Although similar to « phishing »,spear phishing is a technique that fraudulently obtains private information by sending highly personalized emails to a few end users. This is the main difference between phishing attacks, as phishing campaigns focus on sending large amounts of generalized emails, with the hope that few people will respond. On the other hand, spear phishing emails force the attacker to perform additional research on its targets to trick end users into performing the requested activities. The success rate of spear phishing attacks is significantly higher than that of phishing attacks, where people open about 3% of phishing emails, compared to about 70% of potential attempts. If users actually open the emails, phishing emails have a relatively modest success rate of 5% by clicking on the link or attachment, compared to the success rate of a spear phishing attack of 50%.  It is essential that all employees are aware of the different forms of social engineering to ensure the cybersecurity of companies. If users know the main features of these attacks, they are much more likely to avoid falling into the trap. Consider, for example, social media and mobile platforms; They are powerful attack vectors for different categories of threat actors because they allow to instantly reach a large audience. Quid-pro-quo attacks are harmful because they can have catastrophic consequences, such as: Social engineering is a type of crime that manipulates people into passing on their confidential information to bad actors.
Masters of social engineering work to obtain sensitive information through trust, rather than hacking into a person`s account. The theory behind social engineering is that people have a natural tendency to trust others, making it easier to get someone to reveal personal information than to hack into an account. In his book « The Art of Deception, » popular hacker Kevin Mitnick explained the power of social engineering techniques. Today, we are aware that social engineering can be combined with hacking to trigger insidious attacks. A counterpart attack is a low-level form of hacking based on social engineering. For example, when an attacker calls your phone and pretends to be from the technical support staff of one of your service providers. He or she will offer you help, but it will only work if you have difficulties. Social engineers are smart and use manipulation tactics to trick their victims into revealing private or sensitive information. Once a social engineer has asked his victim to provide this information, he can use it to advance his attacks. However, it`s important to note that attackers can use quid-pro-quo offers that are much less sophisticated than SSA-themed tricks. As previous attacks have shown, office workers are more than willing to reveal their passwords for a cheap pen or even a chocolate bar. Pretense can and will take various forms.
Nevertheless, many threat actors who adopt this type of attack choose to impersonate HR staff or employees in financial development. These disguises allow them to target senior executives, as Verizon noted in its 2019 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR). All social engineering techniques are based on specific attributes of human decision-making known as cognitive biases.   These biases, sometimes referred to as « bugs in human hardware, » are exploited in various combinations to develop attack techniques, some of which are listed below. Attacks used in social engineering can be used to steal confidential employee information. The most common type of social engineering takes place over the phone. Other examples of social engineering attacks include criminals posing as exterminators, fire chiefs, and technicians to go unnoticed while stealing corporate secrets. Topics: Social Engineering, Social Engineering Threats, Social Engineering Attacks Physical security attack in which, for example, an attacker follows someone into a safe or restricted area while claiming to have misplaced their passport. More advanced attacks sometimes try to trick their targets into doing something that abuses a company`s digital and/or physical weaknesses. For example, an attacker could impersonate an external IT service auditor in order to persuade a target company`s physical security team to let them enter the building.
Once the attacker finds a user in need of technical assistance, they say something like, « I can fix this problem for you. I just need your credentials to continue. This is a simple and easy way to get a user`s credentials. Because a social engineer`s strategy is based on trust, victims often don`t realize they`ve been attacked until it`s too late. Water Holing is a targeted social engineering strategy that leverages users` trust in the websites they visit regularly. The victim feels safe doing things they wouldn`t do in another situation. For example, a cautious person might intentionally avoid clicking on a link in a junk email, but the same person would not hesitate to follow a link on a website they visit frequently. The attacker therefore prepares a trap for the careless prey in a favorite waterhole. This strategy has been successfully used to gain access to some (supposedly) very secure systems.  The most common quid-pro-quo attack occurs when a hacker claims to be a computer employee of a large company. This hacker tries to contact the employees of the target organization by phone, and then offers them some sort of upgrade or software installation. A classic example is an attack scenario in which attackers use a malicious file disguised as a software update or generic software.
An attacker can also unleash a bait attack in the physical world. B for example by spreading infected USB tokens in the parking lot of a target organization and waiting for internal staff to insert them into the company`s PCs. The call to action is different. Some ask the end user to « verify » their account credentials and add a fake login page with logos and branding to appear legitimate. Some claim that the end user is the « winner » of a grand prize or lottery and require access to a bank account where winnings can be delivered. Some ask for charitable donations (and give wiring instructions) after a natural disaster or tragedy. A successful attack often results in access to systems and loss of data. Organizations of all sizes should consider backing up business-critical data with a business continuity and disaster recovery solution to enable recovery from such situations.
An early stage of more complex social engineering attacks, where the scammer gains a victim`s trust, usually by creating a story that makes them trustworthy. Phishing attacks share the following common characteristics: One of the best ways to protect yourself from a social engineering attack is to be able to identify them. Let`s look at the six most common types of social engineering attacks: for example, a simulated phishing attack, in which controlled phishing attempts target your employees, shows you how vulnerable they are, and how risky your business is as a result. With this information, you can recycle those who need it most, reducing your exposure. During this type of social engineering attack, a bad actor may pose as police officers, senior positions within the company, auditors, investigators, or any other character who they believe will help them get the information they are looking for. The term pretext refers to the practice of presenting oneself as someone else in order to obtain private information. Typically, attackers create a false identity and use it to manipulate the receipt of information. Pretense is a type of social engineering technique in which the attacker creates a scenario in which the victim feels compelled to adhere to it under false pretenses. Typically, the attacker claims to be someone who is in a powerful position to convince the victim to follow his orders. Social engineering attacks aren`t always easy to detect, so it`s important to understand the tactics they use, such as: phishing tags, pretext, quid pro quo, social engineering, tailgating A watering hole attack involves injecting malicious code into the public web pages of a website that targets used to visit. The injection method is not new and is often used by cybercriminals and hackers.
Attackers compromise websites in a particular industry that are typically visited by certain people who are interested in attacks. Telephone phishing (or « vishing ») uses a fraudulent interactive voice response (IVR) system to recreate a legitimate copy of a bank`s or other institution`s IVR system. The victim is prompted (usually via a phishing email) to log in to the « bank » using a number (ideally toll-free) to « verify » the information. A typical « vishing » system continuously rejects logins and ensures that the victim enters PINs or passwords multiple times and often reveals several different passwords. More advanced systems transfer the victim to the attacker/scammer, posing as a customer service representative or security expert to further interrogate the victim. .