Find Out Steps To Avoid Becoming A Victim Of Social Engineering Online
Many social media users are already victims of social engineering. This dangerous hacker’s tool can pose more threat to your privacy than you think. Learn more about this technique and know how to avoid some of the traps.
Social engineering is a psychological manipulation exercise initiated by fraudsters. Its aim is to get people to give up sensitive information unintentionally. Most times information gathered via this process is for fraud or unauthorised access.
It may differ from scam because it is usually one of the steps taken in running a successful scam. Security through education defined it as:
“any act that influences a person to take an action that may or may not be in their best interests.”
You as an individual may be a target of hackers so there is a need to always be on guard. Even when you are not a high net-worth person, hackers may seek to use you to gain access to someone else you are close to or your organisation.
In this time when people use social media most of the time, hackers have shifted base to this location as well. Wikipedia highlights six principles that social engineering hinges upon according to Robert Cialdini.
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These principles, in summary, are as follows:
- People always want to return a favor.
- Many are willing to honour their agreements.
- Also, when they see other people doing something, they also want to do it.
- When instruction comes from a higher figure, people are more likely to obey.
- Liked people are more persuasive than unpopular people.
- Scarcity (even when perceived) increases demand.
Hackers now popularly use phishing emails to obtain private details like banking access passwords. These days, it is easy to get people’s emails from the information they provide on their social media profiles.
Also, following people’s activity on many platforms can give enough information on what they are likely to be interested in. Making it easier to target them with certain messages.
Pretexting is also another method that is a result of social engineering. A victim of social engineering may have given enough information to a hacker that the con artist can use to impersonate or create some scenario that will make the victim or business do his or her bidding.
There are many other ways that details obtained from social engineering can be used to exploit people’s privacy. To learn more, read the Wikipedia article on this.
How to avoid being a victim of social engineering
Avoid indiscriminately giving up sensitive details online. Viral posts asking for seeming harmless list of questions may have secret sensitive questions hidden among them.
Also, a hacker may gain access to close contact’s messages and dig up private details you have shared. Sometimes, they may pose as a friend and engage you in a chat as well.
Don’t post pictures of your bank information, card details and so on online. This also includes those giveaway posts that keep asking for your bank details.
Suspect private messages asking for sensitive details. Before clicking links, ensure it is from trusted sources.
You can also keep updated on security tips by regularly reading our posts.
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