Tips to Help Protect Against Social Engineering

You’ve gotten those extended car warranty calls. Or, perhaps an email alerting you of suspicious activity on your bank card? These are classic examples of social engineering. They happen every day and can take many different forms. Sadly, many people fall for them and lose substantial money. Businesses aren’t immune, either: Nearly 70% of US organizations experienced social engineering in 2020, resulting in a $2.76 million loss.

Social engineers manipulate human feelings, such as curiosity or fear, to carry out schemes and draw victims into their traps. Therefore, be wary whenever you feel alarmed by an email, attracted to an offer displayed on a website, or when you come across stray digital media lying about. Being alert can help you protect yourself against most social engineering attacks in the digital realm.

Moreover, the following tips can help improve your vigilance about social engineering hacks.

  • Don’t open emails and attachments from suspicious sources – If you don’t know the sender in question, you don’t need to answer an email. Even if you know them and are suspicious about their message, cross-check and confirm the news from other sources, such as via telephone or directly from a service provider’s site. Remember that email addresses are spoofed all of the time; even an email purportedly coming from a trusted source may have been initiated by an attacker.
  • Use multifactor authentication – One of the most valuable information attackers seek is user credentials. Using multifactor authentication helps ensure your account’s protection in the event of system compromise. 
  • Be wary of tempting offers – If an offer sounds too enticing, think twice before accepting it as fact. Googling the topic can help you quickly determine whether you’re dealing with a legitimate request or a trap.
  • Keep your antivirus/antimalware software updated – Make sure automatic updates are engaged, or make it a habit to download the latest signatures first thing each day. Periodically check to ensure that the updates have been applied, and scan your system for possible infections.
Michael Markulec

technology executive, cyber-security guru, politician, rugby player, deadhead, brewer, former army officer, crossfitter, and hard-drinking calypso poet.