What is social engineering?
Social engineering is a manipulation technique that exploits human error to obtain private information or valuable data. In cybercrime, the human hacking scams entice unsuspecting users to disclose data, spread malware infections, or give them access to restricted systems. Attacks can occur online, in-person, and by other interactions. Social engineering scams are based on how people think and act.
Hackers try to exploit the user's knowledge. Thanks to technology's speed, many consumers and employees are not aware of specific threats such as drive-by downloads. Users cannot realize the value of personal data like phone number. Many users are unsure of how best to protect themselves and theirconfidential information.Social engineering attackers have two goals:
- Subversion: Interrupting or corrupting data due to loss or inconvenience.
- Theft: Obtaining valuable items such as information, access or
How does social engineering work?
Most social engineering attacks depend on real communication between attackers and victims. Instead of using brute force methodsto breach the data, the attacker prompts the user to compromise.
The attack cycle gives the criminals a reliable process to deceive you. The stages of the social engineering attack cycle are below:
- Prepare by gathering background information on a large group.
- Infiltrate by building trust, establishing a relationship or starting a conversation.
- Establish the victim once more to confront the attack with confidence and weakness.
- Once the user takes the desired action, release it.
Many employees and consumers are unaware that certain information can give hackers access to multiple networks and accounts.
By sending messages for IT support personnel as legitimate users, they grab your details - such as name, date of birth or address. It is a simple matter to reset the password and get almost unlimited access. They can steal money, spread social engineering malware, and many more.
Characteristics of Social Engineering Attack
Social engineering attack centerson the attacker's use of persuasion and confidence.
High emotions: Emotional manipulation gives attackers the upper hand in any conversation. The below feelings are used equally to explain to you.
Time-sensitive occasions or requests are other reliable tools in an attacker's arsenal.
Confidence: Credibility is invaluable and necessary for a social engineering attack. If the attacker is lying to us, confidence plays an important role. They have done enough research to prepare a narrative for us that is easy to believe and is unlikely to reduce suspicion.
In many cases, attackers use more methods of social engineering to gain network and computer access.
For example, a hacker can often "shoulder surf" a large office building and public food court of users working on their tablet or laptop. Attackers canhack your passwords and usernames without sending an email or writing a single line of virus code.
Types of Social Engineering Attacks
Every type of cybersecurity attack involves some social engineering. For example, classic email and virus scams are laden with social overtones. Some of the standard methods used by social engineering attackers are below:
Phishing attackers pretend to a trusted institution or person in an attempt to convince you to uncover personal data and valuables.Attacks by using phishing are targeted in two ways:
- Spam phishing is a widespread attack for some users. The attacks are non-personal and try to capture any irresponsible person.
- Phishing and whaling use personal information to target particular users. The whaling attacks are aimed at high-profile individuals such as celebrities, upper management and higher government officials.Whether it is direct communication or by a fake website, anything you share goes directly into the seamster's pocket.You can also be fooled into the next stage of the phishing attack malware download. The methods used in phishing are unique methods of delivery.
- Voice phishing (Wishing) phone calls can be an automated messaging system recording all your inputs. The person can speak with you to build trust.
- SMS phishing (SMS) texts or mobile app messages may indicate a web link or follow-up via a web link or phone number. A web link, phone number, or malware attachment may be used.
- Angler phishing takes place on social media, where the attacker mimics the customer service team of a trusted company. They interrupt your communication with a brand and turn the conversations into private messages, where they escalate the attack.
- Search engine phishing attempts to place links to fake websites at the top of any search results. The advertisements will be paid or use valid optimization methods to manipulate search rankings.The links are given in email, text, social media messages and online advertisements.
- In-session phishing appears as an interruption to the normal web browsing.For example, you can see fake pop-ups on the webpages you are currently viewing.
Baiting abuses your natural curiosity of exposing yourself as an attacker. The potential for something exclusive is used to exploit us. An attack involves infecting us with malware. Popular methods of baiting are:
- USB drives are left in public places, such as libraries and parking lots.
- Email attachment with details with free offer.
Physical Breach Attack
Physical violations include attackers, who would otherwise present themselves as legitimate to access unauthorized areas or information.
This type of attack is common in enterprise environments, like the government, businesses, or other organizations. Attackers pretend to be a representative of a trusted vendor for the company. Some attackers may have recently been fired in retaliation against their former employers.
They obscure their identity but are reliable enough to avoid questions. It requires little research on the part of the attacker and involves high risk. Therefore, if someone is attempting this method, they have identified a clear potential for a highly valued reward if successful.
- Preceding Attack:Trusting uses a misleading identity as a "trust" to establish trusts, such as applying directly to a vendor or facility employee. The approach requires the attacker to interact with you more actively. Once exploited, they are convinced that you are legitimate.
- Access tailgating attack: Tailgating or piggybacking is the act of trapping any authorized staff member in a restricted-access area.
Quid pro quo Attack
The term quid pro quo roughly means "a favor for a favor," which refers to exchanging your information for some reward or other compensation in exchange for phishing. Offer to participate in giveaways or research studies may make you aware of this type of attack.
