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Social Engineering: A cyber threat looming at large

Cybersecurity experts are calling Social Engineering a threat like never before. It is a common assumption that cyber threats target the infrastructure more than they do humans. In the future, according to predictions, this threat is continually going to rise.

What is Social Engineering?

It is a process whereby a person is made to reveal his/her sensitive information believing it to reveal where in the actual it is malicious in nature. It could be a person or even a site that can trick a user into doing so.

This threat is growing at a rapid rate. The reason cited is because hackers have grown bored or are tired of having to bypass firewalls and other technical controls that surround a company’s infrastructure. So they have devised a new strategy which is to hack the people enacting these mechanisms instead.

Since human themselves are a weak link in the whole cybersecurity landscape, hence, are easier targets.  People tend to drop their guard especially when they are on social media. In the office, people are often wary of dropping their guard. However, when they step outside of their offices, they can be whoever they want to be. By doing so, they are not only endangering their own online privacy and security aspect but also their workplace’s.

Look at the Bigger Picture

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The bigger picture is to penetrate the user first and then his/her organization.

First things first, how to spot you’re being manipulated?

Other than remaining vigilant online, there are some indicators that should be a red flag for you:

  1. The attacker will come off as a guy who’s the nicest person on the planet. Often the rule of thumb here is “if something is too good to be true, it usually is.”
  2. The attacker will always seek to isolate you so that whatever lies are being fed, you are not able to discuss this with others. the ideal way to do it is by creating a ‘us vs. them’ mentality in your head. From that point forward, you automatically begin to keep things to yourself.
  3. Be wary of any phone call or message that leave a bad taste in your mouth, gives you feelings of anxiety or stress, which is a way to make you act on your impulses, meaning, if you fail to act in a certain way, your life will be in danger. So don’t fall for it.

Understand the Difference between Social Engineering and Reality

In addition, bearing the above indicators in mind, make sure you are vigilant. let’s consider an example where you receive a phishing email. this is bound to contain a malicious link or an attachment but will appeal to your senses tremendously.

Pause and think for a moment. Question its authenticity, and ONLY then proceed.

As much as it is applicable in theory, it is far from practical. Phishing attacks are meant to drive you into thinking illogically; elements of anxiety, urgency, and excitement will ensue.

We suggest you go grab a cuppa and come to that email and you will have a different opinion about it.

Social Media Blunders to Avoid

Always monitor the privacy controls available on social media.

Just because you are not famous or do not have any scandals it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t value your privacy. The images and videos we post online are of our own free will. Thus, exercise care.

Plus, if you are profile is not private, you don’t know why or who is viewing it and for what intentions. Again, it comes down to you being vigilant.

You can either be friends with everybody on Facebook and don’t know jack about them, or you can still be friends with hundreds of people, yet know them.

Here are a few tips to abide by when on social media:

  1. Never give permission to apps that ask for your location.
  2. Keep your social media account private (all of ’em). If you wish to create a public account, monitor the content carefully.
  3. Hide the number of friends on Facebook and keep that list private. It keeps the hackers away.
  4. Only hit “Post” when you are absolutely certain that you are ready to share it with the world.

Nobody is telling you to quit social media, (that is impractical). Just try to make it difficult for the hackers to crack you.

How to Protect Yourself Online

Let us reiterate:

  1. Do a privacy checkup of your social media accounts every now and then.
  2. Perform an audit of your content circulating online. Is there anything which is too personal.
  3. Keep track of your photos and posts to make sure nothing personal is out there.
  4. Use a VPN to mask your IP address and remain anonymous to hackers. Especially, if you are on a public Wi-Fi, make sure to encrypt your connection with the help of a VPN to keep prying eyes from getting a peek at your data.

Spread awareness online by warning your friends and family by taking screenshots of phishing emails etc. Contribute in whatever manner you can to help.

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