They might request victims to facilitate the operation by disabling the AV software temporarily to install the malicious application. The attacker can simply walk in behind a person who is authorized to access the area. In a typical attack scenario, a person impersonates a delivery driver or a caretaker who is packed with parcels and waits when an employee opens their door. The attacker asks that the employee hold the door, bypassing the security measures in place i. Spear-Phishing And Whaling. This free security awareness kit comes with training modules, email templates, posters, infographics and more!
Thanks for sharing such an informative post. These social engineering attacks are really very dangerous. Everyone should be aware of these online threats. Your email address will not be published. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. InfoSec institute respects your privacy and will never use your personal information for anything other than to notify you of your requested course pricing.
We will never sell your information to third parties. You will not be spammed. Share Tweet.
Hacking the Human: Social Engineering Techniques and Security Countermeasures
Will Your Employees Take the Bait? Get Started! Infosec Skills What's this? Phishing Phishing attacks are the most common type of attacks leveraging social engineering techniques. In a case like social engineering where victims are subject to spear phishing attacks, phishing attacks, malicious emails, and compromised sites, it is good to have a spam firewall and web filter in place to mitigate those threats before they even reach the network.
Having a secure web browser or mobile device management solution to address BYOD both on and off the company network is something they should also consider to protect company and employee information. Alex Markowitz is a Systems Engineer for Chelsea Technologies , a managed IT services firm that provides design, implementation, hosting, and support services to the global financial industry. Alex has over 10 years of IT experience in the financial sector. Google the top social engineering attacks. What do you get? Stories about Trojan Horses, phishing attacks, malware injections, redirects, spam, and people giving up way too much personal information on public websites.
The surface area for social engineering attacks is as big as all the employees and users in your corporation. The best social engineering attack will involve nothing but an unnoticed slip or mistake from one user. I am going address the very specific aspect of internal security and leave you with the following: the most important protection you need in your company is the ability to say, "No. Knowing the history of these attacks is useful, but overall, it is not going to protect you. The attackers are always ahead of those of us who are defending our information.
A social engineer will always find a new way to do what they do. Someone who wants to target your company is considered an unending well of creativity, and must be treated as such. Keep in mind, technology always changes, but the humans utilizing that technology do not change. You can protect yourself with all the technology you want, but just one human mistake can blow your company's doors wide open.
Humans are the attack surface on which a social engineer strikes. Therefore, the problem we have as IT Professionals is keeping age-old human flaws from causing a technological attack. The following is an omnipresent human flaw that I would like to specifically address: I have worked at many financial institutions. At every institution, there is always a slew of executives, managers and the like that want to be treated special.
They want access to the network on their personal laptop. They want access to the network on their iPad, but also let their kids play with that iPad. They want access when and where they should not have it, and they are in powerful positions that make them very difficult to reason with. They want things that will make their professional lives even easier than we, in IT, struggle to make it. Unfortunately, in IT, we are in the habit of saying, "Yes.
This is lazy; this is arrogant; this is stupid, but this is most of all, human. We human beings are the system attacked by social engineering, and then we leave ourselves open by falling prey to our insecurities, giving an attacker an invitation to storm our gates. All IT needs to learn how to say is "No," and IT management needs to be strong and stubborn for the good of a company.
One of the best ways to protect your company from social engineers is to learn how to say, "No. I know I am addressing a very specific aspect of IT, but one of the best ways to shrink your attack surface is to learn how to say, "No. Only after our protection is streamlined can we accurately educate our users and create a secure infrastructure. Every individual exception opens a Pandora's Box for social engineers to find or even just stumble upon and exploit.
Robert Harrow is a research analyst for ValuePenguin. His interest in security comes mainly from studying credit card and health insurance data breaches. Phishing scams are the biggest threat, and the most common means of social engineering. Spam filters can be useful in helping employees avoid exposure to these attacks. However, these fail in what is referred to as spear phishing.
