What is social engineering?

What is a social engineering attack?

Thursday 18 November, 2021

What should you do if you suspect you are experiencing a social engineering attack?

If you want to avoid being socially engineered, you must first understand exactly what it is and how it is carried out. 

What is Social Engineering? 

Social engineering has been described as one of the most significant threats to an organization’s cybersecurity for some time. Hackers have developed more complex and sophisticated methods of attack, spreading huge amounts of misinformation to develop new campaigns for their financial gain.

Credential or personal information harvesting

There are really two key methods the hackers or scammers use for social engineering attacks. The first method they can deploy is known as a “credential or personal information harvesting” attack. This method of attack is intended to steal sensitive information from the user which is then sold on areas of the dark web. The purchaser then has the ability to use the personal information to create an account or takeover the account where the information had been harvested.

Examples of these methods include:

  • Phishing – Disguised communication to appear as legitimate
  • Vishing – Phone based phishing via a telephone call
  • Smishing – Phishing via an SMS message

Remote Access Attacks

The second method of attack used by the hackers and scammers is seen as being much more sophisticated. This method involves pressuring the user to defraud themselves in real time, by either a phone scam or by deploying a Remote Access Tool (RAT) which allows the hacker or scammer to control the device itself. This means the hacker has access to all your files and personal information as well as being able to steal what they choose. 

Some of these more sophisticated attacks have allowed the hacker to interact with WhatsApp messages, changing the context of the message to spread misinformation from what appears to be a trusted and legitimate source. Fake news is a huge issue for businesses and the global political systems, so it is seen as a significant issue that needs to be dealt with.

How do you protect yourself from being a victim of Social Engineering?

The nature of these attacks often works on manipulating human behaviour in order to be successful. However, there are things you can do to help reduce your risk, both how you react and the technology of your smartphone. 

  1. Always check the credentials of the person or company contacting you – this could include hanging up and contacting the company directly on a different phone line. 
  2. Never click on embedded links in text messages, social posts or emails – instead close the email or app down and log on to the company’s legitimate website and make an enquiry from there. 

Use a secure device

The smartphone you use should have a multi-layered approach to security. This reduces your risk as posed by hackers. The Blackphone PRIVY 2.0 has been developed to successfully protect you from hacking. It has been developed with security features that cover hardware protection, files and data protection, along with secure network connectivity. 

The Blackphone PRIVY 2.0’s impressive security features include:

  • Zero Attack Surface 
  • Triple Password Protection
  • Verified Boot
  • Military Grade Encryption
  • Trusted Updates
  • Built-in VPN Connectivity

Importantly, the Blackphone PRIVY 2.0 does not have access to insecure Apps. This a vital factor in protecting your information from malware which exposes you to hackers. 

Back in April 2020, we published an article titled “Smartphone Security – How to keep your smartphone safe. This will help you with understanding the risks that your data faces from apps and hacking, whilst providing some important steps you can take to protect your personal information. 

If you would like to discuss your specific business or personal requirements for your smartphone, then please give us a call. 

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