While there are best practices and technological means to prevent attacks and detect malware, social engineering can be more challenging to identify what to look for or predict what an attack might look like. This is why social engineering is so practical. If a web server is fortified against entries, no matter how often someone tries to enter, it always gets the same result.
By playing with human nature, potential spoilers can target everyone in the organization. Although most people are trained not to be a victim of these attacks, a bad boy only needs someone who is not careful and who publishes essential information. Let’s take away at some of the red flags that users (and even IT professionals) should recognize, user training tips, and some guidelines and procedures to implement against social engineering tactics.
Red flags: Proceed with caution
Most employees are not sure how sensitive certain information can be. It becomes apparent when we see how many people write their passwords on sticky notes or how willing they are to share all their credentials with anyone who calls and claims to be technical support. Keeping this type of information hide should be repeated regularly. The load should not rest only on the shoulders of each employee. Employees who have to change their passwords too often are easier to forget, and therefore easier to type. It is beneficial to make it clear to users that there are few circumstances in which they must share their credentials. Edward Snowden even let NSA employees deliver theirs to them if someone asks for your password, red flag!
Many tricks are used in social engineering to access a network. In one case, the USB keys were left lying in the parking lot. A curious employee took one and put it on to see what it contained!
In addition to issuing guidelines for the use of their own unauthorized devices, users should be aware that they are wary of USB sticks or other “lost” devices and make them a specific person in management or IT. Of course, we all know how devastating it would be if an entire network were compromised by malware. Here too, IT can easily mitigate this risk by locking systems and preventing hard drives or USB drives from working. Any WiFi must always be adequately blocked. Active filtering from unknown devices is the only way to protect your network from this type of intrusion.
Even high-security networks have been compromised during social engineering attacks. Phishing is still the most common attack method. An employee receives a mail that appears to be from a legitimate source with credible content but a malicious link or document that exploits an uncorrected vulnerability. Some phishing attempts are very bad, but some are sophisticated enough to fool even professionals. It is not precisely bulletproof to tell users to post all links and attachments with a high degree of scepticism, but it is a message that needs to be repeated regularly.
Many other methods are used, from hiring an employee in a restricted area to posing as an employee or contractor, or merely priming a reward with a reward in exchange for essential information. Employees must follow clear policies, users must be protected so that their data does not fall into the hands of an unofficial third party, and any security measure implemented by the IT department must assume that the intruder comes from within.
Training won’t help your customers
Employees are particularly vulnerable to social engineering attacks but can receive training. It is more challenging to train your clients and your clients. For this reason, any organization that provides services to external users must do everything possible to protect them from themselves. Password reset forms are a particularly vulnerable entry point. When creating online services and performing a password reset function, be very careful what you ask the user when trying to recover a lost password. Many websites ask for generally available information, things that used to be secure, like a pet’s name or previous address, which people continuously share on social media these days. Instead, try using information that keeps users secret, such as the last digits of your credit card. Any noticeable changes to a user account, such as changing a delivery address or financial information, should require additional security confirmation.
Room to improve
Many computer scientists do not like to face social attacks because they are much less predictable and more touchable to human fallibility than to the predictability of computer systems. It’s about empowering users, being sceptical, and exercising good judgment. Every part of the organization should be screened for potential security issues, from the phone and email system to the waste disposal system, where sensitive documents should always be appropriately shredded. Just as penetration testing is standard in computer networks today, employees must also undergo random testing to determine if they are following the procedures. This is a secure area where an IT department cannot do it alone. Everyone should know their role and participate in the process.