How to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks?

31 Aug ยท 5 min read

How to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks?

Organizations encounter an astounding 700+ social engineering attacks each year. Given that there are roughly 260 workdays in a year, that equates to about 2.7 attacks each day. 

Moreover, during the next five years, expenditures associated with cybercrime are predicted to increase by 15% yearly, reaching $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.

Attackers are using human weaknesses in enterprises as a way to get beyond the security layer. Hacking into a person is part of a social engineering attack. Social engineering threats include whaling attacks, pretexting, quid pro quo attacks, watering hole websites, phishing scams, and real-world baiting.

Although social engineering security threats will always exist, they can be significantly reduced by proactively preventing social engineering assaults.

7 Ways to Protect Yourself from Social Engineering Attacks

The most straightforward approach to avoid social engineering attacks is to know how to recognize them. Once you've become caught in a social engineer's web, it might be challenging to escape. You don't need to be a tech specialist to perform good social engineering prevention; use your common sense and intuition.

Investigate the Source

Think about where the communication comes from; don't accept it at face value. You don't give the USB drive on your desk a second thought when you find it there. You receive an unexpected phone call telling you you have inherited $10 million. Your CEO sent you an email asking for many details about particular employees. These all seem suspect, and rightfully so.

It is easy to verify the source. You can do it in the following ways:

  • Look over the email header and compare it with legitimate emails from the same sender.
  • Look at the links' destinations; fake hyperlinks appear when you hover your cursor over them (but don't click them!).
  • Check the spelling before you send anything; banks have teams of professionals solely responsible for writing client communications.

If in doubt, visit the official website and get in touch with a professional who can verify whether the email or message is legitimate.

Promote Security Awareness Education

Making sure your organization's staff knows how cybercriminals operate is one of the best strategies to guard against social engineering assaults. A thorough security awareness training program must be created to protect your business and its employees against social engineering. Social engineering relies on exploiting weaknesses in human behavior.

One common social engineering technique is phishing, which often takes the form of an email encouraging the receiver to click a link or download a file that gives the attacker access to a computer or network system within the company.

Teaching staff members about these key predictors can help them quickly notice and prevent social engineering risks like phishing, which affect a victim's failure to recognize red flags, such as a counterfeit email address or URL.

Maintain Continuous Monitoring of Critical Systems

Ensure your system containing critical information is monitored around the clock, seven days a week. Specific exploitation methods, like Trojans, frequently rely on a weak web application. Web application scanning can help you find your system's weaknesses by evaluating internal and external systems.

Moreover, it would be best if you did a social engineering engagement at least once a year to see whether your employees are exposed to social engineering risks. If fake domains are found, they should be destroyed soon to prevent infringement of internet copyright.

Request Identification

One of the most straightforward social engineering attacks is to enter a place without going through security while carrying a bulky box or a stack of documents. The door will be held open for you after all. Don't fall for this trick. Demand identification at all times.

For alternative strategies, the same holds true. When someone requests data, the default response should be to check their name and phone number or to inquire as to "Who do you report to?"

Then, review the organization's organizational chart or phone directory before giving any sensitive or personal information. Tell the person asking for the information that you need to double-check with someone else, and you will get back to them if you don't know them but still don't feel comfortable sharing it.

Assess the SSL Certificate

Encrypting data, emails, and other communication forms ensures that even if hackers intercept your conversation, they cannot access the information contained therein. These are controlled and completed by purchasing SSL certificates from reputable and trustworthy sources.

Along with that, you should always double-check any website that requests that you provide critical information. Check the website's validity by analyzing the URLs. URLs with an https:// prefix are legitimate and trusted. Secure connections are not available for websites that start with http://.

Enable the Spam Filter

Block social engineering security threats by turning on spam filters. Your mailboxes must be protected from social engineering assaults using spam filters.

Almost all email service providers have spam filters, which are used to store emails that are deemed questionable. With spam features, you can quickly classify emails and save yourself from having to find suspicious emails.

Keep the Devices Secured

Device security is essential for limiting the reach of a successful social engineering assault. Whether discussing a smartphone, a simple home network, or a massive enterprise system, the core concepts remain the same.

Update your antivirus and anti-malware programs. This can lessen the chance that phishing emails will install malware. Use a package like Kaspersky's Antivirus, Norton 360 Deluxe, Vipre, Webroot, etc., to maintain your network and data security.

Keep your company's software and firmware up to date, such as security patches. Don't use administrator mode on your computer, network, or phone. Even if a social engineering attack manages to get hold of your user password for your "user" account, it will be impossible for them to change the configuration of your machine or add new software.

Use two-factor authentication for essential accounts so that access can't be obtained just by knowing your password. This can entail fingerprinting, voice recognition, a security device, or SMS confirmation codes.

If you recently shared your businesses' strong passwords with an account and suspect you have been "engineered," change your password immediately.

Final Thoughts

Social engineering threats are currently one of the most severe cyber threats to enterprises of all sizes, and their risks are rising daily. You should provide your business with sufficient defenses to thwart social engineering attacks. Make sure your organization has procedures to swiftly identify security incidents, keep track of what's happening, and notify your security team so they can take fast action.

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