How to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks

31 Aug ยท 6 min read

How to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks

Most businesses are aware of cyber-attacks and have made significant investments in security measures to mitigate security risks. Even with all of that, there is still a human element in the digital world. Attackers are exploiting human flaws in businesses to circumvent the security layer. A social engineering attack involves hacking a human.

Social engineering attacks have a long history, dating back to computers and the internet. However, there is no need to go so far back to find examples of the most successful social engineering attacks. Watering hole websites, phishing scams, real-world baiting, whaling attacks, pretexting, and quid pro quo attacks are all examples of social engineering threats.

While social engineering security threats will never go away, they can be greatly mitigated by taking proactive steps to avoid social engineering attacks.

How to Protect Yourself from Social Engineering Attacks

Knowing how to spot social engineering attacks is the best way to avoid them. It can be difficult to untangle yourself once you've become entangled in a social engineer's web. To practice good social engineering prevention, you don't need to be a tech expert; simply use your intuition and good old-fashioned common sense.

Assess the source

Take a moment to consider where the communication is coming from; don't blindly trust it. You find a USB drive on your desk with no thought about what it is. A phone call out of the blue informs you that you have inherited $5 million. An email from your CEO requesting a slew of information on specific employees? All of these things sound suspicious, and they should be.

It is not difficult to verify the source. Examine the email header, for example, and compare it to valid emails from the same sender. Examine where the links lead - spoofed hyperlinks are easy to spot by hovering your cursor over them (but don't click the link!) Check the spelling: banks have entire teams of qualified people dedicated to creating customer communications, so an email with obvious spelling errors is most likely a forgery.

If in doubt, go to the official website and contact an official representative, who will be able to confirm whether the email/message is genuine or not.

Security Awareness Education

One of the most effective ways to defend against social engineering attacks is to ensure that your organization's employees understand how cybercriminals operate. Because social engineering is based on exploiting flaws in human behavior, developing a comprehensive security awareness training program is critical in defending your organization and its employees.

Phishing, for example, is a popular social engineering tactic that typically takes the form of an email that encourages the recipient to click on a link or download a file that grants the attacker access to a computer or network system in the organization.

A successful phishing campaign preys on a victim's inability to recognize certain red flags, such as a spoof email address or hyperlink; teaching staff members about these main predictors can help them conveniently identify and avoid social engineering threats such as Phishing.

Maintain Constant Monitoring of Critical Systems

Make sure your sensitive information-containing system is supervised 24 hours each day, seven days each week. Definite exploiting techniques, such as Trojans, quite often rely on a vulnerable web application. By inspecting both internal and external systems, web application scanning can assist you in identifying vulnerabilities in your system.

Moreover, at least once per year, you should perform a social engineering engagement to ascertain whether your workers are exposed to the risks of social engineering. Fake domains, if discovered, can be deleted immediately to avoid online copyright violations.

Request identification

Bypassing security to enter a building while carrying a large box or an armful of files is one of the simplest social engineering attacks. After all, someone will hold the door open for you. Don't be taken in by this. Always request identification.

The same is true for other approaches. Checking the caller's name and phone number, or asking, "Who do you report to?" should be the default reaction to data requests.

Then, before disclosing any private or personal information, simply consult the organization's chart or phone directory. If you don't know the person requesting the information and still don't feel comfortable providing it, tell them you need to double-check with someone else and will get back to them.

Examine the SSL Certificate

Encrypting data, emails, and communication ensures that hackers cannot access the information contained within even if they intercept your communication. These are managed and accomplished through the acquisition of SSL certificates from reputed and reliable authorities.

Besides that, any webpage that demands sensitive data from you should always be double-checked. Analyze the URLs to make sure the legitimacy of the website. URLs that start with https:// are properly secured and trusted. Websites that begin with http:// don't offer a secure connection.

Enable the Spam Filter

Activate spam filters and block social engineering security threats perps. Spam filters are essential for protecting your mailboxes from attacks of social engineering.

Spam filters are provided by almost every email service provider and are used to hold email messages that are considered suspicious. With spam features, you can easily categorize emails and avoid the dreadful task of identifying suspicious emails.

Examine and adapt security patches

Cybercriminals are generally looking for flaws in your organization's application, software, or systems to gain unauthorized access to your data. As a safety measure, maintain your security fixes up to date, as well as your internet browser and devices at the most recent versions.

This is because companies release security patches in response to discovering security flaws. Maintaining your systems with the most recent release reduces the possibility of cyber-attacks while also ensuring a cyber-resilient environment.

Secure The Devices

It is also critical to secure devices so that a successful social engineering attack is limited in its scope. The fundamental principles are the same whether you're talking about a smartphone, a basic home network, or a large enterprise system.

  • Update your anti-malware and anti-virus software. This can help prevent malware from being installed via phishing emails. To keep your network and data secure, use a package like Kaspersky's Antivirus., Norton 360 Deluxe, Vipre, Webroot, etc.
  • Keep software and firmware of your organization up to date, especially security patches.
  • Don't run your phone, network, or PC in administrator mode. Even if a social engineering attack obtains your user password for your 'user' account, it will not allow them to reconfigure or install software on your system.
  • Use two-factor authentication for critical accounts so that simply knowing your password isn't enough to gain access. This could include using voice recognition, a security device, fingerprinting, or SMS confirmation codes.
  • If you have recently given the important passwords of your organizations to an account and believe you have been 'engineered,' change your password immediately.

Final Thoughts

The dangers of social engineering threats are growing by the day, and they are now one of the most serious cyber threats to businesses of all sizes. To prevent social engineering attacks, you should arm your company with adequate defense measures.
Ascertain that your company has methods in place to detect security incidents quickly, monitor what is happening, and alert your security team so that they can take immediate action.

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