Episode 2: Social Engineering -Introduction

“The one thing that everyone seems to agree upon is that social engineering is generally a hacker’s clever manipulation of the natural human tendency to trust.”   from Social engineering fundamentals Part 1 by  Sarah Granger in 2001

Our goal as we begin the blog and podcast journey is to empower our readers and listeners to feel confident in their ability to recognize a scam and protect themselves and others.

Social engineering is the use of deception, manipulation, fear and uncertainty to  steal personal information or commit fraud.  There are many social engineering tactics including phishing, baiting, tailgating, watering hole, pretexting and more. We will discuss these tactics and others in more detail in future posts and podcasts.

Why does social engineering work?

 It works because it draws on the nature of humans to trust and to fear. Many people grew up being taught to trust others to be honest. When we see things and people in situations that we have seen often before we trust that the outcome will be the same. For example the person wearing a brown uniform with a hand truck usually is a UPS delivery person. We have had multiple positive experiences with UPS employees wearing brown and using a hand truck  coming in to our office to pick up our packages. We are susceptible to being deceived if someone matching that description comes into our office. We don’t ask for credentials or validate UPS employment because of our past experiences.

A trick that is used in social engineering is building a sense of urgency in the communication.  If we don’t respond immediately someone will be put in danger. As humans we want to avoid danger for ourselves and others. The scammers and hackers use this tendency and insist something bad will happen if we don’t follow their instructions immediately.

The first thing to do is slow down. Stop the call and verify the agency using a published phone number – not the one given from the potential scammer.   Look up the agency or company in the phone book or from their official website.

Second, NEVER give out personal information or financial information on a call. Don’t allow someone access to your computer.

It is important to understand in our digital world how the criminals work in order to keep ourselves secure. As we explore the ways to protect ourselves, we invite you to join us each week.

Be safe out there in our digital world!

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