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10 proven methods for businesses to prevent social engineering attacks

Social engineering attacks often use psychological manipulation to trick otherwise unaware consumers or workers into disclosing personal or sensitive data. Typically, social engineering involves email or other contact that instills in the victim a sense of urgency, fear, or other similar feelings, prompting the victim to reveal critical information, click a harmful link, or open a malicious file. Because social engineering incorporates a human aspect, organizations may find it difficult to prevent these attacks.

social engineering attacks

Attacks by social engineers have a lengthy history that predates the development of computers and the internet. But you don’t have to look back that far to uncover examples of the most successful social engineering attacks.

There are many different ways that social engineering risks can manifest themselves, including watering hole websites, phishing scams, real-world baiting, whaling attacks, pretexting, and quid pro quo attacks.

Despite the fact that social engineering security risks will always exist, they can be significantly minimized by taking preventative measures to stop social engineering attacks.

What Is a Social Engineering Attack?

Social engineering attacks often use the following steps:

  • Research: The attacker identifies victims and selects an attack tactic.
  • Engage: The attacker initiates contact and begins the trust-building process.
  • The attack begins, and the attacker collects the payload.
  • The Escape: The attacker flees the scene and ends the attack.

An email, social media, phone, or in-person social engineering attack can all be used. The approaches, however, are identical regardless of the channel through which the assault is carried out. The attacker will act as someone who has a real need for information, such as an IT worker who needs someone to “check their login credentials,” or a new employee who desperately needs an access token but doesn’t know how to obtain one.

Top 10 Ways to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks

1. Multi-Factor Authentication

Never rely on just one factor; even the simplest action will ensure the security of your account. Security is assured by the password, of course, but we now recognize that they are insufficient on their own. It is much simpler for another person to predict your password and access your accounts.

prevention of Social Engineering Attacks

Social Engineering can be used to gain access to the passwords. It is necessary to perform multi-factor authentication, which may involve using an OTP number, security questions, or biometric access.

2. Continuously Monitor Critical System

Ensure that your system, which contains critical information, is being watched over 24 hours a day. Trojans are one type of exploiting technique that occasionally relies on the system, which is weak. Web application scanning can be used to check both internal and external systems for vulnerabilities in your system.

Additionally, you should do a social engineering engagement at least once a year to see whether your staff may be vulnerable to social engineering risks. If phony domains are discovered, they can be immediately removed to prevent copyright violations online.

3. Utilize Next-Gen cloud-based WAF

Although your company likely currently uses a firewall, a next-generation web application cloud-based firewall is specifically created to provide the highest level of security against social engineering assaults. The online WAF is considerably dissimilar to the conventional WAF that most businesses use.

Despite the fact that social engineering threats rely on human error, it will thwart attempts and notify you of any attempted malware installations. One of the best strategies to stop social engineering assaults and any possible penetration is to use risk-based WAF.

4. Verify Email Sender’s Identity

The most common technique used in scams is to pose as a reliable entity in order to steal victims’ personal information. Attackers often send emails that look like they are sent by a source you trust, such as a credit card firm, bank, a social media site, or online retailer, especially in phishing attacks. The emails frequently present a convincing narrative to persuade you to click on the fake link.

Contact the alleged source of the email message and ask them to confirm whether they actually sent the message in order to safeguard against this type of social engineering threats. Keep in mind that trustworthy banks won’t email you asking for your authorized credentials or private information.

5. Identify your critical assets which attract criminals

Many businesses place a high priority on safeguarding their assets from the standpoint of their operations.

That may not always be how a hacker chooses to target your business. They always aim for the things that are valuable to them.

Examine the assets outside of your business, service, or intellectual property as you assess from the attacker’s point of view and decide what needs to be protected.

6. Check for SSL Certificate

Even if attackers eavesdrop on your interaction, they won’t be able to access the information because data, emails, and other forms of communication are encrypted. By getting SSL certificates from reputable authorities, this can be easily accomplished.

Additionally, you should carefully check the website before providing any important information. Examine the URLs to confirm the legitimacy of the website. Websites that begin with https:// can be trusted as secure and encrypted. Websites beginning with http://, an unsecure connection.

7. Penetration Testing

The most successful strategy for preventing social engineering attacks is to run a pen-test to find and try to exploit weaknesses in your business. Your staff and the types of social engineering attacks you may be vulnerable to can be determined if your pen-tester is successful in putting your important system in danger.

8. Check and Update your Security Patches

To gain unauthorized access to your data, cybercriminals typically hunt for holes in your app, software, or networks. Always keep your security patches up to date and make sure that your web browsers and systems are running the most recent versions as a preventative step.

This is due to the fact that whenever security flaws are discovered, businesses respond by releasing security updates. By keeping up with the most recent release, you may assure a cyber-resilient environment while also lowering the likelihood of cyberattacks.

9. Enable Spam Filter

Block access to those who pose a security hazard through social engineering by enabling spam filters. Your inboxes are safeguarded from social engineering assaults by spam filters, which provide essential services.

Spam filters are typically provided by email service providers and retain emails that are deemed questionable. With spam tools, you can easily categorize emails and avoid the dreadful responsibilities of recognizing suspicious emails.

10. Pay Attention to Your Digital Footprint

Social media oversharing of personal information can provide these crooks with more data to work with. For example, if you store your CV online, you might want to think about hiding your home address, phone number, and date of birth. For attackers who are preparing a social engineering threat, all that knowledge is helpful.

We advise you to keep your social media privacy settings set to “friends only” and to think carefully before posting anything online.

How to Recognize the Majority of Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering attacks are only predictable in that they all follow a similar pattern. This implies that if you recognize the red flags, you can rapidly determine if someone is attempting to defraud you online.

So, what should you look for if you believe you’ve been attacked?

Check emails thoroughly for names, addresses, and copy

Check for misspellings and grammar errors if you receive a questionable email.

Does the email address resemble a contact in your address book, but differ slightly? For example, “” differs from “”

Identify frequent phishing email topic lines

Each and every phishing email employs an attractive and emotionally-charged subject line to entice its targets.

Among the most effective subject lines to watch for are the following:

  • Notice: Your online account was accessed
  • IRS Tax Transcript
  • Celebrate Mom this Sunday with an exquisite $29.96 bouquet
  • Service cancellation [date]
  • Confirmation for your delivery
  • FBI letter of notification [code 210]
  • Incoming fax
  • Notice of payment
  • Treat as urgent and get back to me
  • Re: Your installation
  • Your phone number

Never open emails sent by unknown senders. Also, never open messages in your spam folder.

Slow down and evaluate any feelings elicited by the message.

Social engineering assaults exploit human instincts including trust, excitement, anxiety, greed, and curiosity.

Before acting on a strong reaction to an email or online offer, take a moment to consult your better judgment.

Credible reps will never make you feel frightened, degraded, or rushed to make a decision. And if a deal seems too good to be true, you should search for the catch.

Verify the identity of someone you do not personally recognize.

If you receive a phone call from an impostor or believe that a colleague’s email account has been hacked, it is essential to act on your concerns.

A reputable agent will never request sensitive information by telephone or email. Your identity will be validated using a security question that you choose beforehand. You can directly contact the bank or entity impersonated to confirm the legitimacy of the interaction.

Never pay a ransom, and report the FBI about ransomware.

If you pay hackers to restore your files or stolen data, they will continue to utilize similar attacks to generate income.

If you suspect you’ve been affected by ransomware, you should:

  • For assistance, contact your local FBI field office or submit a tip online.
  • File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI (IC3).

If your identity has been stolen, you may be required to submit a police report and notify the Federal Trade Commission at


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