Cyber Security News

How To Spot (And Avoid) Social Engineering Tactics

What is social engineering?

Social engineering is a tactic that cybercriminals use to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information or taking actions that could harm their cyber security.

Social engineering tactics often prey on people's emotions, curiosity, or desire to help others. The goal is to manipulate them into doing something they wouldn't normally do, such as clicking on a malicious link or divulging sensitive information.

In this article, we will discuss why you should be wary of social engineering tactics and how to avoid them.

Understanding Social Engineering Tactics

Social engineering tactics come in many forms, but they all share a common goal: to manipulate people into doing something that could compromise their cyber security.

Some examples of social engineering tactics include:

  1. Phishing Emails & SMS: Cybercriminals send emails that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or social media site. These emails contain a link that takes the recipient to a fake website where they are asked to enter their login credentials.
  2. Pretexting: The attacker pretends to be someone else, such as an IT support technician, to gain access to sensitive information.
  3. Baiting: Cybercriminals leave a USB drive or other storage device in a public place, hoping that someone will pick it up and insert it into their computer, infecting it with malware.
  4. Scareware: The attacker uses scare tactics to convince the victim that their computer is infected with malware and they need to download a program to fix it, which is actually malware itself.

Steps to Avoid Social Engineering Tactics

Now that we've discussed some common social engineering tactics, let's look at steps you can take to avoid falling victim to them.


Be Suspicious Of Unsolicited Emails And Phone Calls

One of the most important steps in avoiding social engineering tactics is to be suspicious of unsolicited emails and phone calls.

If you receive an email or phone call from someone you don't know or a company you're not familiar with, be cautious. Don't click on any links or download any attachments until you can verify that the email or call is legitimate.


Verify The Identity Of The Person Or Company

If in doubt, give 'em a shout!

If you receive an email or phone call from someone claiming to be from a company you're familiar with, verify their identity. Call the company's customer service number or visit their website to confirm that the person is who they say they are.

Note: Always search for the number you plan to call - do not use a number from within the communication that you're suspicious about as that too could be part of the scam.


Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is a cybersecurity measure that requires you to provide two forms of identification to access an account. This could be a password and a verification code sent to your phone.

Using two-factor authentication can help prevent cybercriminals from accessing your accounts, even if they have your password.


Keep Your Software Up To Date

Keeping your software up to date is an important step in protecting yourself from social engineering tactics.

Software updates often include security patches that address vulnerabilities that cybercriminals could exploit.


Use Antivirus Software

Antivirus software can help detect and remove malware from your computer. Make sure you have antivirus software installed and keep it up to date.

Social engineering tactics are a serious threat to your cybersecurity. Cybercriminals use these tactics to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information or taking actions that could harm their cyber security.

By being suspicious of unsolicited emails and phone calls, verifying the identity of the person or company, using two-factor authentication, keeping your software up to date, and using antivirus software, you can help protect yourself from social engineering tactics.

Stay vigilant and always be cautious when interacting with people or companies you're not familiar with.