Recognise ‘social engineering’ to dodge cybercriminals

Recognise ‘social engineering’ to dodge cybercriminals

Businesses with the best IT defences in the world are still liable to fall victim to cybercrime, if the behaviours of their staff members aren’t also considered.

Hackers aren’t just using tech tools to gain access to sensitive data but also common behaviours, habits and actions – often those we as consumers don’t even realise we’re making.

This is down to criminals relying on ‘social engineering’, a term that first emerged in the late 19th century to define the moves that large governments, media organisations and businesses would make to shift public opinion in their favour.

Today it’s being used more in regard to the ways in which cyber criminals can trick or manipulate users into divulging sensitive data or providing access where they shouldn’t.

Thankfully there are ways to protect yourself and your data from socially engineered attacks – here are three to get started.

1. Urgency

Hackers know their cover is often flimsy at best, and when victims look back on their decisions in the cold light of day many wonder how they fell for a scam in the first place. It’s because when we’re being rushed into a decision we’re more likely to make the wrong one. The solution is easy – just take time to question anything that may seem suspicious and don’t be rushed.

2. Keep feelings in check

This is easier said than done – we’re not robots, after all – but keeping tabs on emotions will put your defences in good stead. Again, cyber criminals know that fear or anxiety will push people into making poor decisions, so don’t give them the satisfaction.

3. Recognise your habits

Hackers know that by claiming to be from a big-name organisation (a high street bank, for example) they’re likely to reach its actual customers. Those people are likely very used to getting emails from their bank, and therefore won’t be so guarded if another – albeit fraudulent – one comes through. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming every message you get is from where it claims to be, no matter whether it’s the first or the hundredth.

These three techniques go against some of our most natural behaviours, but that’s exactly why hackers use social engineering tricks. Recognising them will give you some of the best protection available.

Published On: May 8, 2024/By /Categories: Security, Web Privacy/
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