With the evolution of technology, there have
been many innovative gadgets easing your routine chores. However, with every
new device, there are a thousand latest ways of misusing them for scams and
frauds. Social media has become the hub of scams these days from the matter of
job opportunities leading to online shopping.
Social engineering attacks are one of the
leading cyber crimes, which is at peak nowadays. These attacks have stretched its
legs with the help of emerging technology to get the adverse benefit out of
people through social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter.
In this article, we’ll let you know about social engineering with the scams and
attacks attached to it.
The term used for a broader range of malicious
activities which are often achieved by human communication is known as social
engineering. Major psychological aspects play a vital role in accomplishing
these frauds by tricking users for revealing confidential information or making
some common security mistakes. This includes social media platforms, including
Email accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.
Social Engineering Psychology
These social engineering attacks usually include
different forms of psychological manipulation and fooling random employees and
users, making them reveal sensitive data to the social attacker. People become
the victim of social engineering commonly through verbal communication or email
invoking the fear and panic element in the victim. The spam emails having a
file or a link present asking you to click it are more likely meant for the
Under the fear or panic, the user reveals the
information without realizing the consequences as you know that there is a bit
of human interaction involved in social engineering attack. It isn’t easy to
Social Engineering attacks
The social engineering attacks often occur in
one of the different steps according to the types. The initial task of the perp
is to gather all the required information about the victim that is needed to
cover with the attacks. This includes weak security protocols, potential entry
points, the flaw in the programming, etc. After then, the attacker tries to
earn the trust of the victim by providing a piece of tempting information to
the victim, which leads to breaking the general security practice.
Here are some of the major social engineering
The major form of social engineering where the
perps focus on drafting an authentic-looking pretext. This helps in creating a
fabricated scenario in front of the victim so that their personal information
can be stolen easily. Generally, in pretexting attacks, the scammers require
certain information bits from their victim so that they can prove the victim’s
identity. This stolen data benefits a lot to the perps which they can use to
fabricate major attacks or commit identity theft.
Sometimes, the modern perps force their victim
into doing things which can affect the stability of any organization by giving
them the company’s physical weakness. Like the perp disguise himself as the
auditor of external IT services auditor, this way he’ll get all the psychical
flaws of security protocol through which he could easily enter the premises.
Tailgating is another type of social
engineering attack. It is also known as piggybacking, referring to saving
confidential information to be used later. This attack works when a person
follows an unauthentic employee without any verification into a prohibited
area. The attacker has millions of ways for disguising himself for the
showdown. He could be a security guard or a parcel delivery guy waiting outside
your building. When the employee with security approval unlocks the door, the
attacker hides under heavyweight, asking an employee to hold the door having a
clear entry into the building.
This attacking method isn’t highly modernized,
especially in the company which uses keycards to open the door. But, the
attacker can crack up any topic with the employee of a midsize business showing
reliability on the front desk.
Baiting is also similar to other hideous
social engineering attacks. But, the main thing that differentiates it among
others is the enticing element which the attacker adds for tempting victims for
falling into his trap. Sometimes, baiters use different social media platforms
to offer free downloads or free exclusive movies. This way, the victim can
easily hand-in his most precious information to them, including his login
Online schemes aren’t only the major spot for
the baiting attacks. They often target the hidden human wishes by using
physical media as well.
Phishing is one of the most dangerous yet
common social engineering tactics, which is known for breaching almost 91% of
your data. They can be changed from the latest happenings, disasters or trends.
The amount of data extracted through phishing is so high that the people have
considered it as the most useful mode of social engineering through social
Scam Executed Through Phishing On Social Media
Following are some of the interesting and
productive scams executed via phishing.
Bank credential scam: This is the most common type of scam where you’ve been given a
fake link to your Gmail or Hotmail account, redirecting to your bank’s phoney
website. This way, the attackers can trick you into writing your bank ID and
Important fax Gmail/Fb scam: Another noticeable scam that most people usually fall into is
the fake notice. This can be done through Facebook or email, giving you a file
entitled to your most important fax, which can lead to major system damage.
This is a bit common in renowned companies using fax machines very frequently.
These companies can either be document management heavily such as title,
document management firms, financial guides or insurance companies.
PhoneyWhatsApp shopping voucher scam: A common WhatsApp scam is the announcement by phoney surprise
is waiting for you when you send a particular link to 30 other people.
