Social engineering is manipulating people to provide their confidential information. There are different types of social engineering, and the information these hackers or criminals seek can vary.
These may trick their targets to provide information such as passwords, bank information or can use some malicious software to be installed on the computer and steal this information.
Criminals are using social engineering on social media because a human can be exploited easily so that they can easily fool them to give confidential information. This is easier than to hack the password.
Types of Social Engineering Attacks
Social engineering strategies exploit the human nature. The elements of human nature that are exploited are the nature of human to help others, fear of making errors, desire to avoid struggles, etc. To understand social engineering or to prevent it, one must understand the activities of the hackers. Here are the types of social engineering attacks.
This is the most common approach hackers use to gain confidential information access. Attackers gather the information of targets via search engines. Phishing or baiting is some attacks that come under this attack.
This is the most common social engineering techniques. Email, social media and messaging are used to trick victims to provide sensitive information. The common characteristics of phishing are the messages to attract the attention of the users.
- They send messages to stimulate the curiosity of the victims and make them visit a specific website; they might use messages with a sense of urgency and make them disclose sensitive data to resolve the situation, use shortened URL or link to redirect the victims to malicious domains, etc.
- They may even use email messages and use forged sender address to believe that the email is from a trusted source.
- Phishing social engineering attacks can be avoided by deploying SPAM filters, installing updated anti-virus or create security policies.
- Encrypting all the sensitive details of the organization is necessary. Employees must be trained with mock phishing attacks.
This is another type of phishing attack. In this method, attackers promise to give promising items or services to trick victims. To avoid this, one must never open attachments or emails that are received from unknown sources.
Do not get tempted by free offers. The antivirus or anti-malware software of the computers must always be kept updated.
Physical Access Approach
Some physical activity is used by the attackers to collect the information of victims. The information can be personal details such as birth, social security number, mobile numbers or passwords. Types of attacks that come under this approach are the pretexting, tailgating and quid pro quo.
The attackers try to gain the trust of the victims with a new identity. After gaining trust, they access the departments, information systems of the targets. To avoid this, the organizations must train their employees regarding threats. Safe-harbor must be offered to the subordinates; it is also important to rely on trusted sources only.
This is another social engineering attack that falls under physical approach. The employee who has authorized access to the controlled area is followed by the attackers to control it.
To avoid tailgating, electronic turnstiles, man traps, photo beam detection, intelligent video, electrified hardware card reader and other hardware solutions must be implemented.
Quid Pro Quo
In this type of attack, attackers promise to provide benefits to the victims in return for the vital information such as access details they provide. To avoid quid pro quo, sensitive data must be safeguarded with security measures.
Care must be taken never to reveal sensitive details, use only the official phone number of the companies and not converse with any employee of the organization.
This is another type of social engineering attack in which the hackers relay on social psychological strategies to fool the target. This is a combination of physical approach and the electronic approach.
In this, the attackers might create fake accounts from the details gathered from social media sites. Social approach attacks can be prevented by avoiding sharing personal details with anyone who is unknown online. This information includes the name, date of birth, hometown, dates of graduation, school location, etc.
Reverse Social Engineering
In this method of social engineering attacks, the curiosity of the victim is enhanced and is made to initiate the contact. To avoid this type of attack, employees’ awareness about social engineering attacks must be enhanced. Do not allow employees to install any outside social media programs.
How to Avoid Becoming Victim of Social Engineering Attacks on Social Media
Social engineering attacks can destroy the reputation and data of the individuals or the organizations. These attacks are used by the attackers to gain the details of the company quickly.
- Spammers want the victims to act first and think later. Do not let the urgency influence you.
- Be suspicious of unsolicited messaged.
- Research the facts before acting.
- Do not respond to requests for financial information or passwords. It could be a scam.
- Do not respond to requests for help from organizations.
- Legitimate companies do not contact anyone for help. Ignore all the requests from charity organizations, delete their requests.
- Do not click on the links that come in suspicious emails. If you want to visit a website, use search engines to do so.
- Do not click on the download option until you know the sender personally. Set the spam filters high.
Beware to social media hackers while accessing all social media platforms with your personal data. Now a days it’s the most common issue that is occurring especially on the trending or non trending social media sites. It may not occur with trending social media platforms but the third party hackers might grab your data.