These attacks are less frequent, but more targeted to specific high value individuals — likely CEOs, CFOs, and other people with high-level access in their company. These attacks are generally not picked up by spam filters and are much harder to detect. Educating employees about the dangers of phishing and being careful about all e-mails they receive is crucial.
Steven J. Weisman, Esq. Weisman writes the blog Scamicide.
When it comes to social engineering attacks and how companies can prevent them, I advise Major data breaches and hacking of major companies such as Target, Sony, or even the State Department generally have one thing in common, and that is that despite the sophistication of the malware used to gather information, that malware has to be downloaded into the computers of the targeted company or agency and that is done, most often, through social engineering tactics that trick employees into clicking on links or downloading attachments that unwittingly download the malware.
Train employees on my motto, "Trust me, you can't trust anyone. No one should ever click on any link without confirming that it is legitimate. Train employees to be skeptical and what to be on the lookout for in regard to common phishing and spear phishing schemes. Install and maintain the latest and constantly updated anti-virus and anti-malware software with the understanding that the latest updates are always at least a month behind the hackers.
Limit employees' information access to only that information that they have a need to have access to. Another example of a spear phishing attack targeted Danish architecture firms in March She has been featured in Business Journal articles on security and has taught hundreds of businesses on cyber security.
Anvaya Solutions, Inc. Phishing: This is one of the most common attacks that entices employees to divulge information. An email impersonates a company or a government organization to extract the login and password of the user for a sensitive account within the company, or hijacks a known email and sends links which, once clicked, will embed a malware or a Trojan on the computer of the user. Hackers then take the reigns from there.
Similar attacks by phone, with the caller claiming to be a trusted source or an authorized organization, also can lead to employees revealing information that may be detrimental to the bottom line of the company or its reputation. Information Sharing: Sharing too much information on social media can enable attackers to guess passwords or extract a company's confidential information through posts by employees.
Security Awareness is the key to prevent such incidents. Developing policies, training employees, and implementing measures, such as warnings or other other disciplinary actions for repeat or serious incidents, will mitigate the risk of social engineering attacks. If you are not expecting an email, type the link address instead of clicking on it. Or, call a person to confirm that the email came from them. The same principles apply to phone phishing attacks. Tell them you will call back and get their number. Make sure that number belongs to a valid organization by using the phone lookup before calling them.
A Spear Phishing attack. This is an email that delivers malicious content via a web-link or attachment in an email. If the email seems to be from a normal source, ask yourself "Why would they want me to open this link or attachment? Is that normal behavior?
Never solely rely on just anti-virus or firewalls to protect you from these types of advanced attacks. They arrive bearing variants of malicious content that cannot be detected by blacklists or signature-based countermeasures AV or firewalls alone, because they just can't keep up. Greg Mancusi-Ungaro is responsible for developing and executing the BrandProtect market, marketing, and go to market strategy.
A passionate evangelist for emerging technologies, business practices, and customer-centricity, Greg has been leading and advising world-class marketing initiatives, teams and organizations for more than twenty-five years. Prior to joining BrandProtect, Greg served in marketing leadership roles at ActiveRisk, Savi Technologies, Sepaton, Deltek, Novell, and Ximian, building breakthrough products and accelerating business growth.
He is a co-founder of the openSUSE project, one of the world's leading open source initiatives.
- The Professionals Guide to Mining the Internet: Infromation Gathering and Research on the Net?
- The Promise of Low Dose Naltrexone Therapy: Potential Benefits in Cancer, Autoimmune, Neurological and Infectious Disorders (McFarland Health Topics)!
- What is Social Engineering??
- Physical Attacks.
Variations of the stranded traveler scam. In this type of scam, a social engineer sends their target an email that appears to be originating from a trusted colleague's personal email account. As this social engineer has access to your email, he or she knows who your colleagues are and can create a pretty convincing story. Another common class of social engineering attacks occurs outside of the business environment, on social networks and other social media sites.
