Social engineering is a method of cyber-attack that uses psychological manipulation to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information, downloading malware, or submitting payments to fraudsters. Typically, cybercriminals pose as trustworthy entities, such as banks, government agencies or tech companies, to gain victims’ trust and persuade them to share confidential data. According to a report by Verizon 's Data Breach Investigations Report 85% of all data breach involves human interaction.
The use of social engineering techniques has become a rapidly growing threat to cybersecurity. Hackers are finding new and innovative ways to conduct these tactics and exploit human error. The rise of social media and the use of personal data online has created a highly advantageous environment for cybercriminals. With these platforms, hackers can now utilize a range of psychological tactics, such as Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) or the Authority Principle, to manipulate individuals into complying with their requests.
One of the most common social engineering techniques is phishing and in 2023, it is predicted that over 75% will starts from phishing emails, the evolution of social engineering is creating a higher level of risk for businesses and individuals. The latest standard in this technique targets emails that contain malware which replicates the sender's email. This makes it difficult for victims to recognize a phishing email, as they think it’s coming from a trusted email or contact.
Organizations can protect themselves from phishing scams by providing their employees with regular cybersecurity training. This training should cover best practices for identifying and responding to phishing emails as well as implement technical solutions such as spam filters and anti-malware software to prevent phishing emails from reaching their employees' inboxes. Additionally, implementing network security protocols such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and encryption can help protect sensitive data from being stolen or compromised. In addition, equipping employees with the know how of managing a cyber incident during a data breach with the right process.
In summary, preventing phishing scams requires a combination of employee education, technical solutions, and proactive security measures. By equipping employees with the knowledge and tools to protect themselves, organizations can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to these types of attacks.