Social engineering is a type of malicious activity in which individuals utilize psychological manipulation to deceive people and gather information, allowing them to gain access to restricted systems, resources, and information. The goal of social engineering is to gain the confidence of an unsuspecting user, usually via mail, telephone, or direct contact, in order to collect vital information such as passwords and bank account numbers.
The popularity of social engineering has grown exponentially in the recent years due to the increased usage of the internet, which provides individuals with more anonymity and an array of vulnerable targets. Social engineering attacks take many forms, including phishing, vishing, baiting, and piggybacking.
Phishing entails a scammer sending out mass emails in order to obtain personal information from unsuspecting victims. Vishing involves using social engineering techniques over the telephone in order to obtain a person’s information. Baiting involves enticing users into downloading malware or undesirable software onto their computers. Piggybacking is a technique in which someone follows an authorized user through an open security door in order to gain access to restricted areas.
Individuals must be aware of the dangers associated with social engineering in order to effectively defend against them. Simple online security measures such as two-factor authentication and strong passwords can help protect against social engineering attackers. Additionally, businesses should implement proper security policies to limit access to sensitive information and regulate online activity at the organization.