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12 tips on preventing social engineering attacks

12 tips on preventing social engineering attacks

In this blog post, we will clrify to you what is a social engineering, how do hackers proceed in order to get confidential data from you and, we will explain to your 8 most common types of attacks. But most importantly, we will share our 11 tips on protecting your business and your home network against social engineering attacks.

 

 

A. What is Social engineering?

Social engineering is a manipulation technique which leads to getting confidential information by exploiting the helpfulness, credulity, or persuading people to do a specific task. For example spreading malware infections, giving access to restricted systems or even CEO frauds.

These attacks can happen both online as well as in person and they are based on our thoughts, acts, and emotions. Scammers get us to stop thinking rationally and acting impulsive. What is also important to mention is that hackers use our lack of knowledge.

B. How hackers proceed?

For a private individual and a company, social engineering is dangerous. Especially, employees of organizations are a target to attack, to get information about the organization and to extort money or data.

  • Via social engineering an attacker can, for example, pretend to be a system administrator or security specialist to find out your login information, your password, and username.
  • The begin of every social engineering attack is extensive research. The more the attacker knows about his victim, the better he can manipulate individual employees later.
  • Annual reports, marketing brochures or newspaper articles are important sources to collect information. Easier than that it is to find information on the internet, especially in social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn.

C. 6 common types of social engineering attacks

One of the first steps of preventing social engineering attack is knowing what you or your business are against to. Find out here what are the 8 most commons attacks. 


D. How to prevent social engineering attack in 2024?

Fornutaley, there are methods how you can protect your business and yourself against social engieering attacks.

Tip 1: prepare your employees by organising secuRITY trainings

The weakest line of your cybersecurity is a human error. Therefore, we advise you to strengthen your human firewall by organising for your employee’s security trainings, raise awareness of flagging possible scams and keep them up to date about possible threads.

Tip 2: Don’t panic, security stands before politeness

Usually, social engineers are very friendly and outgoing. They pretend to have company knowledge (name of the CEO, processes etc.) and work on someone until the victim gives them the information they are looking for.

Tip 3: Don’t be persuaded

Don’t be persuaded to visit a particular website or to install software. They both could be infected with malware.

Tip 4: What to do with suspicious requests

If there is something suspicious about a request, always make sure that you know the identity and authorization of the person submitting the request. Ask for the reasons. Consult with your supervisor or the person you are ought to give information about. Ask them if they know the sender.

Tip 5: Disclosing Information

Never give out internal or confidential information, such as customer and employee data, project information etc. Neither on the phone nor via mail or email.

Tip 6: Contacted by "service providers"

No serious service provider, system administrator or security specialist will ever ask for a password or access data.

Tip 7: Pay attention on phone and with emails

Phishing means, that someone, such as a social engineer, tries to get information from you by phone or email. Attackers pretend to be trustworthy. To know if it is a phishing-email, you should pay attention to the following attributes: 

  1. Questionable sender
  2. Unusual, suspicious mail attachments
  3. Impersonal address

 

Tip 8: Be alerted on social networks

Social engineering can also occur through social media. For example, posts or private messages are sent with links that lead to contaminated websites.

The more private data an employe publishes, the easier it becomes to gather information about him and the company. Be aware of what you post and share, and adjust your privacy settings if necessary.

Tip 9: Be careful with mobile devices

Do you still know USB sticks or external drives? Although they are no longer used as often, they are still a source of danger. Malware can also be transported by mobile devices, which is called baiting.

Tip 10: Passwords and updates

Vary in your passwords and actualize them regularly. To avoid security gaps it is also helpful to regularly actualize your systems and keep them up to date.

Tip 11: Be careful when you are contacted personally

The most extreme form of social engineering is, that the aggressor contacts the victim personally. If the social engineer fails to reach the person by other channels, it is possible, that he or she tries to get personal contact.

Tip 12: CHECK THE SOURCE

When you receive a suspicious email, phone call or message. For example, checking the source in the email is very simple. You just need to have a look on the email header, check the spelling of the company’s name and check the link – but remember do not click on it but hoover your cursor over the link.

E. Additional measures to take

  • Use a VPN which will give you a private network on any internect connection you use.
  • Set your spam filters to high in order to avoid possible spam phishings.
  • Regularly update all of the softwares you are using. 
  • Use strong passwords or multi-factor authentication. 
  • Don't click on suspicious links in e-mails and messages.

F. Safe behavior can be learned

Social engineering is a consistent threat. It affects private individuals and companies equally. The weakest link in the security chain is the human as the victim, even in an otherwise well-protected security system.

Trainings are a good way for companies to raise awareness among their employees. Combined with IT security precautions you can minimize the risk of social engineering.

 In conclusion, social engineering remains a persistent threat to businesses of all sizes. By implementing robust security protocols, educating employees about potential risks, and fostering a culture of vigilance, companies can significantly reduce their susceptibility to social engineering attacks. And most importantly, staying one step ahead of malicious actors requires continuous effort and adaptability. By remaining proactive and prioritizing security measures, businesses can safeguard their assets and maintain the trust of their customers in an increasingly digital world. 

 
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