Security and IT teams are losing sleep as would-be intruders lay siege to the weakest link in any organization’s digital defense: employees. By preying on human emotion, social engineering scams inflict billions of dollars of damage with minimal planning or expertise. Cybercriminals find it easier to manipulate people before resorting to technical “hacking” tactics. Recent research reveals that social engineering is leveraged in 98% of attacks.
Security leaders have taken a stand against the increasing threat of remote work and are educating the public. Experts have created resources like the “Social Engineering White Paper: What You Must Know to Stay Resilient “. This whitepaper identifies common attacks and tracks how they are changing. It also provides tips and tricks to help organizations protect their users. These insights not only inform security practitioners of the latest tactics and emerging threats, but help employees understand that safeguarding data is not just a “security team problem.” Instead, every teammate is vulnerable to social engineering schemes, and every teammate must play their part to safeguard sensitive data.
“Social Engineering” explains the evolution and history of social engineering attacks and provides advice on resiliency. It also outlines the five stages involved in a social engineering attack :
- Targeting – Threat actors start by identifying a target. Usually, they target companies. And the most efficient way to breach a company? Through its employees. You can target employees in a variety of ways. From physically searching for sensitive information at work to using online leaked data.
- Information gathering – Once the target has been selected, the next step is reconnaissance. Threat actors scour open-source intelligence. Valuable information can be found in employees’ social media accounts, forums that they’re registered to, and more. The information they find is used in the next step of the chain.
- Pretexting – After completing their homework, bad actors strategize. Pretexting involves fabricating or inventing a scenario to trick the target into divulging information or performing an action. The main goal in the pretexting stage is to build trust between the threat actor and the victim without causing suspicion.
- Exploitation – After a relationship has been built, threat actors will attempt to steal sensitive information and gain initial access to a victim’s computer or company environment.
- Execution – Finally, using this newfound access, threat actors attempt to achieve their end goal — whether financial or political or personal — by infecting the target environment with malicious content, leading to a compromised network.
To learn more about social engineering and measures you can take to keep your organization, download “Social Engineering: What You Need to Know to Stay Resilient” here.