While it doesn’t sound as intimidating as your system being hacked, Social Engineering is far more devious and devastating. It basically refers to psychologically manipulating people and making them unknowingly disclose confidential information. It is a powerful technique to gather information, perform fraud or control computers.
Social engineers utilize different techniques- phone calls, in-person, social media, fraudulent web, test messages and emails to trap web users.
This article will educate you about the types of social engineering attacks that exist around you.
- Phishing Email: A phishing email contains a malware that is created to steal data from you. As soon as you click the link in the mail, the malicious program is activated. Emails are designed in such a way that users are attracted towards them. However, hackers play a key role in manipulating users.
- Smishing: Smishing is a technique where attacker sends a malicious link within a text message. The message is written in an attractive manner. Thus, as soon as, the victim clicks the link, it downloads a malicious application.
- Fraudulent Website: Fraudulent websites are created by attackers with an intention to steal information from web users. Social engineers are efficient at designing such websites which makes it difficult to identify these websites.
Attackers generally select popular brands and create exact replicas of these websites. To be safe, make sure to check the spellings of the domain names before you land on them.
- Angler Phishing: Angler phishing is a technique where attackers use social media to hunt down victims. It is also called social media phishing and is comparatively new in the attack methods. An attacker creates a bogus social media account on platforms like Twitter or Facebook. Further, they will use a popular company’s name or show that they are their representatives. There are other ways as well to perform angler phishing attacks through social media.
- Voice Phishing: There are people who trust phone calls more than any online communications. Attackers have created voice phishing for such people. In such attacks, attackers spoof the name of popular brand on an answering machine. Hence, the victim talks to attacker imagining that the call is from a legit service provider.
- In-person Phishing: Attackers use this tactic majorly on organizations. In-person phishing is a super-stealthy attack where the attacker personally impersonates as a reliable entity of the organization. He then infects the organization’s network with the help of malicious software. The person inserts the code inside a company’s system via USB drive or external hard drive. As soon as the drive is attached, it could install a ransomware, a virus, a keystroke logger application or just download vital information.
Cyber-attacks happen only if users ignorantly fall victims to these attack vectors. Unfortunately, 90% of online users fall prey to such attacks. And if you have never encountered a social engineering attack, it’s sheer luck (or you are virtually lifeless).
Therefore, it is necessary to educate users with the help of a systematic training program that encourages the use of an anti-phishing software. More awareness will lead to effective detection of social engineering attacks.