What are Social Engineering Attacks? Best Tips to Stay Safe
Social engineering attack is an assault vector that is based closely on human interplay and regularly involves manipulating humans into breaking ordinary security tactics and high-quality practices to be able to benefit access to structures, networks, or bodily places, or for monetary gain. In simple terms, people on the Internet try to manipulate you to give up your confidential information. There are multiple types of social engineering attacks that we will see today.
Basically, Social engineering is a part of human psychology techniques that make the victim first feel safe. Then the “Bad Guy” tries to make you share any personal information about you. The personal information could be anything, for example, Bank Account Number, UPI ID/Pin, etc.
Many social engineering exploits truly rely on human beings’ willingness to be helpful. For instance, you may receive an email from your co-worker requesting you to send a piece of client information over to a specific email due to some reasons. These conditions will be dire and you may fall into the trap of social engineering.
There are basically 5 types of Social Engineering Attacks-
Table of contents
1) Baiting Social Engineering Attack-
As the name suggests, baiting is a well-planned trap setup in disguise of an amazing offer or lots on money prize. There might be a survey to fill to get an iPhone or iPad for free and as soon as you click the form link, BOOM, your device is infected with the malware. The maximum reviled shape of baiting uses physical media to disperse malware.
The bait that attackers use will very closely resemble the original content and be displayed at a location where maximum people would notice like washrooms, resting rooms, smoking zones, etc. Baiting a victim may not always be inside the system. Nowadays there are online baiting scams consisting of engaging ads that lead to malicious websites or that encourage customers to download a malware-inflamed application.
Also, Read- How Hackers Hack Any Account using Phishing Tool- PhishX
2) Phishing Social Engineering Attack-
As one of the most well-known social attacks, phishing tricks are emails and instant message battles planned for making a desire to move quickly. At a certain point, attacker pushes the victim into uncovering delicate data, tapping on connections to noxious sites, or opening connections that contain malware.
One way could be an email sent to clients online to initiate the process on their part, for example, a necessary secret key change. It incorporates a connect to an ill-conceived site—about indistinguishable in appearance to its real form—inciting the clueless client to enter their present certifications and new secret phrase.
Thus successfully infiltrating the victim’s transaction or process without any single command or bash script.
This is a very old method of extracting a piece of sensitive information about a person by the perpetrator pretending in need of that information. This usually backs the stream by the need for information to perform some critical tasks.
The attacker usually initiates the infiltration by imitating or mimicking someone who has the authority to gain information like a co-worker, government official, a higher-level authoritative person in your organization, and so on. The attacker will start a conversation to extract information with common information like Name, Address, and then some sensitive information like Bank account.
All sorts of sensitive information and records are gathered using this scam, such as social security numbers, personal addresses, and phone numbers, phone records, staff vacation dates, bank records, and even security information.
Similar to other attacks, the trade-off is also a type of social engineering attack for information extraction. The trade-off is usually done for the services on the web like free VPN for 3 months or free Anti-Virus for few months and like that.
There will always be exchanges for information like “Fill up the Surveys to get something” and people do usually fall for these things. Lately, there are multiple ads on social media like Instagram or Facebook, where people claim to earn more than $100 just by surveys. This is the most legit and fake advertising that can be seen. There might be a chance that it is true like Google Rewards, but most of them are just false.
5) Scare Crows Social Engineering Attack-
In these types of Social Engineering attacks, the attacker uses the fear of its victim to his advantage. The victims are deceived to think that their device or any system is infected with malware and other sorts of a virus that could damage severely. This prompts the victims to install an Anti-Vodoo (It does advertise it like that..!!) software which claims to protect (not really) your system but that software is also a potential malware.
The pop-ups that you can see are almost legitimate and for a second, you might feel its legitimacy. But I assure you it’s not legitimate. It would display some message like “Your Device is Corrupted/Infected” and either it will prompt you to install some software or redirect you to some of the web pages where your device will be infected, in real.
Social engineering prevention
Social Engineers are masters in manipulating human feelings, curiosity and pray on their fears of getting hacked which draws victims into their traps. Hence we have curated some in-general tips that you should opt for so as to stay safe from these “Bad Guys” and not fall into their traps.
- Don’t open emails and attachments from suspicious sources – Sometimes you may receive an mail with attachments and the sender might be unknown to you. In that case, do not open or click on the attachment. You might wanna ignore the mail or delete it as a safety precaution. If you do know the sender and still feel a little suspicious, then you might wanna give them a call and confirm it.
- Use multifactor authentication – This is one safe method to opt right away. The attacker will always try to get passwords but if you apply the multifactor authentication like One Time Password (OTP) or VPN access code, then even if the attacker gets the hold of the password, it is less likely to be successful because of multifactor authentication.
- Be wary of tempting offers – There is always an email of a very rich guy trying to donate his life savings to you if you just provide your bank details. Yes, its a fraud. There is also a less version of this, “YOu are declared as an iPhone Winner, Please provide the address proof and bank details to claim your gift” and on that line. Always remember that “There is no free lunch in this world“.
- Keep your antivirus/antimalware software updated – Anti-virus plays an important role in protecting your device from blocking the pop-ups to blocking a visit to a malicious website. So always use a good Anti-virus and update it regularly to stay up-to-date.