A social engineering attack is a form of manipulation in which an attacker deceives individuals into divulging confidential information, performing certain actions, or compromising their security, often without their awareness or consent. Unlike traditional hacking that focuses on exploiting technical vulnerabilities, social engineering attacks exploit human psychology, trust, and behavior to achieve their goals. These attacks target the weakest link in any security system: the human element.
Social engineering attacks can take various forms and can occur in both physical and digital environments. Below are some common types of social engineering attacks.
This involves sending fraudulent emails, messages, or communications that impersonate trusted entities (such as banks, social media platforms, or coworkers) to trick recipients into revealing sensitive information, clicking on malicious links, or downloading malware.
Attackers create a fabricated scenario or pretext to manipulate victims into providing personal information or performing actions they normally wouldn’t, such as divulging passwords or granting access.
Attackers offer something enticing, like a free software download or a USB drive, which contains malware that infects the victim’s system when used.
Attackers pose as someone in authority, such as a company executive or an IT technician, to manipulate victims into complying with their requests.
Quid Pro Quo
Attackers promise something in exchange for information or access, such as offering IT support in exchange for login credentials.