Social Engineering — How Human Flaws are used in hacking?

Social Engineering is an act of manipulating a person to take any action that may or may not be in “target's” best interest.
May 19th 2022.

Social Engineering is an act of manipulating a person to take any action that may or may not be in “target's” best interest. This may include obtaining information, gaining access, or getting target to take a certain action. It is art of manipulating and misleading people.

It doesn't involve the use of technical hacking techniques. Attackers use various social engineering practices because it is usually easier to exploit the victim's natural inclination to trust.

Despite security policies, attackers can compromise an organization's sensitive information using social engineering as it targets the weakness of people. Most often, employees are not even aware of a security lapse on their part and reveal the organization's critical information inadvertently.

How do Social Engineering attacks take place?

A hacker never directly interacts with the victim either virtually or physically. They go through a series of steps to verify and analyze the present situation of victims knowing along with their past. The steps are:

  1. Information Gathering: A basic investigation happens on the victim for analyzing his present situation based on his past actions. Interests and ambitious goals are taken into consideration.

  2. Establishing Relationship: In this particular phase, the attacker starts engaging with the user through different interfaces and creating a story around him.

  3. Exploitation: This is where the art of technical knowledge and human relationship management of an attacker comes into play which make the victim keep the door open till the attacker has attained his/her work.

  4. Execution: In this particular phase, the attacker completes all their needs and makes sure that there aren't any proofs left behind throughout the attack. They also make sure that the victim does not get to know anything about this so that they can maintain a relationship and the attacker can exploit the user further into the future.

What are the Impacts of Social Engineering on an Organization?

Social engineering doesn't appear to be a genuine danger, yet it can prompt hefty misfortunes for associations. The impact of social engineering attack on an organization include:-

  1. Financial Losses: Competitors may utilize social engineering procedures to take touchy data, for example, advancement plans and advertising systems of an objective organization, which can result in a financial misfortune to the objective organization.

  2. Harm to Goodwill: For an association, altruism is significant for drawing in clients. Social engineering assaults may harm that altruism by releasing touchy hierarchical information.

  3. Loss of Privacy: Privacy is a major concern, especially for big organizations. If an organization is unable to maintain the privacy of its stakeholders or customers, then people can lose trust in the company and may discontinue the business association with the organization. Consequently, the organization could face losses.

  4. Lawsuits and Arbitration: Lawsuits and arbitration result in negative publicity for an organization and affects the business's performance.

How to Stay Protected against Social Engineering?

It isn't necessary that the attackers will be approaching you in the same way every time. To protect yourself, all you need to do is be aware of the things happening around you. Many famous personalities have been victims of such attacks, so you shouldn't be careless about this issue.

  1. Do not share information about yourself on unknown calls and suspicious messages.

  2. Don't tempt free gains. Generally, we are greedy as humans, however, don't make that greediness exploit you. Avoid websites that offer you free devices, trips, likes and followers in the name of “Spin the Wheel.”

  3. Avoid downloading applications from unknown sources. Such sources are constantly swarmed with attackers all around the world waiting for an opening to exploit you.

  4. Use Multi-Factor authentication for being more secure. Even if the attacker gets your login information, there would be an extra layer of security waiting to prevent them from accessing your account.

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