23 Jun Best Defense Against Social Engineering Attacks
Think you’re too smart to fall for a social engineering attack?
You might be surprised. Social engineering is one of the most commonly used methods of hacking, and it can be surprisingly easy to dupe someone into giving up their information.
But don’t worry – there are ways to protect yourself. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to prevent social engineering attacks. Stay safe out there!
What are Social Engineering Attacks?
Social engineering refers to a wide range of malicious activities performed through human interactions. Psychological manipulation is used to trick you to make security mistakes or to disclosing sensitive information.
Social engineering attacks take place in one or several steps. Before the attack, the perpetrator investigates the victim of interest. As such, the attacker gathers important background details such as weak security protocols and potential entry points.
Best Practices to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks
Social engineering attacks have become very common in small businesses and large enterprises over the past few years.
As time goes on, attackers are becoming more creative in terms of accessing very important credentials of organizations. The weakest point in defending against social engineering attacks has mostly been “us”.
The organization can invest and put in place the most important parameters such as data encryption, and firewalls, and enhance precise protocols on data handling and transfer. However, the weakest point will always emanate from human interaction with the system.
As such, to enhance the best defense against social engineering attacks in your organization would need you to make your team members know the tricks that attackers use and how to avoid them. Most attackers can even use junior employees to trick them to access sensitive information that can lead to different types of damage.
Below are more details on how social engineering attacks can be prevented.
Educate all your employees
Even though human error has been a problem in social engineering attacks, it does not mean that nothing can be done to enhance security.
Educating your staff members on basics of social engineering attacks is one of the main ways to protect your enterprise. This will include covering the basics of cyber security or going deeper into this topic.
Fundamental topics to cover in the training are:
- Think before clicking. Let employees know that clicking unsafe or faulty links can lead to social engineering attacks.
- Downloading unknown files is risky. Treat any file that looks unfamiliar as a trick.
- Do not engage before you verify the source. Verify if the message, site, or company of origin is legitimate and reputable.
- Do not accept just any offers or prizes. If it appears very good, assume it is the enemy.
Keep updating your software
Some of the social engineering attacks have happened to users who run out-of-date or unpatched software. Such software is easily exploited.
If you keep the software up to date, the attackers will find it harder to access system information. Organizations that have kept updating their software and stayed on top of patches have greatly managed to alleviate a lot of risks.
Enforce access control within the organization
One of the best defenses against social engineering attacks is restricting access to systems.
It is more manageable to control the whole system if it is only one component under attack. To restrict access, have various group managers and administrator tools to help control individual users and to reduce damages in case of an attack.
Be alert to strange and pretexting requests
Another defense mechanism against social engineering attacks is being aware of attackers’ pretext messages.
Pretexting is the case whereby attackers try to build trust with the victims to trick them release information. One of the common pretexting criteria employed by hackers is impersonating someone well known by the victim. This makes the victim have trust and thus lowers their guard.
Hackers are known to use information about daily life issues to make the victim see the sense in their demands. Do not fulfill any such favors or requests as they may be the primary tactic the attackers will use to achieve their main goal.
Build up and implement good security policies
Having protocols and policies is necessary when enhancing the best defense against social engineering attacks.
Nasty surprises have happened to those organizations which did not have policies regarding their cyber security systems. These policies must be enforced precisely otherwise they will end up being pointless.
One of the ways to enforce such policies would be setting up workshops, holding conferences regularly, and developing prescriptions on how to safeguard against social engineering attacks. Also, this would need to take whatever it takes to ensure all team members are aware of such policies so that they can comply with them carefully.
Check the information you share with strangers
This point seems too obvious, but it is among the best defenses against social engineering attacks. Sharing information with strangers or other organizations should not be allowed.
All employees should know and be able to recognize the official email addresses of the company to avoid being fooled by imitators. Also, all employees should be aware of what information they can share with people inside and outside the company.
In addition, it is very necessary to safeguard team members’ personal information. Information regarding their recent projects, connections, interests, or their responsibilities within the organization can be used by attackers to access valuable information.
A social engineering attack is any type of attack that uses human interaction to gain access to sensitive information or systems.
While the methods used can vary, they all exploit the natural human tendency to trust others in order to achieve their goals. As such, the best defense against social engineering attacks is to educate employees about the risks and how to identify suspicious behavior.
This can include things like implementing strong authentication measures, being cautious about clicking on links or opening attachments from unknown sources and being aware of imposter scams. By taking these precautions, businesses can make it much more difficult for attackers to successful carry out a social engineering attack.