According to Kaspersky, a leading cybersecurity company, social engineering is defined as a form of techniques employed by cybercriminals designed to lure unsuspecting users into sending them their confidential data, infecting their computers with malware or opening links to infected sites. With both our personal and professional lives intertwined in the digital space, it’s more important now than ever before to take the steps necessary to make sure your sensitive information is secure.
Avoid clicking direct links in messages
Whether it be emails, text messages, or messaging apps, criminals can create convincing knockoffs of popular websites that exist solely to scam unsuspecting users. When it comes to entering sensitive information, skip the message link and go directly to the source itself.
Don’t give out sensitive information over the phone
Many scammers use direct phone calls to lure unsuspecting victims into giving up their personal information. If someone representing a company calls to ask for your personal information, take the time to call the organization yourself. This eliminates risk while also making sure that your accounts are still in good standings.
Don’t overshare on social media
While social media is a great way to connect with friends, it can make you an open book for dangerous cyber criminals around the world. By scouring your posts, hackers can gather all the information they need to find answers to account security questions. In extreme cases, social engineers pretend to be a friend or family member before asking for sensitive information. By limiting what’s shared online and using privacy measures to limit the visibility of your posts, hackers will have a harder time digging for your personal data.
Use common sense
In reality, what are the chances that a distant relative has left you a huge inheritance, your little cousin got arrested and needs bail money, or that someone would contact you directly to let you know that your computer has a virus? These are just three of the far-fetched tactics scammers use to take advantage of gullible victims. Using common sense and analyzing each situation keep you one step ahead of the scammer, keeping your information safe.
Social engineers push their victims to make decisions quickly, leaving less time to stop and think “Does this actually make any sense?” Just taking a few moments to think about what the scammer is actually asking for can go a long way in making a safer decision.
Unfortunately, like the tech industry itself, criminals are always exploring new ways to take advantage of others online. However, these five tips will help kickstart protection against social engineering attacks to protect your most sensitive information.