Social engineering is a broad term that is used to define a range of malicious activities that majorly rely on human interaction. These attacks often involve tricking people into breaking standard security protocols. The success of social engineering attacks is dependent on the attacker’s ability to manipulate the victim into performing certain actions or providing confidential information to the attacker. Social engineering attacks differ from traditional attacks as they can be non-technical and don’t necessarily require the attackers to exploit or compromise software or a network.
The best way to protect an organization from social engineering attacks is to educate the employees about different types of social engineering attacks. Here is a list of most common types of social engineering attacks –
- Baiting: A baiting attack is conducted by the attackers by leaving a bait such as a flash drive, USB, or CD at a place, where it is likely to be found by an employee. The device is loaded with malicious software. The success of such attacks depends upon the notion that the person who finds the compromised device will plug it to a system. When the device is plugged to a system, the malware is installed. Once installed, the malware allows the attacker to gain access to the victim’s system.
- Phishing: It is one of the most common social engineering attacks. The attack involves the exchange of fraudulent communication with the victim. The communication may be in form of emails, text messages, chats, or spoofed websites. The communications may be disguised as a letter from a financial institution, charity, employment website, etc. The communication contains a link and the victim is lured to click on the link to install a malware on his device. In other form of phishing attacks, the link may be used to collect victim’s personal, financial or business information.
- Pretexting: This type of attack occurs when the attacker fabricates a situation that forces the victim to provide access to sensitive data or a protected system. Some common examples of pretexting attacks are the attacker pretending to require financial details of the victim to validate victim’s identity or the scammer posing as a trusted person such as IT employee to gain victim’s login details.
- Quid Pro Quo: In such attacks, the scammer requests sensitive data from the victim in exchange for a desirable compensation. For example, the scammer may set up a form asking the users to fill in their information in exchange for a free gift.
For more information on types of social engineering attacks, contact Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.