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The Rise of Social Engineering

Human error is one of the biggest culprits behind IT security breaches. Why? Because hackers often target a person through social engineering rather than a system or network to get through a company’s defenses. Afterall, employees have access to devices, the corporate network, and other resources in a business. It only takes one employee to click on a malicious link to give hackers the keys to access what they need.

What Is Social Engineering?

Social engineering is a hacking technique that depends on human interaction. Instead of hacking a computer, an attacker conceals their identity to manipulate a person into doing things they would not normally do.

The attacker may convince an employee they are a security consultant and ask for passwords. Or they could impersonate a coworker or boss and send an email that looks legitimate but contains malicious ransomware.

A Recent Social Engineering Attack in the News

A perfect example of the damage social engineering can do to businesses is a recent data breach that occurred at Twilio. On August 2, 2022, some of Twilio’s employees received text messages that seemed to come from their IT department. There were various messages, but all asked the employees to log in.

When a Twilio employee clicked the link to log in, they were directed to a site that looked official but stole their credentials. While Twilio’s security team was on top of the issue, data on 125 of their customers was accessed. The results might have been worse if they hadn’t been so well prepared.

Recognizing Social Engineering

It’s not hard to recognize a social engineering attempt, and it only takes a couple of minutes to do due diligence. Here are some of the warning signs:

  • They act as if you’ve met them before.
  • They have a sense of urgency and are in a hurry to try and infect your systems.
  • They pretend to be your boss, co-worker, or a government official.
  • They ask you to provide information you know you shouldn’t, or they try to install software.

While legitimate messages and emails could have these same red flags, double-checking what you are being asked to do never hurts. Keep in mind that when you verify the request it should be done through a different communication mode – don’t just reply to the email.

How to Protect Against Social Engineering

Just because social engineering is on the rise doesn’t mean that your business or employees have to become another statistic. Social engineering attacks can be prevented. Here are some ways to stop them:

  • Security Awareness Training: Training will help employees recognize social engineering, teach them what to do, and more importantly what not to do if they come across a social engineering attack.
  • Inbox Detection and Response: An IDR system takes training one step further. It allows employees to submit suspicious emails for analysis and verification. Employees no longer have to second guess if it’s a phishing or social engineering attempt – IDR provides fast results that can prevent phishing and bad actors from entering into your systems.
  • Multifactor authentication: This is a simple solution that helps prevents hackers from accessing an account even if they have the password. By enabling multifactor authentication, hackers would not only need your user name and password, but would also need access to your email or phone for authentication verification.
  • Endpoint Security: Endpoint security can stop cybercriminals and their attacks quickly. With 24/7 monitoring, alerting, and mitigation, Endpoint Security helps protect your infrastructure from being compromised.

Want to learn more about how Endpoint Security can help your organization? Read our Comprehensive Guide to Endpoint Management and Security. TPx offers a full suite of cybersecurity solutions that can help protect your workforce from social engineering attacks. See what TPx can do for your company today.

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