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Social Engineering: A Growing Threat


Social engineering is an ever-growing threat to businesses as cyber criminals master increasingly elaborate strategies to find new vulnerabilities to exploit. As long as there is valuable data to be had, criminals will try to get their hands on it.

What is it and how can you protect your business from these cyber attacks?

What is social engineering?

Social engineering is the act of tricking someone into handing over confidential or sensitive data or taking action through technology to gain access to systems or data. It exploits human psychology – taking advantage of people’s natural tendencies and emotional reactions – rather than technical hacking techniques.

It could involve hackers posing as a technical support person to trick an employee to share their login credentials or other sensitive information but it commonly occurs via email. With the communication involving a sense of urgency, leading the victim to reveal sensitive information, open a malicious file, or click a malicious link.

Why is it on the rise?

There are a few reasons why social engineering works and why it’s becoming more prevalent.

Firstly, people share so much information about themselves, their habits, and their family members on social media, meaning it’s easier than ever for scammers to impersonate a close friend or relative.

Web crawlers can extract useful information from your social media in a fraction of a second so the process isn’t as time-consuming as it used to be. Also, as with many services in today’s world, social engineering can now be outsourced so non-technical cybercriminals are able to deliver innovative cyber attacks without having the necessary technical know-how.

What can you do to safeguard against social engineering?

Human error by employees is the leading cause of data breaches as they can easily fall prey to this type of scam. This human element of social engineering means preventing these attacks can be tricky for any business regardless of their size.

There are steps you can take to help protect your business though. Providing proper training for your employees and including them in any security policies is a must. Training should cover phishing and social engineering readiness, payment card data handling, and GDPR privacy procedures.

Training will make employees more vigilant and aware of the possible risks and threats so they become one of the best tools your business has in their arsenal.

Protect your business

Social engineering is a threat to businesses of all sizes and industries – cyber criminals do not discriminate. However, there are steps you can take to help protect your data and your business from this type of attack.

If you’re worried about your business’s vulnerability to cyber attacks, get in touch with our cyber security specialists. From vulnerability assessments to our ongoing vulnerability management service, we can help.

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