Social Engineering Attack  What is it? + How to protect ourselves ▷ 2020

When we hear the term Social engineering, the first thing we usually associate it with is with a branch of the Political Sciences. However, it is also intrinsically linked to Computer Security, and in this post we are going to show you.

Every Internet user should worry about learning to protect your assets, and there is no better way to do it than knowing the various ways in which cybercriminals can affect them, being the Malicious Social Engineering one of the most used methods for attacks.

The best protection system is to be well informed. Therefore, we invite you to read the following content, in which we will tell you what it is, the most used methods and the way you can protect yourself before the attempts of this type of attacks.

What is a social engineering attack and what is its intention?

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Malicious Social Engineering is known as a method of criminal action, which consists of cheat or psychologically manipulate to a person, to get that person to do things according to what the perpetrator wants, which can have various purposes. When we transfer this to the context of Computer Security, it should be clear that a negative Social Engineering action is carried out by cybercriminals, with the intention of misleading users.

For these to yield sensitive information which will later be used to fraud, or illegally access the victim’s computers. Various studies show that this attack modality usually achieves a high degree of effectivenessgiven that cybercriminals are targeting the weakest link of the security chain of the technological infrastructure, which is none other than the user.

To do this successfully, the attacker often follows up to know the routine of the potential victim, taking note of each movement and then establishing contact to gain confidence, and then start a game of manipulation that will lead you to obtain as much information about the systems as possible. Each of us must pay attention not to be the victim of an attack, since cases abound where criminals have been successful in their implementation.

They subsequently go to the stage of extortion, fraud and identity theft through data theft. Equally, there are many testimonies that corroborate damages to companies of various sizes, all because some employee middle or high rank with access to sensitive and privileged information, has been manipulated by a social engineer to access it, after which they can move on to introduce any type of malware in the company’s systems.

To complete the above about the scope of a Social Engineering attack in the business field, we must say that many actions of industrial espionage have been successful by this method. Another of the groups where cybercriminals tend to focus is on people who are in charge of managing servers that provide external services, as in the case of dedicated servers, and Internet network administrators, since for them they are a real mine from which they can extract any amount of data.

What are the different types of social engineering attacks in computing?

The most IT Security specialists agree that each attack by Social Engineering It can be said that it is sui generis, since when it is based on the human interaction It implies recognizing that each person is unique and not all are manipulable in the same way. However, something that can be typified are the various methods or techniques used to carry out the attack.

That is why you should pay attention to some of them, like the ones we show you below:

Phishing

The emails have become a indispensable element in the arsenal of social engineers, since despite countless warnings to users in relation to this, there can always be someone who takes the bait. In itself it is the sending of mass or individual emails, in which the attacker impersonates someone other than himself, always pursuing the purpose of deceiving the recipient, to make him carry out actions that go from logging on to a malware-infected page.

The effectiveness of the method, which is incredibly high, is based on the skill of the attacker, since he must make the message as similar as possible to a sender with whom the recipient has established Trust relationships. When a Social Engineering attacker by means of Phishing targets a major corporation, usually spends time tracking and crafting the message to send to the targeted user, which is often someone who occupies a key position in the organization.

The above brings up what is known as email fraud from CEO, which is when the criminals have achieved exploit a vulnerability or infection in the email account of a senior executive, and they only wait for the opportune moment to impersonate him and issue orders to subordinates in that way, usually making transfers to the attackers’ bank accounts.

Vishing

We can say that this methodology is one of the ways classical to carry out a Social Engineering attack, since for many years it has been used by attackers to manipulate people and extract information about their credit cards, bank accounts and other information.

The offender carries it out in two main ways, but always with the phone as a tool to achieve its goals, making random calls, or previously planned, posing as pollsters or officials of a banking institution.

Baiting

As a rule we are very prone to curiosity. That is well known to attackers, so sometimes They use this almost infallible formula to infect computer equipment. To achieve this, they usually use storage of information removable, for example a pendrive.

Which they leave in places that receive many visits, and even in a desk of a company that they have visited. Of course, the device has previously been poisoned with some malicious program, and once the user introduces it to their computer innocently will download said software, opening an access to the hacker so that he steals all kinds of information.

Quid pro quo

In this case the attacker certainly need to be in luck, since the method usually involves making random calls to companies posing as someone from a Technical assistance service, offering to solve any problem in that area.

If you get it right, the next thing is to convince your interlocutor to provide you with a series of data to get better informed to the company. The latter will never happen, but it is possible that the person who attended you provided enough material to attempt to carry out an attack.

Social networks

As users of social networks, we’ve all come across pop-up messages that offer us some products or services for free, and to access them they make us see that it is necessary to visit a website. Well, in many cases once we visit the aforementioned site they begin to request information that at first glance it seems harmless, but deep down what they are doing is exploiting the good faith of users for malicious purposes.

Learn how to protect yourself from social engineering attacks to keep your information safe

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As you have already seen and understood, the presence of the human factor, especially business level, can do difficult, although not impossible, to have everything under control to prevent a Social Engineering attack. However, it is not a question of resigning yourself to being exposed to one of these attacks at some point.

To help you, here are some tips, which we are sure will help you increase the levels of security in your organization:

Seek a good selection of human talent

We are worth nothing protect the vulnerabilities present on the attack surface of our system, if we do not accompany this with making sure as much as possible we have suitable personnel in terms of their personal integrity. For this, it will be necessary to be thoroughly employed in the task of making the best follow-up to the candidates fingerprint, especially when they aspire to occupy a key position in the organization chart.

We know that it is not an infallible method, but there is always the possibility of finding some interesting data regarding the background and social customs of each candidate, which helps to know if they are people prone to blackmail. Also, never lose sight of that many times Social Engineering attacks are carried out with the complicity of an employee of conscious way.

Establish data classification procedures

This implies constantly keeping track of each information about the company that you have posted publicly on the Internet, since it is usually one of the channels used by social engineers to study their victims.

Additionally, you must make sure to unequivocally establish what type of information your employees can access, of course taking into account the level of each one within the organization. It is something very effective, since while less information Provided a person, to the same degree can provide it to third parties voluntarily or involuntarily.

Implement a physical security system

Besides the installation of cameras in as many places as possible within the facility, you must establish restricted access areas so that staff only travel where they are allowed. In the same sense, it is advisable to take adequate measures so that your vendors know how far they can travel within the facilities.

Don’t forget to take personal precautions

They are many the cases in which those responsible, or even business owners, strive to carry out an adequate security awareness of the personnel under their charge, and at the same time they forget that they themselves are part of the famous link of weakness.

In view of that, we must remind you that you too you are obliged to take the proper safety precautions from your position. Questions like do not open suspicious emails, lock the computer when you are not using it or do not attend offers made by strangersThese are issues that you must internalize very well.

Since they will help you maintain an adequate level of security in your corporate or personal data. And never forget that, as we have already said at the beginning, information is the best defense against Social Engineering attacks, so we invite you to attend more events dedicated to the topic that your time allows, inviting your trusted employees to do the same to the same extent.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will surely be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

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