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What is Social Engineering and Why Should You Care?

What is Social Engineering and Why Should You Care?

In the world of information technology, social engineering is proving to be the most elusive, conniving method of cyberattack in the cybercriminal’s arsenal today.

In its strictest definition, social engineering refers to the psychological manipulation of humans into initiating or completing certain actions. It is usually the first of many steps in a much more complex scheme of cyberattack, and often acts as the gateway for cybercriminals to gain access to a corporate network.

Social Engineering as a Human Hacking Technique

Social engineering is also sometimes referred to as “human hacking,” since the ultimate end game usually targets passwords, bank information, and personal information. Sometimes, as is the case with ransomware, the desired result is access to a computer for the purpose of installing malicious software that will lock down valuable files and folders hostage until a ransom is paid.

Cybercriminals deploy social engineering tactics for the same reasons they use brute force methods of cyberattack: it’s easy, it’s inexpensive, and it often provides a great ROI for the efforts. For example, it’s much easier to convince an unsuspecting employee to click on an infected email attachment than it is to hack into a corporate network. As long as there are people willing to click on an email attachment or download a file from a person they feel they can trust, phishing emails, ransomware, and other social engineering techniques will be part of cyber warfare.

When it comes to today’s ultra-connected lifestyle, cybersecurity is about knowing who and what you can trust with valuable personal information. Personal security, in part, means knowing when and when not to take a person at their word, when to trust that a person is who they say they are, and when to trust whether a website or an email attachment is legitimate. It can mean the difference between whether providing your personal or financial information can have disastrous consequences.

The Weakest Link In Any Cybersecurity Campaign is the Human Element

Most IT security pros will agree that the human element is the weakest link when it comes to the ultimate security of a corporate network. It doesn’t matter how much physical security you attempt to install to protect the perimeter: all the deadbolts, locks, alarms, flood lights, barbed wire fences, and armed security personnel in the world aren’t going to stop a sophisticated cybercriminal from infiltrating your system. When you trust the person at your corporate gates to be who he says he is—and you neglect to confirm and/or verify his credentials—you are exposing yourself to whatever risks he might represent.

Intrinium Social Engineering and Security Awareness Assessment Module

Intrinium’s Social Engineering module offers invaluable insight into the elusive attacks launched by these conniving criminals. The experts at Intrinium designed the Social Engineering module to comprehensively assess the security awareness of your employees. In the program, Intrinium will conduct the following Social Engineering audits:

  • Intrinium’s Social Engineering team pose as internal IT staff or authorized third-party consultants to attempt to gain access to sensitive areas of the organization’s infrastructure without providing proper authentication.
  • Intrinium’s staff perform an email-based attack attempting to entice employees into opening or downloading an attachment from an external email address.
  • Intrinium will launch a fictitious spear phishing campaign to include targeted emails and/or phone calls to specific employees to attempt to gain information or network access.
  • Intrinium’s Social Engineering experts perform telephone-based testing of overall employee awareness. Intrinium’s staff will contact your employees using sophisticated techniques to request passwords and other sensitive information over the phone.

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