The Anatomy of A Hack: What Is A Social Engineering Attack?

The news is covered with headlines of successful social engineering attacks that have affected companies large and small. So, what exactly is a social engineering attack and how do you protect your organization?

What Is a Social Engineering Attack?

The anatomy of a hack is fairly basic in concept: this attack method relies on human vulnerability to break security. Basically, attackers trick people into breaching data through various nefarious means—it is easier to manipulate someone into giving up passwords or sensitive data than it is to try to hack that information. Learn how to recognize and prevent social engineering attacks here. The attacks often come in the form of emails and links to phony (but realistic-looking) websites.

Who's at Risk of Social Engineering Attacks?

The reality is that everyone is the potential target of a social engineering attack. However, some industries are more likely to be attacked—those that deal with sensitive data have more risk. Industries such as legal, government, and healthcare, and companies that handle payment card data are the most at risk because cyber-criminals can use that sensitive information for insider trading, false documents and credit cards, blackmail, corporate espionage, and more.

How Can You Protect Your Organization?

The first line of defense is awareness. Your company might have the best technical security controls money can buy; however, one under-informed employee can still unknowingly give hackers unauthorized access. All it takes is one social engineering attack such as a phishing email or cleverly disguised social media advertisement. Training employees to be vigilant and aware is critical to protecting your data. Teach them to identify red flag emails and suspicious phone calls. Educating staff members about trustworthy—and untrustworthy—sources is a crucial investment.

The Best Countermeasure

With social engineering attacks becoming increasingly sophisticated, the best countermeasure is training and education of your staff. However, proper training requires time, resources, and the right expertise. Engaging an experienced and knowledgeable security training expert, like Security Pursuit, will ensure your employees know how to be diligent and alert to potential attacks. We offer onsite and online training to ensure every employee has access to the knowledge they need to protect your organization.