What are Social Engineering Attacks?
A lot of people seem to assume that they are smart enough to avoid attacks from scams and cybercriminals. The funny thing is, a lot of these people are also those who have already been scammed and they don’t even know it. The tool responsible for this next generation of cybercrime is social engineering, a new technique to acquire private data from innocent people. There are several ways in which social engineering attacks are being executed nowadays and you must know what they are and how you can avoid such attacks.
Main Social Engineering Examples
While the list of ways that social engineering is applied is quite exhaustive, we will share the ones that you have seen at least once if you use the internet and email frequently.
- Phishing: Of all the different social engineering techniques, phishing is probably the most prevalent and no matter who you are, you must have seen it work in one way or another. Phishing is when a scammer tries to access your data by impersonating someone who they know you are comfortable with. It is mostly in the form of an email where the email header is changed to look like it is coming from a trusted source. These social engineering attacks often contain email links that seem like they are for one purpose but are placed there to lead you into a trap. Email attachments are also used to do this as you may find a file that may look like a word document but would be a virus software that steals your data.
- Spear Phishing: This is an advanced form of phishing where the scammer is targeting someone specific instead of sending a bunch of emails. This technique requires more effort and more personal information about a person as they impersonate someone who the target knows personally e.g. a boss etc. to make them transfer funds etc. While the effort is much higher, the success rate of this is very high as compared to other social engineering techniques.
- Contact Spamming: Social engineering examples like this include social media accounts being hacked and malicious links posted on someone’s account. You may see links like “hey check out this awesome video” or something similar which would in truth be a link to some malicious website. The trust of a friend is what leads a lot of people to click on such links and lose data.
This was just an intro to the world of social engineering but the examples of social engineering attacks given here are the most commonly spread on the internet. To protect yourself from such issues, you need to be very vigilant about what you are doing on the internet and what links and sites you visit.
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