A social engineering attack is yet another attempt from hackers and scammers to steal your sensitive information for profit. They are often clever ways to get you to hand over your data without you even realizing that something is wrong.
With that said, social engineering attacks are on the rise. So much so that you may not even be aware of it. They will come at you from all sides, whether by email or text message. If there’s a way for them to hack you, they’ll use it to their advantage.
So, what exactly is a social engineering attack?
A social engineering attack usually uses some kind of psychological trickery to get people or employees to hand over private or sensitive information. Most of the time, it is done by sending an email or other communication that makes the victim think they need to act quickly, giving up important information, or clicking on a link that is dangerous. . It also makes them open a malicious file.
Now that we understand the general concept better let’s dive into the different types of social engineering attacks taking the world by storm. The following list is an assorted collection of the more common terms to be aware of.
Terms to know: “Social engineering attack” edition:
Phishing. Phishing emails get sent to many people at random in the hope that only a few would respond. For example, an email from a reputable delivery firm may state, “Your parcel has been delayed. Go here for additional information.” However, if you click on the link, you risk infecting your computer with malware. You may also visit a bogus website where you are told to provide your name, address, and Social Security number to obtain money. That information could end up on the black market, used for fraudulent purposes, or stolen so that it may be used by someone else.
Spear Phishing. These types of scams seem tailor-made almost. Criminals use social media and other public information to find a person in an organization and then make a fake email for that person, so they can get money from them.
Whaling. This is a phishing attempt that masquerades as a legitimate email and targets senior executives. Whaling is a social engineering-based digital fraud that entices victims to do a secondary action, such as initiating a wire transfer of funds.
Pre-texting. Pretexting is a method of fabricating a scenario to persuade victims to reveal information they should not. Pretexting commonly targets businesses that keep client information, such as banks, credit card firms, utility companies, and transportation. Pre-texters impersonate clients to obtain information from businesses, mainly over the phone.
Quid Pro Quo Attack. A quid pro quo attack is a low-level social engineering-based hacking. An example would be if an attacker contacts your phone, posing as a technical assistance person. They will give you help, but only if you’re having trouble. Cybercriminals sometimes try to scare people into paying for “removal” service that doesn’t really work.
But wait, there’s more…
Rogue software. This is anti-virus software, often known as rogue anti-virus software. It is a type of malware that claims to have discovered an infection on the victim’s computer.
Scareware. This kind of malware uses pop-up security alerts and other social engineering tricks to get you to pay for phony help. . Scareware can be harmless bloatware or malware.
Smishing. Smishing (also known as SMiShing) is a phishing assault that uses SMS messages to spread malware. Would-be victims receive bogus SMS messages, which they respond to directly or visit a phishing website.
Vishing. A phone scam that combines the words “voice” and “phishing”. Its purpose is to trick you into sharing personal information. Vishing is a type of phishing, any type of message that appears to be from a trustworthy source but isn’t, such as an email, text, phone call, or direct-chat message. The purpose is to steal money or someone’s identity.
Watering hole attacks. An attacker infects websites often visited by members of a targeted group to infect a computer used by a member of said group. This occurs when they visit the infected website.
Invoice scams. In an invoicing scam, fake invoices are sent out to get money or to get a victim to enter their credentials into a fake login screen.
How do I prevent myself from becoming a victim of a social engineering attack?
- Don’t open emails and attachments from unknown sources
- Use multi-factor authentication when available
- Be aware of offers that seem too good to be true
- Keep your anti-virus software up to date