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Common Types of Social Engineering Attacks Businesses Should Watch Out for

IT Biz Today Staff

Social engineering refers to an attack vector which relies primarily on human interaction, and oftentimes also entails tricking people into breaking standard security procedures. This is done to get access to computers, networks, or physical locations, or purely for financial gain.

There are loopholes in every small business’s system or networks known as the firs. The worst mistake one could make here is to dismiss the possibility of a social engineering attack. People generally assume off the bat that cyber attackers are all about hitting big corporations, but the mere fact of what they do should tell you that they don’t discriminate. For every small business, there is a small-time hacker with the inclination to attack it and with the incentive of earning a quick buck.


The most re-occurring social engineering attack is known as phishing. Phishing occurs when a hacker steals private information from a person or business for fraudulent use. This private information often times includes; names, e-mail passwords, addresses, credit card info, and social security numbers. It’s no coincidence that phishing rhymes with fishing, considering both activities lure the victim into voluntarily giving up personal information without them knowing.


Although somewhat similar to phishing, Pretexting is when the cyber attacker reaches out to their victim often times disguising themselves. For example, a common approach is where an impostor calls their victim saying they’re conducting a survey in order to steal their personal information. Then, the attacker solicits more information from the “mark”. These details are then put to use in different ways that all qualify as some form and degree of identity theft.


Baiting is basically very similar to phishing. Here are two different scenarios where Baiting occurs. For example, when victims are offered free downloads for films, e-books, audio files, etc, this is where baiting occurs. For the intended victim to get a “download” for free, he or she would have to sign-in to a website and enter some personal info. That information is recorded and then used by the thief.


In the dictionary, tailgating refers to the act of driving way too close to a vehicle. In the world of social engineering, it involves acting as if one is familiar with another person, who has access to a business. This show of familiarity is used to get access to that target company. A common tailgating method involves waiting until a worker opens an enterprise building’s entrance door, and the criminal calls out to him or her to hold it open for them so that they can sneak in.

No matter the size, every business has to take the necessary steps in order to prevent a social engineering attack of any kind. Each entrepreneur is responsible for protecting their business. That is why entrepreneurs should put their focus on making it harder for cybercriminals to crack their security system. While effective security comes at a cost, it’s still an investment worth considering to prevent a social engineering attack from occurring.