Social engineering attacks arouse fear because they not only exploit technology but also people. Social engineering types can be simple phishing emails, complex cons where attackers gain trust over many months, or anything in between. Criminals often take advantage of both publicly available and stolen information, and may use data from one hack to another.In this article we are trying to cover the ways to prevent social engineering attacks.
Social engineering prevention is everyone’s job
Security tools like encryption help prevent social engineering attacks, but you still need to address the human element. Companies should work towards a collaborative security culture. In this way, workers are empowered to speak up when they see something suspicious. And also, security staff are available to quickly investigate and fix the risks.
A sense of collective responsibility is a strong defense against social engineering attacks. Workers should be encouraged to ask questions, give feedback, and report mistakes without fear of punishment. Same security standards should go for CEOs as entry level workers. Also, we can say they’re the most valuable targets. It’s impossible to police everything that happens in your organization, but you can create a secure and empowered community which is aware and hard-working.
Don’t become a victim
Phishing attacks are prevalent and need only a few users to take the bait for a successful campaign. Therefore, there are methods for protecting yourself. In order to prevent social engineering, you need nothing much more than simply paying attention to the details in front of you. Keep the following in mind to prevent social engineering attacks.
Tips to Remember:
- Slow down: Social engineers often count on their targets to move quickly. Spammers want you to act first and think later. If the message conveys a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure sales tactics be skeptical; never let their urgency influence your careful review.
- Consider the source: You should try to research the facts. A found USB stick isn’t necessarily a good find. It could be loaded with malware, just waiting to infect a computer. And a text or email from your bank isn’t necessarily from your bank. Spoofing a trusted source is relatively easy. Don’t click on links or open attachments from suspicious sources. In this day and age, you may want to consider all sources suspicious. No matter how legitimate that email appears. It’s safer to type a URL into your browser instead of clicking on a link. If the email looks like it is from a company you use, do your own research. Use a search engine to go to the real company’s site, or a phone directory to find their phone number.
- Don’t let a link be in control of where you land: Stay in control by finding the website yourself. For doing this, use a search engine to be sure you land where you intend to land. Hovering over links in email will show the actual URL at the bottom, but a good fake can still steer you wrong.
- Email hijacking is rampant: Hackers, spammers, and social engineers attacks has become prevalent. They aim to take over control of people’s email accounts and other communication accounts. Once they control an email account, they hunt the trust of the person’s contacts. If you aren’t expecting an email with a link or attachment, check with your friend before opening links or downloading. Even when the sender appears to be someone you know.
- Beware of any download: If you don’t know the sender personally AND expect a file from them, downloading anything is a mistake.
- Foreign offers are fake: When you receive an email which is suspicious for you, think before acting. For example an email from a foreign lottery or sweepstakes, money from an unknown relative, or requests to transfer funds from a foreign country for a share of the money. It is guaranteed that they are scam.
Ways to prevent social engineering attacks and protect yourself:
- Reject requests for help or offers of help: Legitimate companies and organizations do not contact you to provide help. If you did not specifically request assistance from the sender, consider any offer of”help” as a scam. Similarly, if you receive a request for help from a charity or organization that you do not have a relationship with, delete it. If you want to give, seek out reputable charitable organizations on your own. In this way you avoid falling for a scam.
- Delete any request for financial information or passwords: If you get asked to reply to a message with personal information, it’s a scam. You should investigate any requests for money, personal information, or any item of value before handing it over. There’s a pretty good chance it’s a scam. Even if it’s not, better to be safe than sorry!
- Your email software can help you: Most email programs can help filter out junk mail, including scams. If you think yours isn’t doing enough, do a quick online search to find out how to change its settings. The goal is to set your spam filters to high to weed out as much junk mail as possible. Just remember to check your spam folder periodically. Do this in order to see if legitimate email has been accidentally trapped there.
- Install an antivirus software or a security suite: Secure your device by installing antivirus software such as Norton Security. You should always keep that software up to date. Also, make sure your computer and other devices are running the latest versions of their operating software. If possible, set the operating systems to update automatically. If your device doesn’t automatically update, manually update it. You can do it whenever you receive a notice to do so. Having the latest versions of these software applications on your devices will help ensure they’re prepared for the most recent security threats.
Social engineering is everywhere, online and offline. Your best defense against these kinds of attacks is to educate yourself. So that you’re aware of the risks and you will stay alert.