What is Social Engineering and How it Works?

What is Social Engineering and How it Works?

Social engineering is a term that is used in the cybersecurity world, but many individuals and businesses don’t know what this term refers to.

What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is an attack that a hacker will use to try and gain sensitive data from you or employees of a business. The person may act as an IT professional or other important person in an organization to try and extract the information.

For example, the attacker may try to gather user credentials or files to gain access to systems.

Additionally, the attacker may try and trick you into providing information that will be used to further access systems. The most common type of attacks will shed light on what these attacks may involve and how they work.

What are Common Social Engineering Attacks?

The following social engineering attacks are the most common and often used with great success on small and large companies alike.

  1. In-person attacks. One of the least expected attacks is when the person tries to perform the attack in person. The individual may pose as part of a maintenance crew and try to gain access to restricted areas of the business. These attacks can be very successful because it involves employees that may let their guard down and let someone in the building that they never thought would cause an attack.
  2. Phone-based attacks. Hackers are also more than willing to pick up the phone and call a business to try a phone-based attack. These attacks occur when the attacker calls and tries to get the person on the other end of the line to perform an action. For example, they may direct the receptionist to a website to pay a vendor bill and the steal sensitive data.
  3. Tailgating. How many times do people walk into the office behind you? A tailgating attack involves someone walking into the office behind you, posing as an employee. Perhaps you hold the door for them and assume that they’re a new employee you have never met. This is a tailgating attack.
  4. Third-party attacks. A third-party social engineering attack will involve trying to gain access to information through non-on-site measures. These attacks may involve phishing, malware or other computer-related attacks,

Social engineering requires a lot of thought and research by the attacker. For example, the individual may spend hours scouring social media to find out information about a business and who best to target.

There's so much information readily available on social profiles that people often overlook but can be quite valuable to a smart hacker.

If you want to protect against social engineering, we offer cybersecurity in Miami and can take corrective measures to reduce your risk of an attack. We may incorporate team assessments that work to improve areas of the business that are at the greatest risk of infiltration.

Awareness training and securing architecture can both help reduce the risk of a social engineering attack being a success.

Preventative measures are the best protection against social engineering attacks being a success.