Cybersecurity has been a major concern for as long as the Internet has been around, and with numerous threats from a huge range of factors, it’s essential companies are fully protected against intrusions. Social engineering presents unique challenges to businesses, as firewalls, managed switches, repeated password changes and even encryption all go to waste if an employee is persuaded to give up their username and password. It’s important that you train your staff to spot and flag attempts at social engineering. 

How Does Social Engineering Work? 

Any system that is designed to be accessed has the cyber equivalent of a key. You distribute these keys to staff, and they can unlock parts of the system — or even the full system, depending on their authorization. In some instances, cyberhackers can attempt to guess the key, either brute-forcing it or simply running a list of the top thousand passwords across all known logins (usually emails). But there are numerous ways to defend against that automatically. 

Hackers instead attempt to persuade staff members to give up information. In some cases, they might pose as a friend, sometimes using a hacked email account. They might send out an email with malware, or perhaps include a download that has a malicious link. 

Alternatively, they might pretend to be from a school or even your own IT department, asking for confirmation of the password and username for a particular system. An email purporting to be from your boss might ask you to click a link or log in to a dummy website with your username and password. 

In most cases, hackers attempt to create a sense of urgency regarding the email. This reduces your time to think, and you might not notice subtle details such as name being misspelled, the email header being incorrect or major details being wrong. 

The Bottom Line 

Social engineering is designed to be subtle, but it’s important you have a robust, practical response to it. Your staff needs to understand issues with social engineering and how it can affect them. At SIQ, we test employees’ susceptibility to social engineering and identify weaknesses in processes, procedures, and technology with a clear path to remediation, keeping your business secure and your data safe. Talk to us today regarding our comprehensive services.