Social engineering attacks are used by hackers to access users’ private information and steal money, data, and more.
These attacks often appear like emails, voice, or text messages that come from a seemingly safe and trustworthy source. They can lead to identity theft and fraud, so it is important to know how to recognize and avoid them.
Read on to find out how to prevent social engineering attacks.
Most common types of social engineering attacks
There are different types of social engineering attacks, and you should know how to identify them. Here are the most common ones:
- Email spamming: one of the oldest forms of social engineering. The spam you receive sometimes is just annoying but can also be dangerous if it is a scam aiming to steal your personal information.
- Phishing: also done through email, but looking like a legitimate one compared to email spamming. The emails are designed to look like coming from a friend, family, or business we use and try to persuade users to provide personal or financial information.
- Baiting: in this type of attack, the hacker leaves a device infected with malware. Whoever picks it and uses it will have their device infected with the malware.
- Vishing: also known as voice phishing. Attackers present themselves as employees, technicians, or distant family members to try and steal personal information.
- Smishing: this phishing attack comes through text messages. Usually, they convince the user to click on a link and disclose personal information.
How to prevent social engineering attacks
No matter how familiar you are with technology, you can fall victim to a social engineering attack – especially a well-designed one. To prevent these attacks, basically, the best way is to use intuition and common sense.
Use trusted antivirus software.
Save time and effort by using trusted antivirus software to block suspicious websites. Good antivirus software will detect and block malware and identify what could be a phishing attack.
Change your spam email settings.
In case you receive a lot of spam emails, adjust your email settings so that your spam filters can be stronger.
Research the source of the message
When you receive an email, text message, or voice call from an unfamiliar source, put the email or phone number in a search engine to see if there is any information about it. If it has been used before, probably it has been flagged up. Beware of emails that look legitimate but are just slightly different from the original source – such as a mistaken letter in the name.
Do not trust offers that are too good to be true.
If someone is claiming to give away thousands of dollars – this is most likely a social engineering attack. Use your common sense and do not trust offers that promise you huge rewards if you invest just a couple of dollars or share your information.
Always be aware that if something sounds too good to be true – it probably is not. Use your intuition and trust as suspicious all messages, emails, and calls that want you to share personal information for whatever reason.