoid such losses, Trustifi offers an email security solution called Inbound Shield, which detects and protects against pretexting attacks.
In the United States, pretexting is illegal. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act prohibits the improper use of customer information. It also requires financial institutions to train their employees to recognize pretexting attempts. Once employees are adequately trained, they will be better able to protect themselves and their data.
A recent successful social engineering attack occurred at a security firm in 2011. In a phishing email, the attacker impersonated an employee who had access to the company’s data room. The attacker used a phishing email subject line that read “2011 Recruitment Plan.” The email also contained an Excel file with malicious code used to install a backdoor through a vulnerability in Adobe Flash. While it’s unclear what information was stolen, the breach cost RSA more than $66 million.
Social engineering attacks use the human instinct to trust. Cybercriminals use this fact to trick people into giving confidential information or downloading malicious software. For example, an email from a company’s CEO might appear legitimate and ask the victim to transfer money. However, once the victim responds, the cybercriminal has gained access to sensitive information and can make purchases with the money.
One of the most common techniques cyber attackers use to access computer networks is dumpster diving. This technique involves searching through trash bags in search of information. These discarded items contain financial and government records, medical bills, resumes, and other information. These pieces of information can help attackers build identity profiles and steal information.
Social engineering attacks can also be a common way to attack a system. For example, dumpster divers may pose as delivery persons or employees to access sensitive resources, such as passwords and credit card numbers. Once they have access to this information, they can install malware, access system resources, or access funds.
The first technique is dumpster diving, which involves collecting information from dumpsters to create a targeted attack. The information gathered from dumpster diving can include phone numbers, email lists, organizational charts, and other seemingly innocuous information. Scammers then use these pretexts to elicit trust from victims. This tactic is often the first step in spear-phishing or business email compromise.
Another standard method is shoulder surfing. This method is similar to dumpster diving and involves looking over the shoulder of a person to collect information. The person being watched may be typing on the keyboard or watching a monitor. Once they have the information they need, the attacker will use it to steal identity and money.
Both of these methods are common and widely used by cyber attackers. However, they use different techniques to manipulate people and obtain access to their systems. Aside from stealing financial information, social engineers may also use these tactics to spread malware. However, unlike other attacks, social engineering techniques are relatively easy to execute.
Tailgating attacks are hazardous for larger organizations since the perpetrators can steal company secrets, money, and equipment. They can also install backdoors on the company’s servers and eavesdrop on network conversations. This is why enterprises should challenge anyone who tries to enter their facilities. One way to do this is by installing biometric scanners or turnkey systems for access control.
Tailgating attacks use impersonation techniques to trick people into granting access to restricted areas. For example, the perpetrators impersonate a legitimate employee and hold the door for the person behind them. These tactics are effective in specific corporate environments, but only in some.
Tailgating attacks are common in large multi-tenanted buildings where keeping track of unauthorized personnel can be challenging. They are also more common in organizations that fail to apply best cybersecurity practices. This can result from carelessness, inadequate training, or poor cybersecurity hygiene.
Social engineering attacks are effective because they create a sense of urgency. The attacker hopes their victim will click on a document containing malicious code. These malicious programs install malware on the victim’s computer, infiltrating the company’s network. However, this approach can be countered by education and training.
Rogue Security Software
The most effective defense against rogue security software is training. The best cybersecurity training program addresses social engineering and will help to prevent rogue security software before it can infect your computer. Cyber attackers use social engineering to convince untrained users to download and install a scam. Even better than a good scanner, good training teaches users how to spot danger.
Some common social engineering attacks include phishing and “quid pro quo attacks.” In a quid pro quo attack, a social engineer will ask for sensitive information or assistance from the target in exchange for confidential information or assistance. Low-level attackers use this tactic because they need advanced tools and do more research on their target. For example, a hacker will call random numbers within an organization and claim to be a new IT support specialist.
Another famous social engineering attack is known as a “scareware” attack. The attacker will trick the victim into believing that their computer is infected by a virus or has downloaded illegal content. They will then present the victim with a “solution” to solve the bogus problem. This software is a malicious anti-virus designed to steal personal information.
Social engineering attacks are a widespread tactic used by cyber attackers to extract confidential information from employees. These attacks can occur through email, phone calls, and even physical access to company premises. The key to successfully combating social engineering attacks is to educate your employees about cyber security. When employees know how to spot these tactics, they can mitigate the consequences and become your security layer.
Several technical solutions exist to help prevent social engineering attacks. However, there is no substitute for training and human awareness. There are many common social engineering tactics used by cyber attackers, including phishing, spoofing websites, and rogue security software. While some solutions can help protect your network from these attacks, the best defense is human training.
While most security awareness training focuses on preventing social engineering attacks, proper awareness and staff training can help prevent these attacks. Educating employees on the importance of security is essential for any company. In addition to educating employees on best practices and preventing social engineering attacks, security awareness training can also help protect your data.