There, social engineers will copy profiles, substitute headshots and literally steal an entire online identity, which they can then use to friend others at your firm or at other establishments, parlaying the stolen identity into a series of seemingly legitimate online friendships. From that moment forward, it's only a matter of time before the next social engineering ask is made.
Far more serious, however, are the social engineering schemes where the friend request involves using the company network. For example, a colleague emails you late at night and claims to have forgotten the VPN access code — this is a suspicious email to receive, and likely a social engineering attack. As a second example — and an even more sophisticated approach: Imagine a social network friend sending you an email with a cover letter and resume attached, requesting that you forward it to your hiring manager.
The email might have the name of the hiring manager or the name of an open position, but in either case, it's a very effective approach. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the social engineer is hoping you'll click on either document, unknowingly installing malware on your computer and infiltrating your company network.
Once a social engineer gains a trusted identity, or is accepted within a trusted circle of colleagues, they will leverage that trust to gain access to other people, networks, IPs, or corporate assets. Social engineers usually have their eyes on something bigger than their unsuspecting targets; the innocent victims are just a convenient and easy way for the cybercriminals to get to a bigger prize.
As a company, the easiest way is to diligently monitor for unauthorized emails that use your brand, and validate that the social domain profiles that carry your brand are owned by individuals who have the right to do so. For instance, recently, a BrandProtect client discovered that more than half of their branded online agents were actually not authorized agents.
Some of that activity was innocent — some former agents forgetting to remove a logo — but some of it was masquerading and identity theft! As an individual, the simplest way to reduce social engineering exposure is to always be sure of who you are communicating with. If there is the least bit of doubt, explain that you can't assist with the incoming request.
If they claim that they are your friend, there are additional ways to gently validate someone's identity. For instance, they can call you on your cell phone or email your personal account instead. After all, if they are who they claim to be, they will easily be able to reach you via other forms of communication. Much of the personal defense against social engineering may seem to be common sense, but companies should invest in employee education about these and other online risks.
Topics covered in this tutorial
By simply raising awareness of these dangers attacks, significant amounts of corporate risk will be mitigated. Recently, David has founded PPL HACK, a Cincinnati based company that offers free seminars across the country including live hacking demonstrations to help small and medium sized businesses educate their staff to become better equipped to protect company data. Phishing email, by far, is the number one method, where a company is flooded with email that looks legitimate, but gets you to click a link, open a file, or install a program that has nefarious intent.
You'll also find cloned and faked websites meant to steal your login or financial information for later use. In some cases, your computer is attacked just because it can be used as a bot in a larger network that can do many things. Botnets to attack sites are common, but what is becoming even more common is hijacking your computer's power to work in a larger network mining Bitcoin and other Alt-Coins for the financial gain of others.
Another of the more common attacks is a wireless man in the middle.
- Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The Old Testament and Apocrypha?
- on computer science and media topics.
- Cultural Hegemony in the United States.
- Satisfiability Problem: Theory and Applications.
- Science and the Human Comedy: Natural Philosophy in French Literature from Rabelais to Maupertuis?
- This item is not reservable because:.
- Social Engineering - Hacking the human OS | Computer Science Blog.
That is where a wireless access point that is under the control of a hacker is placed within your environment so that all of your login and data traffic is funneled through a control point that can be logged and accessed. How to stop these attacks is an ongoing question, but there are steps you can use to mitigate them. Don't use the same passwords over and over again. Use pass phrases such as I W3nt to h wa11 4 phun instead of words that can be guessed with dictionary attacks. VPNs, and not the free ones that are often a scam of their own, should be used on any wireless device used on a network outside of your control.
When using a VPN properly, the data between you and the websites you visit is encrypted from prying eyes. Oren Kedem brings over 15 years of experience in product management in the areas of Web Fraud Detection and Enterprise Security. Oren also served at various product marketing and management positions at BMC covering the Identify and Access Management and System's Management solutions.
