Social engineering is one of the trends this year regarding cybersecurity threats.
The growth of the activities that each of us carries out online in fact opens the way to an ever greater exposure of personal data that risk being stolen through increasingly sophisticated techniques that exploit human psychology.
What are social engineering techniques
This term refers to the set of techniques that cybercriminals use to obtain personal data, bank codes and passwords directly from users. By leveraging human psychology, which instinctively reacts to certain stimuli in much the same way, if you don't pay attention to what you are doing online. In fact, by studying the behavior of people online, hackers can be able to gain access to the reserved area of the bank by creating a fake web page, identical to the original one. And this is just one of the many examples that can be done. We also think about the possibility of creating bogus social media accounts. It is therefore not so much about exploiting the weaknesses of a computer system as the ingenuity of people by leveraging trust and lack of knowledge.
Some examples of social engineering
Very recent is the discovery of an attack of this type, which targeted Twitter users who operate with cryptocurrencies. Specifically, experts discovered a network of bogus accounts that created fake pages for restoring accounts that had login problems, thus leveraging searches for systems that could solve certain problems. By focusing efforts on an app that deals with cryptocurrencies, a sort of completely fake customer support was created. By offering an often too easy solution that should set off an alarm bell. But the hacker's fantasy doesn't stop there. In fact, attacks based on "voice" are on the rise due to their effectiveness, where criminals manage to create call centers that users are invited to contact to find solutions to various problems. The fact of talking to someone makes everything more real and increases the sense of trust generated in the unaware victim, who is then led to visit links and specially prepared web pages where they can enter their data. Which obviously end up in the wrong hands.
How to prevent social engineering attacks
The good news is that countering these threats isn't impossible. Indeed, just pay attention and learn to be wary of everything you do not know. Here are five tips to limit the risk of being scammed with these techniques:
1. Be wary of those who ask for passwords or access codes by e-mail or telephone. Never provide this data, even if the request appears to be legitimate.
2. If you receive a phone call from a company requesting personal data, call it at the number indicated on the company's website.
3. Avoid clicking on links you receive, even from people you know. It is always best to check the complete address first.
4. Beware of attachments that are received via e-mail but also via messaging systems. Even if they seem reliable, always check the source and the real need to receive that document.
5. When it comes to links to known domains, always check carefully that the name is spelled correctly. The identical but fake pages also have only a letter or a different point from the original.
So let's not fall into the trap of curiosity or trust. The Internet is very useful, it simplifies life and adds value in many cases. The real secret is to never let your guard down.