Social engineering describes the use of the knowledge of human psychology to manipulate human behavior. Experts use this term in the context of online interactions where social engineers use confidence tricks to access and gather personal information from the users. We usually cannot classify these actions as traditional cons since the schemes and steps of a con-game are more elaborate and intricate.
Social engineering is merely the art of deceiving individual users into giving up sensitive information that can include profile passwords, account details, and bank information. With enough knowledge of your computer passwords, online habits, and computer firewalls, these engineers can turn your computer into a bot and carry out illegal download/upload activities, other hacks, and incriminating actions. American Tech Pros provides their clients with complete protection from such cyber attacks.
Social engineering is more successful than hacking attempts. It is much easier to exploit the human instinct to trust others than find ways to hack software programs and systems successfully. Think about this – it is much easier to convince someone to give their bank details over the phone than hack into their accounts. Thousands of people fall for this age-old trick every day. Hacking is just too much trouble considering how other methods can be applied to get the same information.
Why do you need professional help with security?
Any security professional can tell you how easy it can be to find out all about your password selections, account details, and spending habits right now over the phone! You can install ten deadbolts, get personal security units and pit bulls to guard your house, but if you let that guy at the door in because he says he is the pizza delivery guy, you become the weakest point in the security fortress.
In any manner of security reinforcement, the ultimate decision making step lies with you. Until and unless you decide to turn off your firewall to visit a site that says, “You have won 1 million dollars and claim it now!” no one can breach your security or get your account details.
This kind of psychological manipulation can include many techniques to gather personal information. Here are the leading social engineering attack techniques that most scammers use today:
Pretexting is very efficient since it uses a framed scenario. That, of course, needs considerable research and setup that gives the team all the information they need to impersonate co-workers, banks, police officers, insurance investigators and tax authorities. Since people not only trust these government officials, but they also tend to fear them for one reason or another, obtaining social security numbers, account numbers and passwords become a child’s play with little leverage. ATP provides all the data you need to distinguish a Pretexting attack from genuine emails from concerned parties.
Private investigators have been using this technique for decades to obtain phone records, banking records, credit card histories and utility records from their targets. Local IT support services do a marvelous job to keep small and medium-sized companies safe from these kinds of attacks. If your business is in New York City, you should look for managed IT support NYC to keep the privacy of your company data and your employees safe and sound.
It is also a dishonest way of obtaining valuable private information. Phishing teams send emails requesting “verification” of bank details, credit card histories, and tax refunds. They usually contain a clause of dire consequences, in case you do not acknowledge the email. The email typically includes a live link to a webpage complete with logos and slogans that seem legit.
This webpage also has requests for the user’s ATM PIN, Bank Account Details, Social Security and Credit Card details. Phishers usually send this kind of email en masse, and they expect at least a fraction of the receivers to respond. Even if 10% of the recipients act as per their instructions, the phisher can make millions by sending similar emails out to 1 million people over time. A classic example of this is the Nigerian Prince scam.
It is very easy to mimic a website in look and navigation. All the attacker needs is a similar array of HTML codes and similar logos that give the impression of authenticity. Therefore, it is easy for people to believe that the legitimate version of the concocted website needs a verification of their account. American Tech Pros can help you understand how to save yourself and your business from deadly phishing attacks.
Spear phishing is when the phisher obtains all the necessary information by sending personalized emails to a few end users. Since it is a highly customized email, the fraudsters expect a high percentage of the recipients to respond to their emails.
Here are a few classic Spear phishing emails that you need to watch out for:
- Breaking news video
- Updating healthcare information
- Security updates and alerts
- Dating site updates, matches in your area, and singles in your area!
- Unusual activity from your account emails
- Delivery attempts and shipment emails
The challenge with these is that they look very authentic, but if you look closely, you will find small variations in spelling, formatting and link structures. Whenever you are in doubt that the emails can be from an authentic website or service, just pick up your phone and give their customer service a call! Without expert help, you will find it difficult to tell an authentic email from a spear phishing email.
Whaling is similar to phishing, but it only targets high profile executives, celebrities, and politicians. Through social engineering, the attackers can obtain personal and corporate information.
The email appears to have come from a trusted source. Since the attackers target and personalize these whaling emails, it is difficult for anyone to predict the nature of these emails. They are often difficult to detect and prevent as compared to general phishing emails. Unless you have expert IT support teams working side by side, it might become challenging to tell a whaling email from a regular service email. That is why you need American Tech Pros helping you make all security decisions.
There are several other techniques of social engineering that enable attackers to get all the information they need to gain complete control over user accounts and devices. Tailgating, water holing, and baiting are other common, but highly effective forms of attacks you need to be aware of. You should always have an experienced IT support by your side to protect your company, your device and your data from such attacks. Check out https://americantechpros.com/ for complete protection from phishing, malware, whaling, and tailgating for personal and commercial usage.