These attacks have two main phases: Reconnaissance and Attack. Social engineering plays a role in both. In the Attack Phase, detailed organizational, business, and internal process data is used to convince employees to perform an action aimed at ex-filtrating sensitive documents, or performing an action e. Attacks use simple communication vehicles such as phone calls and email messages that seems to come from a trusted source — for example a call from the bank or an email from a customer or partner.
During this communication, employees are asked to perform actions that are within the norm of the business life e. These attacks are highly effective if the criminal has done his homework and has all the relevant information. Where do criminals get the information in the first place? At this phase, which may take anywhere from several months to a year hence the Persistent in APT the criminal typically infects a few organizational computers with spyware and patiently sifts information and access credentials.
Social engineering is used to convince employees to install malicious software or open a webpage or document embedded with harmful exploit code i. In one infamous case — the RSA breach — an HR admin opened and excel sheet that was attached to an email supposedly with HR related stats and infected her computer with malware.
A few months later, code was stolen from RSA and, later, that code was used to attack Lockheed Martin in combination with other social engineering phones and emails. The simple way to verify is to tell the person you will call them back on a verified phone. Many organizations have set up departmental unsafe computers for access to any document or site either physical or as a remote VM.
These computers are wiped out frequently and should never store sensitive data. Rule 3: Change password and access frequently every few months and sporadically do not have predictability on when passwords change as to not help fraudsters plan ahead. Rule 4: Education, Education, Education.
Share 'war stories' and industry experience with employees. They can't be cautious if they are not aware of the threats. Roberto A. A Phishing email is a crafted email that pretends to be from a known trusted source and that could trick the user to download an attachment, click on a malicious link, or simply cooperate to provide sensitive information such as your passwords. These emails, for example, can be sent to an entire organization without targeting specific people in the company.
Spear Phishing emails, on the other hand, are emails that are crafted specifically for a few people in an organization that could have valuable information for an attacker.
What is Social Engineering?
Phishing, in general, has been being used a lot for the past couple of years by cyber criminals to break into an organization. Ranked 3 on the Verizon Report in , it was made clear that cyber criminals are focusing more on the human factor instead of the technology in place. This is because it is not expensive to craft a phishing email. There are open source tools such as SET Social Engineering Toolkit that could help an attacker to circumvent high-end technology. Spam filters are great, but they end up being a fundamental layer of security to an organization if the attacker knows how to trick the user into cooperating without making him or her click on a link.
One perfect example would be receiving an email from your bank asking you to call a number provided in the email to change your ATM PIN. Companies must approach security with proactive security controls addressing the human factor. Security Awareness Training programs are really helpful to reduce the risk of getting compromised and increase the level of awareness in the organization. This social-based attack tricks the user over the phone to reveal sensitive information regarding the organization. This one is very common in customer service departments, where they try to satisfy the customer over the phone and end up providing information that could be used to break into the network.
Information varies and could include names of possible targets, hours of operations, financial or personal information, and even password resets. Extensive Security Awareness Training to ensure the user understands what type of information they are allowed to reveal. Also, different technologies in places such as NAC solutions that limit the access to data that cannot be shared without authorization.
This is a social-based attack that involves an attacker without authorized access and an employee with a low level of awareness. The way it works is by having the unaware user cooperate and provide the unauthorized person access to a restricted area. This is common in many organizations, because there are always people such as delivery guys from different institutions dropping packages and interacting with unaware users, creating a level of comfort and making it a routine.
Once again, technology such as swiping cards to get into elevators or open doors in big organizations not always work, and this is because all it takes is, "I forgot my badge, and I am late for a meeting. Would you mind? Once again, Security Awareness Training, where the user learns the different security policies in place by the organization and is able to identify certain behaviors that might have put their organization in risk in the past.
A common solution to all lies in enhanced awareness and employee training. Companies need to include security practices as part of their job descriptions and properly train employees to think critically and react appropriately to suspicious activities. How to mitigate attacks:. The Rogue Technician: Under the guise of technicians or delivery people, stealthy social engineers walk right into organizations and can physically compromise the network. Users should always close the browser and open a new one to directly update java or Adobe from their official sites.
