Aside from your customers, your employees are the most important part of your company. Protecting them is as essential to your business as ensuring your customers’ satisfaction. And whether you know it or not, cyber criminals are one of the biggest threats to your team members.
Over the decades, cybercrime has become a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s so popular and lucrative that experienced cybercriminals offer cybercrime as a service (CaaS). Now, hackers are using social engineering to fool employees into giving up valuable personal and company information. Continue reading to learn more about social engineering and what you can do to protect yourself and your company.
What is social engineering?
Of all the cyberattacks hackers have used to infiltrate networks, social engineering might be the most insidious. It’s a process by which hackers generate a false sense of trust between themselves and their unsuspecting victims. They make contact via email, social media, a text message, or even a phone call and start building a relationship that could ultimately cost your company a fortune.
If the cybercriminal can foster trust between themself and your employee, they’ll attempt to bait them into giving the hacker access to your company’s data and your employee’s personal information. Scammers have developed several effective social engineering techniques and used the sensitive data they’ve stolen to enrich themselves and bleed companies dry.
Social engineering examples include, but are not limited to, phishing attacks, quid pro quo attacks, malicious websites, malware, and other types of attacks to skirt your cybersecurity systems and play on human psychology. Such attacks have led to data breaches that have crippled companies across the United States, and scammers show no signs of quitting.
What is a phishing attack?
One of the oldest new tricks in the cybercriminal handbook is phishing. Phishing is when hackers pretend to be someone of reputation or importance. Their most common tactic is to lure you into believing they have a can’t-miss opportunity or get rich quick via the blessings of a Nigerian prince.
Some phishers will even pretend to be psychics, spiritual advisors, or members of secret esoteric societies. What you don’t know is that they’ve been monitoring your online activities to learn what you’re into and so they can entice you with the things you most desire. They may contact you through a phone call, or you might even accidentally initiate contact with one of them on social media.
What is a quid pro quo attack?
If you paid the slightest bit of attention to politics in 2019, then the chances are that you heard the Latin phrase quid pro quo, which translates to a favor for a favor. A quid pro quo attack is one in which a cybercriminal promises a favor‚Äîusually in the form of a service‚Äî in return for personal information such as a social security number or bank account information. You may be wondering who would go for such a scam, but it’s one of the most effective social engineering tactics out there.
What are malicious websites?
Unfortunately, some of the top web developers on the planet are also hackers who would just as soon rob your company blind as build you a website. Bad guys pose as web developers and guide people to websites that install malware onto their systems that give hackers complete access to your company’s IT system. An innocent-looking ad promoting petite work clothes could lead to your company’s downfall.
What is pretexting?
One of the best ways to get someone to make a mistake online is to create a false sense of urgency that makes them feel like they have to act immediately to avoid trouble. Imposters pretend to be IT specialists, financial advisors, and even IRS agents with the goal of getting people to panic and give up access to their network. The name of this kind of attack is pretexting, and hackers use it to install ransomware and get personal information from unwitting accomplices.
The internet can be a dangerous place for unsuspecting users with low-security awareness. Make sure to keep all of your employees well aware of what a phishing campaign looks like, how to recognize malicious websites that may have malware programmed into its webpage, and how to contact law enforcement if the worst has happened. Whatever you do, make sure no one at your company gives away usernames or any other sensitive information.