What is social engineering?

  • By
  • December 2, 2022
  • Cyber Security
What is Social Engineering

What is social engineering?

Social engineering is a term used for various malicious activities carried out through human interaction. Using psychological manipulation to trick users into failing security or providing sensitive information.

A social engineering attack occurs in one or more steps. Criminals first investigate the intended victim to gather necessary information such as access points and weak security protocols needed to continue the attack. The attacker then gains the victim’s trust and triggers subsequent actions that compromise security operations, such as exposing sensitive information or granting access to critical resources.

Understanding Social Engineering

Social engineering refers to manipulating targets into giving up basic information. In addition to stealing an individual’s identity or compromising a credit card or bank account, social engineering can be used to obtain company trade secrets or exploit national security.

For example, a female victim can call the male victim’s bank, pretend to be his wife, ask for emergency assistance, and ask for access to his account. If a woman can successfully socially engineer a bank customer service representative by appealing to the agent’s empathetic tendencies, she can access the man’s account and steal his money.


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Social engineering attack techniques

1 Baiting

As the name suggests, phishing attacks make false promises to pique the greed or curiosity of the victim. They lure users into traps that steal personal information or infect their systems with malware.

The most hated form uses physical media to spread malware. For example, the attacker leaves bait, usually a malware-infected flash drive, in places where the victim is sure to see it (eg, bathrooms, elevators, and parking lots of the targeted company). The hook has an authentic look like the tag that the company shows as a salary.

Out of curiosity, victims take the bait and install it on their work or home computers, resulting in the automatic installation of malware on the system.

fraud does not necessarily have to happen in the physical world. Online payment forms consist of advertisements that lead to malicious websites or encourage users to download malware-infected software. SevenMentor is Top Cyber Security Training in Pune. Get more information of advanced diploma in cyber security course in Pune

2 protecter

The malware involves bombarding victims with false warnings and blocking threats. Users are tricked into thinking their system is infected with malware, which is actually useless (except for criminals) or requires them to install malicious software. Security software is also known as cheat software, malicious scanner software, and scam software.

A common scary example is the legitimate-looking pop-banner that appears in your browser while browsing the web, displaying text like “Your computer may be infected with malware.” It either offers you to install a tool (usually a malware infection) or redirects you to a malicious site that infects your computer.

Security programs are distributed through spam emails that remove fake alerts or offer users to purchase useless/malicious services.

3 OPre-texting

Here, the attacker obtains information through a cleverly crafted lie. Fraud is often initiated by criminals who need the victim’s sensitive information to perform important tasks.

Attackers usually start by impersonating the victim’s co-workers, the police, bank and tax officials, or other people who have a right to know. The startup asks the necessary questions to verify the victim’s identity and collect important personal information through it.

4 phishing

As one of the most popular forms of social engineering attacks, phishing scams are email and text message campaigns designed to create a sense of urgency, curiosity, or fear in the victim. It then helps you open sensitive information, click on links to malicious websites, or open applications that contain malicious software.

For example, e-mails sent to users of online services warn of policy violations that require immediate action, such as requiring a password change. It links to an illegal website, almost identical to the legal version, requiring unsuspecting users to enter their current Credentials and a new password. When the form is submitted, the information is sent to the attacker.


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5 Phishing (SMS Phishing) and (Voice Phishing)

Phishing is not always limited to fake e-mails and websites.

Phishing is a term used to describe phishing using SMS text messages. Scammers buy compromised phone numbers and blast messages containing malicious links.

This is also the same as fishing, but on-demand One reason

Impersonation occurs when someone creates a false identity or abuses their true role. This is what often happens with internal data breaches.

6 Honey Bee (romantic cheat)

Honey-traping are a type of romantic scam in which scammers create fake online dating site/account and social media profiles using attractive stolen photos. For example, in this case, a person send you a request with a fake female account and try to gather info related to the victim and 

Start chatting and maybe after they ask for a nude picture if a victim sent an image then after some time they start blackmailing him

Once they have identified their target, they will start sending fast, provocative messages, quickly letting their victims know they love them. But victims have to prove they feel the same way by sending them gifts, cash or crypto-currency.

Honeymooners are especially popular on social media sites like Snapchat. Always make sure you stay safe and aware of the dangers of online dating

  • How to identify the most common types of social engineering attacks

1 Carefully check the email that contains the name, address and copy

2 If you receive a suspicious email, check for spelling and grammar errors.

3 Recognize common phishing email subject lines

      Every phishing email uses an interesting and empathetic subject line to attract its victims.

4 Think about and evaluate the feelings the message evokes

Social engineering attacks human instincts such as trust, excitement, fear, greed and curiosity.

5  Check the identity of the foreigner

If you receive a call from someone impersonating someone else or suspect a colleague’s email account has been hacked, act on your suspicions.

How to Protect Yourself from Social Engineering Attacks

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited calls, visits, or e-mails from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If an unknown person claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify their identity directly with the company.
  • Do not give out personal information or information about your organization or network unless you believe that person will have access to that information.
  • Do not disclose personal or financial information by email or respond to email requests for this information. This email contains the following link.
  • Do not send sensitive information on the Internet before checking the security of the website. 
  • Pay attention to the URL of our website’s URL. Look for URLs that start with “https”, which indicates that the site is secure, not “http”.
  • Look for the key symbol – it indicates that your data will be encrypted.
  • If you’re not sure whether an email request is legitimate, try contacting the company directly to verify. Do not use the contact information provided on the website in connection with a claim; instead, check the previous sentence for communication. Information about specific phishing attacks is also available online from groups like the Anti-Phishing Task Force. 
  • Install and maintain antivirus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic. (Understanding firewalls for home and small office use, protecting against malicious code, and reducing spam for more information.)
  • Take advantage of the anti-phishing features offered by your email client and web browser.
  • Improved multi-factor authentication (MFA). (like OTP.)


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What would you do if you were a victim?

  • If you believe you have disclosed sensitive information about your organization, notify the appropriate person in your organization, including your network administrator. They can be alerted for suspicious or unusual activity.
  • If you believe your financial account has been compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close the compromised account. View unexplained charges on your account.
  • Change your unlock password immediately. If you’ve been using the same password for multiple sources, change it for each account and don’t use that password in the future.
  • Check for other signs of identity theft



Rajat Sharma

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