The 10 Most Powerful Cyber Nations in the World
Nations, organizations, and sometimes even individuals continuously attempt to wage cyberwarfare against their opponents
Social engineering is the act of taking advantage of human mistakes to gain access to sensitive data or perform malicious activity.
Social engineering is focused on exploiting human errors. Psychological manipulation is the main activity attackers perform to launch social engineering attacks. Social engineering attacks are different from traditional cyber security attacks but can lead to notorious cyber-attacks.
To best describe what social engineering is, let us provide you with a simple example. You have the best cyber security system installed to protect the communication of your business. Alice is your network administrator who controls all the network administration-related queries. While working in the office, Alice received an email offering her a gift voucher of her most favorite brand and Alice clicked the link in the email to apply for a voucher. The link Alice has just clicked can be a malicious link from an attacker, which can provide access to the Alice system to control the network of your company. So, the attacker psychologically tricked Alice, targeted human greed, and gained access to her company's internal network.
It only takes a crying baby and a phone call to launch a social engineering attack, watch this video about how a lady used a fake crying baby sound and a phone call to launch a social engineering attack.
There are several techniques cybercriminals use to launch a social engineering attack. These techniques include:
Social engineering is the building block of most of the cyber-attacks in the world. Especially when it comes to companies. A report from Barracuda, a cyber security company, stated that an average organization is targeted by 700 social engineering attacks in a year. Key findings of the report can be seen in the picture below:
Social engineering is a serious threat to businesses because the way it works is different than traditional cyber security attacks. A company has spent thousands of dollars for its cyber security and one successful social engineering attack may break all the cyber defense of the company.
Social engineering can cause the following serious problems for a business:
Social engineering threats are not only limited to the above-mentioned problems. Social engineering can be the first step in launching a massive cyber-attack for a company.
Most specifically, small & medium businesses (SMB) are highly vulnerable to social engineering attacks. SMB’s have limited budgets which is why they are not capable enough to spend money in educating their employees about what social engineering is or make the use of sophisticated cyber defense systems.
With the passage of time and an increase in social engineering attacks, various prevention mechanisms have been introduced. Following prevention strategies can help an organization to defend against social engineering attacks.
Top of the list prevention strategy of all time is awareness of social engineering. Organizations need to educate their employees about social engineering attacks. Most organizations are using periodic training to educate their employees about social engineering attacks.
Build strong security policies about who and how someone can gain access to a particular area virtually or physically (like server rooms etc.). Always test and improve the policies according to the need of time. Exercise these policies monthly for best performance outcomes.
Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention systems can be helpful to defend against social engineering attacks. IDS/IPS systems can trigger alarms on suspicious activities going on in the company network.
Always make use of endpoint protection and antivirus software and scan every physical device before opening it in the system to avoid Baiting and other social engineering attacks
Encrypt all your sensitive data and keep the encryption key in a secure way. If an attacker gains access to your system using social engineering, they will not be able to even understand your sensitive information.
There has been a hike in social engineering attacks in the last two years. Social engineering attacks are difficult to defend because they are not like traditional cyber-attacks. The success of these attacks depends on the mistakes of humans. These attacks have caused millions and billions of dollars to the companies, most precisely an average data breach costs US SMBs more than $9 million USD.
Companies must educate their employees about social engineering and secondly, they must adopt policies and preventions systems.