The same announcement was used with different
variations. It can either be a phishing message asking you to send the link to
people for a free McDonald’s meal. This scam worked when the user clicked on
the link provided in the message. After that, it was redirecting to the browser
page saying it needs to be updated. When you click on the update button, the
Trojan would be released among your PC’s your malware family.
Fake photo/news link scam on Facebook: You may have seen the link with captions, something like Selena
Gomez got bulky again, click the link to see how the virus slowly blackens your
Any latest trend generally follows these
tactics. You will receive a fake Facebook message asking you to click on the
link revealing something about the most exciting news in the current situation.
Preventing yourself from Social Engineering Phishing on Social Media
There are many different ways of preventing
your system and your life from different scams hovering through all the social
platforms originating through social engineering attacks, especially phishing.
Decline any call asking your confidential ID or passwords
If you find an email or a message in any of
your social media accounts asking you for your sensitive information, then
instantly delete that request. This sensitive information could either be your
bank account number, personal identification number, ATM pin, password, etc. It
isn’t legal to ask anybody for such personal information through email. If
somebody is asking you for this, then it probably is a scam.
Reject any random help or asking for help online
Sometimes, we come across social engineering
attackers disguising themselves into someone asking for help. This could either
be done the other way where the person is offering you help for no reason such
as tech support, customer services, etc. In both situations, you should
instantly decline the choice. You have to remember that if you haven’t asked
for help, then you shouldn’t be getting any. Thus it automatically makes this
offer a scam. It is essential to do your research perfectly about the sender
before attempting to respond.
Never download the unknown files.
For preventing yourself from any social
engineering attacks. Avoid downloading random files when you aren’t aware of
the sender or aren’t expecting any file from your known sender. Your gut is the
king, and it is the most visible alarm so you should try to trust it in this
matter. You don’t just open a mail when you don’t know the sender. Similarly,
you can not just download the file saying “urgent” without anyone
recognizable on the sending end.
Random offers or rewards are scams.
The most important thing that can save your
life is that any random offer or prize given to you even in the most official
manner can be fake. We are living in the digital era. However, you can still
receive emails saying that you’ve been granted $100,000 for eating a sub. If
someone promises you something extremely valuable, then the chances can result
in the scam.
Make sure that your spam sensitivity is maxed.
The first thing to completely avoid the
phishing links or messages is to adjust the sensitivity of your spam filters
which should be max. Regardless of the email software, the spam filters are
always present. All you have to do is check the settings and keep it higher for
avoiding any scam messages sliding into your inbox. You have to make sure to go
through them from time to time as there is a possibility that your private or
important messages are trapped there.
Protect your devices
One of the essential aspects not only to avoid
online scams but also to prevent any system mishap is to secure your devices.
You can easily install, update or maintain your firewalls, email filter,
antivirus softwares regularly. Turn on the automatic update and access only the
protected website. You can only try using VPN for privately using the web
completely avoiding any frauds or scams.
Avoid clicking on any link, Think first.
Another important factor to consider for
preventing any kind of social engineering attacks is to think before clicking
anything. It could be a photo, link or any file. The major strong point of the
attacker lies within the sense of urgency, making you act faster without
realizing it as a scam. Whenever you are sensing urgency after reading any
random message, then make sure you think a lot before opening that particular
link or file. Ensure the credibility of the sender, specifically after
receiving any suspicious emails. It is better to think for a minute than to
regret for the rest of your life.
Keep your research strong.
You have to be careful about keeping the
strong source for searching. The website from which you search must be
authentic with a certified license. They must have an authentic redirection,
that’s why it is necessary to check the name to see if the sender is even a
real human being from an authentic company.
The main hint can be any typos or a spelling
error, always check their location and phone directory for better checking.
These are often one of the easiest yet sophisticated ways of avoiding being
scammed by the random phisher. If you are so desperate you check the link; you
can simply hover on it to get the text, this way you can check if you are
directing to the right company.
These are some of the easiest yet important tricks contributed by Social Followers to prevent yourself from getting spoofed in any way through social engineering attacks on social media, specifically phishing.
An author of Namaste UI, published several articles focused on blogging, business, web design & development, e-commerce, finance, health, lifestyle, marketing, social media, SEO, travel.
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