There are multiple ways in which hackers and cybercriminals can access your systems. One of the most common methods involves “convincing” your employees to “give away” information. So, it doesn’t matter if you have the best security solutions in place, if your employees don’t have the necessary security training, they become the very vulnerability that hackers/cybercriminals look to exploit.
Human error has often been the root cause of security failures and other mishaps. The worst part is that human error is probably the easiest vulnerability to leverage. Hackers/cybercriminals are highly intelligent individuals and evidence of this lies in the fact that they have devised several clever and manipulative techniques to get people to do their dirty work.
One such technique involves the use of social engineering scams. Social engineering scams are scams wherein the target or victim is psychologically manipulated into performing a risky operation or giving away information.
Here are some of the most common social engineering scams that your employees are likely to come across.
Phishing is one of the oldest social engineering scams and it’s quite relevant even today. Last year, security solutions provider Kaspersky detected over 200 million phishing redirection attempts. The technique or method simply involves sending an email asking for confidential information. The emails are designed and drafted in such a way that the reader often considers it to be legitimate. So, when the email requests information, the reader often ends up giving it.
Now, phishing tactics are only getting better and are being used across a range of communication tools such as social media, SMS, and instant messengers.
To fight phishing, organizations must train employees to recognize fraudulent communications and requests. Point out the difference between real requests and phishing requests. For instance, educate your employees that financial exchanges don’t occur via email.
The W-2 Scam
W-2 social engineering scams are a specific type of phishing scam in which the employee is targeted for his/her tax records. The scammer will submit a request for information while pretending to be a person of authority, such as a tax advisor, CFO, or CEO etc.
The primary goal of the scam is to collect the necessary tax information and use it to claim refunds. An investigation of a W-2 scam can take around 5 months before conclusions are made. This is a massive amount of time to dedicate to the issue and exactly why being aware is more important.
When you have the necessary knowledge, you can easily prevent yourself from being exploited. So, make sure your employees are also made aware of such scams.
Social media phishing
In this type of phishing, cybercriminals use social media to target employees. They pretend to be legitimate contacts, such as a friend or a distant relative. The exact method involves sending a mail that draws in the target with a notification about their social media profile. The employee is then manipulated into logging in, which results in the login credentials being divulged.
Once the credentials are exposed, the hacker can use the information for all other accounts that respond to the same.
Prevention is the best protection
As you can see, there are creative ways in which hackers acquire sensitive data. So, the only solution is to train employees on how to identify such social engineering scams and avoid sharing information without verification.
However, setting up IT security protocols can be tough. But, employers can always rely on the services of a managed IT service provider such as Totality Services, a trusted name for IT support in London.