When the world was introduced to the internet, it brought about numerous impacts on human life, notably the emergence and evolution of cybercrime. Today, cybercrime has inevitably becoming more sophisticated, with hackers and malicious actors using different techniques to gain unauthorized access to data for personal gain. One such technique is widely recognized as social engineering. But What exactly is social engineering?
What is Social Engineering?
Social engineering refers to manipulative tactics that exploit human psychology to deceive individuals into revealing sensitive information or engaging in actions that may harm their own interests. In essence, social engineering encompasses techniques that target the human mind, leveraging elements like trust, curiosity, or fear to compel victims into surrendering their personal data and granting access to malicious actors.
Users vs Social Engineering: Recognizing Social Engineering
These various examples of social engineering can be encountered through different messaging platforms, including email, SMS, WhatsApp, and many more.
For instance, a social engineering tactic that exploits trust may involve the use of an email address or website address that appears trustworthy. While cyber security awareness is increasing among service providers and users, online platforms are not hacker-proof. There may come a day when you receive messages from friends, business partners, or through social media platforms with downloadable links for images, files, and videos that actually turn out to be social engineering attempts. A single click on these links can lead to malware infection and expose you to cyberattacks.
Another social engineering tactic preys on people’s fears, often through a message sent to your email claiming that there have been breaches in your online platform accounts, such as your bank account. In moments of panic, people may hastily reveal their passwords and other sensitive data without realizing they have fallen victim to social engineering.
Social engineering tactics that exploit curiosity often utilize clickbait techniques, offering enticing deals to trick people into clicking on links and unknowingly surrendering their personal information. For instance, these tactics may include messages promising rewards, email notifications claiming that you have won a prize, or limited-time sales offers and discount coupons.
All in all, the internet has undoubtedly made our world more convenient, particularly through messaging platforms. However, this convenience also comes with potential harmful impacts. Cyberattacks have been evolving into more sophisticated and diverse forms, leaving us increasingly vulnerable to their threats. In this fast-paced environment, social engineering techniques, which cunningly exploit our vulnerable state of mind, have seen a significant increase. As a result, we must remain vigilant and proactive in safeguarding our personal information and staying informed about potential cyber threats.
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