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How to Protect Your Company from Social Engineering Attacks

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Over the years, social engineering attacks on businesses have gotten more notorious. It has become even more advanced. Cybercrime will not be put on hold any time soon. As a result, hackers have had to get more inventive in their attempts to trick employees and others into disclosing their personal information. It’s time for companies like yours to perform proper research and use the necessary tools to stay ahead of scammers. 

What Is Social Engineering? 

Social engineering is a form of cyberattack where hackers utilize psychological manipulation to trick unwitting victims into making security blunders and handing over their personal data. Social engineering is the manipulation of human emotions like greed, fear, rage, curiosity, etc., to get victims to click on harmful URLs or participate in physical tailgaters. 

The purpose of social engineering attackers is one of two things: 

  • They want to disrupt a company’s operation by tampering with its data. 
  • They want to steal data and/or money. 

When posing as IT helpdesk staff, for example, an intruder could act as a user and ask for personal information such as a user name and password. The fact that so many individuals are willing to give over their personal information, especially if it appears to be coming from a reputable representative, is astonishing. Essentially, social engineering is the use of deception to persuade others to give up their personal information or data to gain access to it. 

Social Engineering Attacks: Recognizing the Telltale Signs 

Understanding the warning signs and avoiding attacks are two of the greatest strategies to protect your company from social engineering attacks. Some of the indicators that you should be on the lookout for include: 

  • Requesting emergency help. 
  • Asking for proof of your identity. 
  • Excessively friendly speech. 
  • An excessive focus on specifics. 
  • Using offerings that sound too good to be true in an attempt to lure customers in. 
  • Threatening strict reprimands if their demands are not met. 

How To Prevent Social Engineering Attacks 

1. Multi-Factor Authentication 

One factor isn’t enough to keep your account safe, so don’t rely on just one. The password, of course, provides protection, but we’ve come to recognize that they’re insufficient on their own. So that someone else can guess your password and gain access to your accounts more easily.  Access to the passwords can be gained by using social engineering techniques. Security questions, biometric access, and OTP codes are all examples of multi-factor authentication. 

2. Implement Next-Gen Cloud-Based WAF 

The next generation of web application cloud-based firewalls is specifically designed to offer optimal security against social engineering assaults, even if you already use one in your business. Unlike the classic WAF, the online WAF is a completely different beast. A web application or website can be continuously monitored by AppTrana for unusual activity or misbehavior. Social engineering assaults rely on human error, but the software will block them and notify you of any attempted malware installations. One of the greatest strategies to prevent social engineering attacks and any possible penetration is to use risk-based WAF. 

3. Make Effective Use Of A Spam Filter 

Your email program may need to be tweaked to remove more spam or flag questionable emails if it isn’t doing so already. The best spam filters use a variety of facts to identify spam emails. Scammers use a variety of techniques to identify potentially harmful files and links. They can use tools like a blacklist or a sender ID analyzer that can look for red flags in messages. You are probably thinking if this is something that could happen. The truth is, if you take the time to think about the issue and see if it’s believable, you’ll be able to tell many social engineering attacks from actual ones. 

4. Inspect Your Computer For An SSL Certificate. 

Hackers can’t access information included in encrypted data, emails, or communication, regardless of how it’s intercepted by a third party. This can be done by purchasing SSL certificates from reputable organizations. Additionally, you should always double-check the legitimacy of the website you’re about to divulge private information. Make a note of the URLs to make sure the site is real. Trusted and encrypted websites begin with the prefix HTTPS://. Websites that begin with HTTP:// do not provide a safe channel of communication. 

5. Continuously Monitor Crucial Systems. 

If you have important information on your system, make sure it is being monitored around the clock! Trojans, for example, may rely on a system that is susceptible to exploit it. It is possible to detect vulnerabilities in your system by scanning both external and internal systems with Web application scanning. A social engineering engagement, at least once a year, can help you determine if your staff are vulnerable to social engineering attacks. Fake domains, if any exist, can be immediately removed to prevent online copyright infringement. 

6. Investigate The Source Of The Information. 

Consider the source of the communication before taking it at its value. What if you find a USB stick on your desk and have no idea what it is? Do you receive an unexpected phone call telling you that you’ve inherited $5 million? Your CEO sent you an email asking for a slew of personal information about each of your workers? Every one of these seems suspect, and it’s important to proceed with caution. Identifying the source is not difficult. Take a look at the email’s header, for example, and compare it to other valid emails from the sender. Make sure to hover your cursor over the links to see if they’ve been faked (do not click the link, though!) Emails with glaring spelling issues are likely to be a hoax because banks have entire departments devoted to developing consumer communications. If you’re unsure if an email or message is legit, check out the company’s website and get in touch with an official representative. 

7. Ensure That Your Security Patches Are Up-to-Date.

To gain unauthorized access to your data, cybercriminals hunt for flaws in your application, software, or systems. Always keep your security updates up to current and make sure your online browsers and operating systems are up to date. This is because security fixes are issued anytime a company discovers a security issue. Keep your systems up to date with the latest release to prevent cyber-attacks and maintain a cyber-resilient setting. 

Related article: 5 Practical Ways to Improve Your Security Posture. 

Protect Your Company with AWA

The dangers of social engineering attacks are on the rise, and they are now a big concern for companies of all kinds when it comes to cybersecurity. To avoid being a victim of social engineering, make sure your company has the right defenses in place. Your company’s security staff has to be notified as soon as a security event occurs so that they can take prompt action.

Learn more about AWA’s social engineering testing services

About The Author

CISSP - Certified Information Systems Security Professional
CEH - Certified Ethical Hacker
CISM - Certified Information Security Manager

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