‘Social Engineering is the technique of manipulating people into performing actions to divulge sensitive or confidential information’ – Cyber Security Guide 2013
Social media has grown considerably in recent years, not only it is a tool individuals use to interact, create, share or exchange information, it is also increasingly important for businesses to have a social presence.
However, being sociable online can come at a cost, it can be a security risk otherwise known as ‘Social Engineering’ – ‘a non-technical intrusion that is reliant on human interaction and tends to involve trickery, causing individuals to break usual security protocols’.
Social Engineering is heavily reliant on personal information and social media is a goldmine for Social Engineers looking to do harm. It relies on individuals being careless with their information and the results can be harmful to individuals as well as businesses.
Many Viruses, Phishing and Malware email attacks are now are prime Social Engineering examples. This is because they are getting more personalised and often you have to look at it twice before you realise it is not legitimate. Like CryptoLocker that disguised itself as a delivery note from popular courier companies or phishing emails disguising themselves as well-known banks.
Social Engineers also take advantage of individuals natural inclination to choose passwords that are meaningful to them and using them for a number of logins. By using meaningful passwords, paired with personal information gained from peoples online presence – it can make them easy to guess. By uploading photos of your pet, comments about a restaurant or your daily activities, it can be used by a hacker to build a picture of you.
‘12% of social media users say someone has hacked into their social network account and pretended to be them according to the 2013 Norton Report’
It is not about censuring online activity but, individuals and businesses need to understand how valuable information is, how it can be used against us and how we should take precautions to minimise the risk of social engineering.
For more information on how to defend against Social Engineering contact one of our Netshield consultants today on 0845 603 5552.