Social engineering attacks: prevention and best practices [Infographic]

Social engineering attacks: prevention and best practices [Infographic]
image of the characteristic of social engineering attacks

Social engineering attacks have become commonplace against businesses over the years. In fact, it has become more and more sophisticated.

DevOps experience

Needless to say, there is no ‘stop signal’ for cybercrime anytime soon. Instead, hackers have come up with more creative ways to trick employees and people into sharing sensitive credentials with them.

It is high time that businesses did the right research and use the right tools to stay one step ahead of scammers.

This infographic will cover what social engineering is and the best practices to avoid falling victim to the most common social engineering attacks.

What is social engineering

Social engineering is a cyberattack in which criminals psychologically manipulate unsuspecting users into making security mistakes and disclosing their confidential information.

Social engineering involves the criminal using human emotions such as fear, curiosity, greed, anger, etc. to trick victims into clicking malicious links or performing physical tailgating attacks.

Social engineering attackers have one of two purposes:

Common social engineering attack techniques

Here’s a quick rundown of the most common social engineering scams used against modern businesses and individuals.


Phishing is the most common and successful form of social engineering attack. The fraudster uses trickery and deception through email, chat, web advertising, or website to persuade a person or organization to expose their personal information and other valuables.

For example, the fraudster may claim to represent a bank, government organization, or large corporation that the naive victim trusts. The source can be an email asking recipients of the email to click a link to sign in to their accounts. They are then redirected to a fake, seemingly legitimate website, and that’s where the attack takes place.

passwords are dead white paper


Spear Phishing is another form of social engineering in which the fraudster researches the personal and professional life of the victim in order to establish the right pretext.

For example, the fraudster may reveal to the victim that he is preparing a surprise birthday party for a friend and that he is looking for help to organize it.


Baiting is when the fraudster uses greed or curiosity to trick the victim with false promises and trick them into handing over their login credentials.

For example, the fraudster may leave a genuine-looking USB drive (or bait) infected with malware in the least suspicious area such as a business bathroom or elevator. The bait will also have attractive labels like a payroll or evaluation list that will be tempting enough to insert on a computer.


Tailgating occurs when a person without proper authentication enters a restricted area, physically bypassing the security measures in place.

For example, the attacker can strike up conversations with an employee in the lobby or parking lot and use familiarity to enter office premises and walk past the front desk.


Scareware is a malicious tactic where the fraudster perceives a threat to trick users into visiting malware infected sites and purchasing malware.

Examples include PC health checker programs and antivirus updates that trick victims into purchasing diagnostic and repair services that they don’t need.

Warning signs of social engineering attacks

One of the best ways to protect yourself from social engineering is to understand the warning signs and avoid attacks. Here are some of the warning signs:

  • Request immediate assistance.
  • Ask to verify your information.
  • Acting in a way that is too friendly or enthusiastic.
  • Act nervous when the meter is questioned.
  • Emphasize details.
  • Lure with offers that are too good to be true.
  • Threaten reprimands if their demands are ignored.

Best Practices for Preventing Social Engineering Attacks

Be careful what you share. And no, you don’t have to be paranoid about these attacks. Preventing them is possible. Here are a few ways to help.

  • Set spam filters to high. Every email program has spam filters. To find out, take a close look at your tuning options and set them too high. This will go a long way in helping you stay away from spam messages.
  • Never use the same password for different accounts. If the attacker seizes an account, he can also hack other accounts.
  • Use two-factor or multi-factor authentication. The password is no longer sufficient to secure your account. Additional layers are simply crucial. It could be a security question, a captcha, fingerprint or SMS confirmation codes.
  • If in doubt, change passwords immediately. If you think you gave your password to a spammer, immediately change all of your passwords.
  • Train employees. Knowledge is the key. Keep your employees up to date with the latest social engineering threats and help them exercise the necessary caution, whenever necessary.

To learn more about social engineering attacks – prevention and best practices, check out the infographic created by LoginRadius.


*** This is a Syndicated Identity Blog Security Bloggers Network blog written by lrshivangini. Read the original post at:

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James F. So