What is Social Engineering?
It is easier to hack humans than it is to hack computers
Social engineering is the act of tricking someone into divulging information or taking action, usually through technology. The idea behind social engineering is to take advantage of a potential victim’s natural tendencies and emotional reactions.
We have compiled a list of actions you can take to avoid being a victim of social engineering:
Install Antivirus Software or a security Suite - You will also have to ensure your computer and other devices are running the latest versions of their operating software. Where possible, set the operating system to update automatically. Having the latest software versions on your devices will help ensure they are prepared for the most recent security threats.
Consider the Source - Finding a USB stick isn’t necessarily a good find. It could be loaded with malware, waiting to infect your computer. With that said, a text from your bank isn’t necessarily from your bank. Spoofing a trusted source is relatively easy. Avoid clicking links or opening attachments from suspicious sources, you may want to consider all sources suspicious. No matter how legitimate that email appears, it’s safer to type a URL into the browser instead of clicking on a link.
If it sounds too good to be true - 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 – and even if it’s not, better to be safe than sorry.
Slow Down - Social engineers often count on their target to move quickly, without considering the possibility that a scammer may be behind the email, phone call, or face-to-face request on which they’re acting. If you stop to think about the request and whether it makes sense, you may be more likely to act in your own best interest.
Your Email Software Can Help You - Most email clients can help you filter out junk mails, including scams. If you think yours is not doing enough, do a quick online search to find out how to changes its settings. The objective here is to set your spam filters to high as this will weed out as much junk mail as possible.
Social engineers manipulate human feelings, such as curiosity or fear, to carry out schemes and draw victims into their traps. Therefore, be wary whenever you feel alarmed by an email, attracted to an offer displayed on a website, or when you come across stray digital media lying about. Being alert can help you protect yourself against most social engineering attacks taking place in the digital domain.
Conclusion: Social engineering is everywhere, online and offline. Your best defence against this kind of attacks is to educate yourself so that you’re aware of the risks – and to stay alert.