5 Types of Social Engineering Attacks and How to Prevent Them

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September 26, 2021

The term “social engineering” refers to a wide range of malevolent behaviours carried out through human relationships. It employs psychological tricks to persuade users to make security mistakes or divulge critical information.

What is social engineering attack?

Social engineering attacks are carried out via a series of steps. To carry out the attacks, a perpetrator first examines the intended victim to obtain background information such as possible avenues of entry and weak security mechanisms. The attacker then works to acquire the victim’s trust and give stimuli for further acts that violate security protocols, such as exposing sensitive data or granting access to crucial resources.

How Social Engineering Attacks Happen?

It relies on human error rather than software or operating system flaws. Legitimate user errors are less predictable, making them more difficult to detect and prevent than malware-based intrusions. It is particularly very harmful. There are some types of social engineering attacks. Some of the social engineering examples are listed below.

Importance of Social Engineering

Types of Social Engineering Attacks

Baiting

As its name implies, baiting attacks use a false promise to pique a victim’s greed or curiosity. They lure users into a trap that steals their personal information or inflicts their systems with malware.

Also read: How to Keep your Social Media Accounts Safe from Hackers

Scareware

The victims of scareware are assaulted with false alerts and bogus threats. Users are duped into believing their system is infected with malware, prompting them to install software that has no purpose (other than to benefit the offender) or is malware. Deception software, rogue scanning software, and fraud ware are all terms used to describe scareware.

Pretexting

An attacker gathers information by telling a series of carefully constructed lies. A perpetrator may start the scam by professing to need sensitive information from a victim in order to complete an essential assignment.

Phishing

Social engineering phishing scams or attacks, which are email and text message campaigns aiming at instilling a sense of urgency, curiosity, or terror in victims, are one of the most common social engineering attack types. It then pressures people into disclosing personal information, visiting fraudulent websites, or opening malware-infected attachments.

Spear phishing

This is a more focused variation of the phishing scam, in which the perpetrator targets specific people or businesses. They then personalize their messages based on the traits, work titles, and contacts of their victims in order to make their attack less obvious.

Checkout: What are Some Risks and Benefits of Performing Penetration Testing?

Types of Social Engineering Attacks (1)

How to prevent social engineering?

To carry out schemes and lure victims into their traps, social engineers use human emotions such as curiosity and terror. As a result, be cautious if you receive an alarming email, an enticed by a website’s offer, or come across stray digital media laying around. Being vigilant can help you avoid most social engineering assaults that take place online.

Below are ways of how to prevent social engineering

  • Do not open emails or attachments from unknown senders.
  • Multifactor authentication should be used.
  • Be cautious of seductive and alluring offers.
  • Make sure your antivirus and antimalware software is up to date.

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