Breaking news and updates daily. Subscribe to our Newsletter!
Share this article on:
Social engineering is a malicious tactic used by cyber criminals to manipulate and deceive individuals into divulging sensitive information or performing actions that can compromise their security.
Understanding this threat is crucial for safeguarding personal and organisational data.
Here are three key things you need to know about social engineering.
1. The techniques used in social engineering
Social engineering attacks exploit the fundamental human trait of trust. Cyber criminals employ various techniques to manipulate individuals and gain access to confidential information. These tactics often involve impersonation, deception, and psychological manipulation. Phishing is one of the most common methods, where attackers use fraudulent emails or websites that resemble legitimate ones to trick victims into sharing sensitive data like passwords or credit card details.
Another technique is pretexting, where attackers create a fictional scenario to gain a person’s trust and extract information. They may pose as a co-worker, service provider, or even a law enforcement official. Other techniques include baiting, quid pro quo, and tailgating, each with its own deceptive strategy.
2. The impacts of social engineering attacks
Social engineering attacks can have severe consequences, both on an individual and organisational level. Once cyber criminals gain access to sensitive information, they can engage in identity theft, financial fraud, or even espionage. For individuals, this can lead to financial loss, damage to reputation, and emotional distress.
In the context of organisations, social engineering attacks can result in data breaches, intellectual property theft, and significant financial and legal repercussions.
Moreover, the reputational damage caused by such incidents can be long-lasting, eroding customer trust and loyalty. It is crucial to recognise that anyone can be a target of social engineering, regardless of their position or technical expertise.
3. Prevention and mitigation measures
To protect against social engineering attacks, it is essential to implement preventive measures and promote cyber security awareness. Education and training are key components of defence.
Individuals should be educated about common social engineering techniques and be cautious while sharing personal information online or over the phone. Organisations should conduct regular security awareness programs, teaching employees how to identify and respond to social engineering attacks. Implementing strong authentication measures, such as multifactor authentication, can provide an extra layer of security.
Additionally, organisations should establish robust policies and procedures for handling sensitive information and regularly update their security infrastructure to stay ahead of evolving threats.
David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.
Be the first to hear the latest developments in the cyber security industry.


%d bloggers like this: