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January 22, 2023 | By christa
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Why Social Engineering is the Easiest Way to Exploit Your Employees

Social engineering is the act of manipulating individuals to gain access to private information. It remains the most common way cybercriminals target organizations. In fact, up to 90% of all cyberattacks take place through social engineering. Why? Because it relies on human error for a job well done.

Most often, a lack of cybersecurity education coupled with the increased sophistication of hacking attacks makes this approach effective. Unfortunately, even individuals that know what to expect can be exploited.

Below, we will explain the types of social engineering attacks and dive deeper into why people often fall victim.

Common Types of Online Social Engineering

  • Baiting – using a false promise to spark someone’s curiosity. For example, an ad (coupled with a link) promising to help you earn cash “fast” with little effort. When an unsuspecting victim clicks the link, malware is introduced into their computer system.
  • Phishing – is one of the more common ways for hackers to intercept private information from a business organization. Phishing often takes place through email or texting attacks that appear to be from someone you know and trust (although scammers will also impersonate financial institutions, government entities, etc).

Phishing scams are a form of social engineering that use fear and uncertainty to trick victims into taking a desired action, such as clicking a link or submitting a document. Similar to baiting attacks, victims may unknowingly install malware onto their system by clicking a malicious link.

It is important to note that these scams can also occur offline, with scammers posing as employees or technicians to gain access to sensitive information. To protect against phishing scams, it is crucial to be vigilant and question any unexpected or suspicious requests for information.

Why These Attacks Continue to be Successful

In addition to the causes mentioned above, there are other reasons these attacks are incredibly effective. These attacks play on our emotions to achieve their results.

Humans are empathetic creatures. Our fundamental nature tells us to help those in need. So, when someone comes to us with a problem (whether in person or online) we want to help them fix it. For instance, when a cybercriminal emails us a sham link to donate to starving children, our emotional response tells us to help.

Other emotions that these attacks play on are greed, fear, and urgency.

  • Greed – “This is your last chance to win BIG.”
  • Fear – “We ran into a security issue with your system, call 111-111-1111 to avoid potential cyber threats.”
  • Urgency – “Complete this documentation NOW or you risk losing this deal.”

Let’s Get a Check on Those Emotions

Fortunately, an IT service provider like LeadingIT has the expertise to help you recognize and prevent threats. Using our managed IT services will ensure protection against social engineering attacks and help you stay up to date on the latest tactics cybercriminals are using.

Contact us today to schedule a virtual strategy session. Even if we’re not the right fit for you, our promise is that you’ll walk away with helpful knowledge to use in the future.

LeadingIT offers 24/7, all-inclusive, fast and friendly technology and cybersecurity support for nonprofits, manufacturers, schools, accounting firms, religious organizations, government, and law offices with 20-200 employees across the Chicagoland area

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