If users are prompted for a specific program or missing plug-in, they should close the browser and send an email to the website asking about the specific configuration issue. With over 20 years of security management in several vertical markets, Patricia Titus has been responsible for designing and implementing robust information security programs, ensuring the continued protection of sensitive corporate, customer and personal information in her various positions.
Most recently, Titus served as the Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer at Freddie Mac and played a strategic role in the protection and integrity of Freddie Mac's information assets while transforming the information security program including the identity and access management program. Titus is also a member of the Visual Privacy Advisory Council. While several technical solutions are available to prevent social engineering attacks, the weakest link is often The human.
Only through rigorous training, education, and testing can you achieve a successful defense to this growing problem. Common digital social engineering techniques are ones that trick or con our employees to provide information that leads to information reconnaissance, gaining access to systems, or criminal behavior including fraud. To prevent social engineering attacks, start by addressing people, process, and technology, and taking the following steps into consideration:.
The technology selection is very diverse and specific to the data you need to protect from social engineering. You create your own circumstances in security by the choices you make. It's the law of sowing and reaping: both actions and inactions will get you results.
I recently wrote a piece for SearchExchange. I educate my staff about the commonly used social engineering tactics and keep them abreast of ongoing scams.
So far, we have had no incidents, even though we have had a couple of attempts on our admissions staff. Over the three years since I have been doing this, We have had three near-misses that were reported to me immediately and nipped. I don't do testing or any other inspection before the fact. My staff have proven that they are aware enough to inform me of anything that seems suspicious. We Rule with an iron fist, no human interaction at all, the only way to prevent it.
Seems to me you really need to have drills once in a while -- have a guy call in from an outside line and say he's with the ISP and he just needs them to help him out for a minute, or whatever, try the standard social engineering tricks and see what you hit on. We are a huge organization and we are having security issues within the business, losing customer data, fraud, breaches of security and a general overload of roles within teams.
We need to reduce the amount of roles. I'm hoping for some advice on what the possible implications to this could be. All, it is all about educating your staff. Social engineering is heavily underestimated and possibly the biggest security issue any company may have. There are education programs for staff or even better there are platforms like phishline.
PhishLine has a great tool that delivered attack simulation across all social-engineering vectors and provides the data and robust reporting focused mostly on enterprise customers, Governmental organizations and Financial Institutions. But also for the high-end SMB market who are facing the same issues. It is all about education and control. Puts posters with examples and warnings. Runs lunch-and-learn meetings now and then. Sends email reminders. It'd be cool if they also fake one of those phishing emails and later announce "winners" who clicked or provided some data :.
There's also "vishing", from "voice phishing", when one receives a call or voice mail prompting for certain actions. Quite recently I received a voice mail from "revenue agency" that my bank account has been locked, and I have to email my last year's tax assessment ASAP. The trick is - that document has tons of personal information that can be used for further attacks or identity theft. Powered by:. Search Cloud Security How to build and maintain a multi-cloud security strategy When using multiple cloud service providers, it's critical to consider your enterprise's cloud scope and the specifics of each Complexity requires new cloud-based patch management strategies Patch management for cloud creates new challenges than traditional in-house programs.
VPN: How do they compare? How does 5G network slicing work, and what are the benefits? Edge computing use cases must be driven by business value For Schneider Electric and many other large enterprises that take a look at edge computing projects, the main criterion for Zoho adds new Zoho One features, management application Zoho One customers can now make phone calls using Zoho's telephony platform, extend provisioning through custom apps and use the Search Cloud Computing Enterprises want more cloud transparency Cloud providers have improved the visibility into their platforms, but enterprises still need more information about what goes on Evaluate Azure Cost Management updates post-Cloudyn acquisition Microsoft users have seen a number of improvements to the Azure Cost Management tool -- but there are still concerns about its Computer Weekly.