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It Might All Be Over In A Second: An Introduction To Social Engineering

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When you think about the most immediate threats to your security, I’m willing to bet social engineering doesn’t come to mind. Most people have heard of scammers… and some may even have a good understanding of the tools and tricks they use.

These low-level criminals, however, are only entry level threats within a large family of masters.

Social Engineering

It is defined as, “The application of psychological and sociological principles to specific problems.” Social engineering itself is not evil, but those who apply it for malicious purposes are.

A child trying to convince their mom to buy them a toy uses social engineering. Likewise, a thief exploring your bank account has done the
same.

Man working on computer

Hackers, thieves, scam artists, identity thieves, and disgruntled employees all use “Social Engineering.” And, while they may all have different malicious goals in mind, with different sets of principles, they all use the same, “Social Engineering Application.”

In recent years, social engineering has caused catastrophic damage. Ubiquiti Networks lost $39 Million in a CEO scam. Millions of AT&T records were compromised and distributed. A social engineering breach led to the leak of iCloud accounts, including those of various celebrities.

Social Engineers also stole 145 million user accounts from eBay.

Laptops and cell phones are the tools of Social Engineering

You may be thinking “These examples are all interesting, but why should I be worried?” If you take a second look at the examples above, you will start to figure it out.

Those of you who are an AT&T customer could have compromised personal data and you might not even know it. Those who use eBay to buy or sell may have their financial security compromised. As part of the Apple ecosystem, your iCloud account could be at risk. And, it doesn’t end there: Armed with this information, social engineers can carry out tailored attacks that are sure to succeed.

Finally, don’t think your network provider is safe just because they weren’t used as an example. Sadly, in today’s world, everyone is vulnerable.

I hope your eyes have been opened to the threat of social engineering. It’s a dangerous and likely attack you could face. Keep in mind, this is not an “if,” but a “when.” That is the startling reality many are oblivious to. Don’t worry, you won’t leave empty-handed. Social engineers beware; there is a surefire way of protecting yourself.

a hand reaches out for social engineering

Your Solution

First, you must discover the danger you are in. You’ve taken the first step by reading this post. Then, you need to educate yourself on the threats you will be up against. Invest in your security and take a moment to learn about the threats you face.

And, most important, you must use, “Security Awareness.” This requires you to be alert at all times and keep security in the forefront of your mind. Don’t think of Security Awareness as something that gets in the way of life, but the means to keep yourself and your information safe.

What is your experience with “Security Awareness”? Take a minute to share with us in the comment section below.

 

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Charles Stockwell-SE&EAuthor Bio:

Charles is in charge at The Security Stronghold.
Affected by crime during his childhood, he began pursuing security. This unrelenting search for the most secure system possible led him to found The Security Stronghold. Here, he helps businesses and others keep their assets safe by securing the vulnerable, human element of security.

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