Nowadays, large businesses and corporations handle more customer data than ever before. Whether you work in a sensitive field like healthcare or finance or collect customers’ mailing addresses so you can send them coupons, the fact remains that it’s vital to protect your customer’s data. Unfortunately, data breaches are becoming more common, as high-profile attacks lead to breaches in privacy and a loss of consumer confidence. As such, you must have a way to protect your company from these sorts of malicious attacks from hackers.
Hackers are getting more and more clever about their tactics to gain access to personal information, passwords, and even data on hard drives. For example, while malware and phishing practices are still quite common among hackers, a new form of a hacker, known as a social engineer, uses deceptive and manipulative tactics to gain access to passwords and other vital data by adding a psychological component to these sorts of practices. Read on to learn more about some of the most common strategies a social engineering attack will employ, as well as how to better protect your employees and customers from deceptive social engineering attacks.
How does a social engineering attack target sensitive information?
You might be wondering to yourself, “What is a common method used in social engineering?” One of the commonalities between all kinds of social engineering hacks focuses on deception from a psychological standpoint. Social engineers manipulate unsuspecting users into divulging passwords and other sensitive information by pretending to be an official who requires sensitive information to screen for a phishing attack. Phishing emails have gotten even more sophisticated in recent years, particularly due to widespread confusion around COVID-19 relief and vaccinations. Another common phishing email tactic is to spoof a domain and collect confidential information by posing as a member of the IRS. Sometimes, phishing schemes don’t involve email attachments but instead happen through a mobile app or even a phone call.
Even using the personal cloud instead of a typical hard drive for backups can be used against you. Cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive can be spoofed asking for your password only to result in your actual accounts for these personal cloud services being compromised. Some scams invite you to access a Dropbox link or download an attachment only for it to result in a malware attack. In fact, with more people trusting the internet with their sensitive data, the bait offered by these sorts of services make anyone with an internet connection more likely to be susceptible to this sort of social engineering technique since using cloud storage or social media will automatically expose you to more scam attempts.
What can you or your company do to protect itself from social engineering attacks?
Obviously, you want to do everything in your power to shore up any vulnerabilities in your business practice or personal life if you’re looking to stave off social engineering attempts. However, the best cybersecurity strategy depends on various factors, from what operating system you have to if you connect your smartphone to your home network or a public network when you use WiFi. It’s never a bad idea to read up on the latest social engineering tactics every month or two since social engineering is constantly evolving.
This is especially true if you’re a company that deals with sensitive information such as social security numbers. That being said, on a personal level, it may be a good idea to ensure that your smart TV and other internet-enabled devices like security cameras don’t put you at risk for remote access either. Even finding the best personal cloud storage device that fits your cybersecurity needs can go a long way in continuing to protect yourself from different types of attacks.