What is social engineering?

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Pau Monfort
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You may have heard of SOCIAL ENGINEERING, but do you know what it is or what it consists of? The cyber security attacks are on the agenda, and affect both companies and governments and are carried out completely anonymously. No one is saved from being a potential victim of a cybercrime. Therefore, it is essential to know the methods used by cybercriminals to be prepared.

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Cybercrime is often understood as an activity filled with very complicated programming codes and software systems, but some of the methods used by these criminals are much simpler than all of that. An example is phishing, a type of cyber attack that we talked about earlier and which is the most used system for data theft that best represents the topic that interests us today, social engineering.

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Social engineering is a system of deception based on social psychology and is based on a series of social strategies or techniques used to persuade people to provide their personal data. To give us an idea, social engineering does not only apply in the field of cybercrime, it also comes usually applied in politics.

Within social engineering focused on the world of cybercrime, there are two main branches that we call: hunting e agriculture. The first of these concepts refers to attacks that seek to obtain the victim's data with the least possible exposure, i.e. attacks where the offender obtains the information. speaking only once with the victim. A clear example of this are phishing campaigns, which convince you with a simple email that you are a legitimate person or company and that you can trust them to let you access their website and thus provide your data.

On the contrary, there are attacks of the agricultural type that they keep the deception for a longer time to get the most of the other person's data. Maybe you've met a person on the Internet that you've spent time chatting with and they tell you they're a business partner, or sell something, even some kind of financial help… send it to that country.

This group of strategies uses a set of basic principles and easily recognizable:

  • Reciprocity: if someone offers us something, humans tend to be more willing to give something in return and more if they treat us with kindness.
  • Urgency: take advantage of this offer! Limited number, ... you have heard these phrases sometimes, right? Shopping is always best done calmly and with time to think about it.
  • Consistency: They usually ask us to do a number of things on a regular basis, and although one of them is very strange, we do them all together without worrying about it.
  • Confidence: as we said before, if we are treated well, we will end up trusting.
  • authority: When cybercriminals impersonate identities, they choose the most commanding positions so that we can trust them.
  • Social validation: Humans need others to rate us positively, so we often fall into the trap if we don't feel confident when we reject requests.
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How to avoid being scammed?

The skills and experience of these criminals can be remarkable, but there are some parameters that we need to take into consideration. One of the most important tips is never to click on a link sent by a stranger, nor to download unknown files, much less do it from untrustworthy sites. Being attentive is very important, manipulation could play against us and in this sense, it is advisable not to share much information about our tastes and affinities so that they do not use them against us.

hackers or cybersecurity experts they say it is increasingly difficult to recognize these attacks and advise us how unique method of prevention "to be informed". To find out more, you can read the article at the top of the page: how to block Phishing without installing any program.

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Further Reading:

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  • How to recognize a phishing email
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