Exploitation comes from making you happy for something valuable that comes with little investment on your end. However, the attacker does not reward your data for you.
DNS Spoofing and Cash Poisoning Attack
DNS spoofing manipulates your browser and web server to visit malicious websites when you enter a valid URL. DNS cache poisoning attacksinfect our device with valid URLs or routing instructions for multiple URLs to connect to fake websites.
Scareware is a form of malware that is used to scare you into taking action. The deceptive malware uses dangerous warnings that report fake malware infections or claim that your accounts have been compromised.
Water Hole Attack
Watering hole attacks infect popular web pages with malware to affect multiple users at the same time. Carefully planning on the part of the attacker is required to find vulnerabilities of the specific sites.
Website owners can choose to delay software updates to keep the software that they know are stable. Hackers recently misuse this behavior to target vulnerabilities.
Unusual Social Engineering Methods
- Fax-based Phishing: When a bank's customers receive a fake email that claims to be from the bank - asking the customer to confirm their access code - by regular email. The customer was asked to print out the form in an email, fill in their details and fax the form to the cyber criminal's telephone number.
- Traditional Mail Malware Delivery: Cybercriminals use a home-delivery service to deliver CDs infected with Trojan spyware in Japan. The disc was delivered to customers of a Japanese bank. The addresses was firstly stolen from the bank's database.
Examples of Social Engineering Attacks
Cybercriminal aims to get the user's attention to the link or infected file - and then allure the user to click on it.
- In 2000, the Lavalier worm overloaded on the email servers of many companies. The victims received an email inviting them to open anattached love letter. When she opened the attached file, the worm copied all the contacts in the victim's address book.
- In January 2004, the Mydoom email worm, which appeared on the Internet, used texts that mimicked mail servers' technical messages.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Network Attack
P2P networks are used to distribute malware. A worm or any Trojan virus will appear on the P2P network; its name will attract attention and allow users to download and launch the file. For example:
- AIM and AOL Password Hacker.exe
- Microsoft CD Key Generator .exe
- Play station emulator crack.exe
How to Solve anySocial Engineering Attack
To avoid social engineering, you have to practice self-awareness. Always slow down and think before you do anything or react.
- Have my feelings increased? When you are particularly curious, scared, or excited, you are less likely to evaluate your actions' results. If your emotional state is advanced, consider it a red flag.
- Did the message come from a valid sender? Carefully inspect email addresses and social media profiles when receiving suspicious messages. There could be characters that mimic others, such as "firstname.lastname@example.org" instead of "email@example.com." Fake social media profiles that mimic your friend's photo, and many details are also standard.
- Has my friend sent me the message? It is always good to ask the sender if they were the actual sender of the message in question. They can be hacked, and they may not be detected, or someone may impersonate their accounts.
- Are attachments or links suspicious? If a link or filename appears unclear or odd in a message, rethinking the entire communication's authenticity. Besides, consider when the message itself raises an odd reference, time, or other red flags.
- Can this person prove his identity? It applies both in-person and online, as physical violations require that you ignore the attacker's identity.
Ways to Protect From Social Engineering
In addition to an attack, you must be proactive about your privacy and security. The following are some important ways to protect against all types of cyberattacks:
Secure communication and account management habits
- Online communication is where you are insecure. Social media, email and text messages are common goals, but you want to inter-person.
- Never click on any email or message link.
- Use multi-factor authentication. When only passwords are used to secure them, online accounts are more secure. Multi-factor authentication adds additional layers to verify its identity at account login. These "factors" may have biometrics such as fingerprints or facial recognition or passcodes sent via text message.
- Use a strong password. Each of your passwords must be unique and complex. You are using several types of characters, including uppercase, numbers, and symbols. Also, you can opt for the more extended password option. You may want to use Password Manager to store and remember them securely to manage all your custom passwords,.
- Avoid sharing your schools, pets, place of birth, or other personal details. You will make it harder for the criminal to crack your account.
- Be very conscious of making online friendships.
Secure Network Usage Habits
- Compiled online networks may be another point of exploited vulnerability for background research. To avoid you using your data, take protective measures for any network you connect to.
- Never let strangers connect to the main Wi-Fi At home or workplace, access to guest Wi-Fi connections should be provided. It allows secure and secure access to your primary encrypted, password-protected connection.
- Never let strangers connect to your personal Wi-Fi network. At home or work, access to guest Wi-Fi connections should be provided.
- Always use aVirtual Private Network (VPN). VPNs are services that provide you with a private, encrypted "tunnel" over the Internet connection.
- Protect all the networked devices and services.
Safe Device Use Habits
Protect your mobile phone, tablet and other computer devices with the belowpoints:
- Use comprehensive Internet security software. If the social strategy succeeds, malware infection is an expected outcome. To counter rootkits, Trojans and bots, it is essential to employ high-quality Internet security solutions to eliminate infections and help track their source.
- Never keep your devices insecure in public.
- Please keep all your software updated as soon as it becomes available. Quick updates give your software the necessary security fixes. When you skip or delay an update to the operating system or applications, you leave a security holes to target hackers.
Social Engineering Attack Lifecycle
Social engineering is dangerous because it relies on human error rather than weaknesses in operating systems.