Social engineering is a term that describes a type of attack that is focused on manipulating people in order to gain access to sensitive data. This is typically done by tricking people into giving away their login credentials or other sensitive information, or by exploiting their trust in order to gain access to restricted areas. The goal of these attacks is to exploit the natural human tendency to trust others and to use this trust to gain access to sensitive information or systems. This type of attack can be very effective because it relies on psychological manipulation rather than technical exploits.
Social engineering is the use of psychological manipulation or deception to influence people to do something that may not be in their best interests or to divulge sensitive information. It is a tactic often used by cybercriminals to gain access to protected systems or information.
Here are some statistics on the rise in Social Engineering
- 98% of Cyber Attacks Involve Social Engineering of Some Sort
- Every year, the average organization is the target of more than 700 social engineering attacks.
- It is used in up to 90% of malicious data breaches.
- Phishing is involved in 25% of All Data Breaches.
- Facebook is the website that is most frequently impersonated, accounting for 14% of phishing pages.
- CEOs are typically the target of 57 phishing attacks per year.
- On average, IT professionals are targeted 40 times per year.
- In 2020, Google will remove more than 2.1 million phishing websites.
- Social Media Attacks Rise, with 74% of Organizations Targeted by This Strategy in 2021
- Only 53% of staff members can define phishing correctly.
- At Least One Person Has Clicked a Phishing Link in 86% of Organizations
- Just 27% of businesses train employees on the subject matter
- Attacks using the smishing method increased in 2021, and 74% of organizations were exposed to them.
For statistical sources click here
Why The Rise In Social Engineering?
The internet has many advantages, but it also has certain drawbacks, one of which is social engineering in the modern era.
Here are some reasons for the rise in social engineering.
- Increased use of the internet: The internet has made it easier for you to connect and communicate, but it has also made it easier for fraudsters to reach a wider audience and carry out social engineering attacks.
- Technological advances: As technology has advanced, so have the tactics and techniques that fraudsters use for these attacks. For example, the widespread use of email and the proliferation of social media has created new opportunities for attackers to reach potential victims.
- Human nature: People are naturally trusting and may be more likely to fall for these attacks if they believe that the person or organization they are interacting with is legitimate.
- Limited awareness and education: Many people may not be aware of the risks of this act or may not know how to protect themselves from these types of attacks. This can make them more vulnerable to falling victim to such attacks.
How is This Act Performed?
There are many different tactics that may be used in social engineering, including:
- Phishing: One of the more popular tricks, involves using fake emails or websites to trick people into divulging sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information.
- Baiting: Offering something attractive to trick people into divulging sensitive information or performing an action that they wouldn’t normally do.
- Scareware: Using fear or urgency to trick people into performing an action or divulging sensitive information.
- Impersonation: Pretending to be someone else in order to gain trust or access to sensitive information or systems.
- Authority: Using positions of authority or trust to convince people to divulge sensitive information or perform actions that they might not normally do.
It is important for you to be aware of these tactics and to be cautious when sharing personal or sensitive information. It is also important you use strong passwords and to be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Social Engineering Attacks?
There are several steps that you can take to protect against social engineering attacks:
- Educate employees/friends: Provide training and education to employees and your friends about the risks of these attacks and how to recognize and protect against these types of attacks.
- Establish security policies: Develop and implement security policies that outline acceptable behaviors and practices when it comes to handling sensitive information and interacting with others online.
- Be cautious: Encourage coworkers and friends to be cautious when interacting with unknown individuals or organizations and to verify the identity of anyone requesting sensitive information before divulging it.
- Use strong passwords: Use strong, unique passwords for all accounts and regularly update them to prevent unauthorized access.
- Enable two-factor authentication: Use two-factor authentication whenever possible to provide an additional layer of security.
- Use security software: Use security software, such as antivirus and firewall protection, to help protect against cyber threats.
- Be aware of phishing attacks: Be on the lookout for phishing attacks, which are a common type of social engineering attack.
Can the Government do Something About Social Engineering?
Government agencies can take a number of steps to educate the public about social engineering attacks and to protect against them. These measures can include:
Issuing warnings and alerts about specific types of attacks or techniques that are being used.
Providing guidelines and best practices for protecting against these attacks.
Developing and promoting cybersecurity awareness training programs for government employees and the general public.
Investing in research and development of new technologies and techniques to detect and defend against social engineering attacks.
Working with industry partners, banks, and other organizations to coordinate efforts to combat these attacks.
Have you ever been exposed to social engineering? Tell us about it in the comment section.