There are many types of cyberattacks that concern organizations. As attacks become more targeted, social engineering is increasing in frequency. Forbes estimates that 57% of attacks on small businesses are social engineering.

Tech Target, meanwhile, estimates that over 90% of cyber attacks begin as spear phishing, a type of social engineering. This article will explain the basics of social engineering and some tips to prevent a successful social engineering attack.

What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is a term used to describe a variety of malicious activities. These types of attacks aim to trick users into making security mistakes or giving away sensitive information.

Social engineering attacks are more targeted than general. Social engineering attacks can happen in one or multiple steps but usually follow the same pattern.

  1. Investigation. The attacker will identify a victim and gather background information.
  2. Hook. The attacker will engage the target and spin a story based on the data collected during the investigation.
  3. Play. The attacker will exploit the trust gained during the hook stage. This hook is the execution stage of the attack.
  4. Exit. After obtaining what the attacker needs, they will exit and cover their tracks before moving to a new target.

Top Types of Attacks

  • Baiting. Baiting uses false promises to entice victims into sharing information
  • Scareware. Like it sounds, scareware involves using scare tactics to provoke victims to give information. They usually include a sense of urgency.
  • Pretexting. The attacker will impersonate a person, such as a coworker, police officer, bank employee, or tax official.
  • Phishing. One of the most common types of attacks, phishing scams use emails and text messages to create a sense of urgency, curiosity, and fear to convince victims to disclose information.
  • Spearfishing. Spearfishing is a more targeted form of phishing, going after specific individuals or organizations.

Tips to Prevent Social Engineering

Slow Down

Take the time to explore any potential threats. Treating all messages with a hint of suspicion makes you more likely to recognize an odd email or message.

Enable MFA

As a basic level of protection, multifactor authentication can block unauthorized access if an attacker gets your credentials.

If It Sounds Too Good, It Probably Is

As with anything in life, this is simple: if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Update Regularly

Updates are often pushed out in response to threats. Keeping your software and devices updated will ensure that the most current levels of protection are in place.

How Anteris Can Help

At Anteris, we make security a top priority. As cybersecurity professionals, our security services support your business and protect your data from outside threats.

We pride ourselves on being lifelong learners. Being a security expert doesn't mean that someone has learned everything they need to know about cybersecurity. That's impossible. It's always changing. We know that and recognize that cybersecurity is an ever-evolving process to assess, align, and act, and keep moving forward as cybersecurity changes.

While there is no guaranteed protection against threat, we also have best practices for recovery in the event of a security breach.

Let us make your technology freeing, not frustrating.