A common misconception most people have about cyber attackers is that they use only highly advanced tools and techniques to hack into people’s computers or accounts. This is simply not true. Cyber attackers have learned that often the easiest way to steal your information, hack your accounts, or infect your systems is by simply tricking you into making a mistake. In this newsletter, you will learn how these attacks, called social engineering, work and what you can do to protect yourself.
What Is Social Engineering?
Social engineering is a psychological attack where an attacker tricks you into doing something you should not do. The concept of social engineering is not new; it has existed for thousands of years. Think of scammers or con artists, it is the very same idea. What makes today’s technology so much more effective for cyber attackers is you cannot physically see them; they can easily pretend to be anything or anyone they want and target millions of people around the world, including you. In addition, social engineering attacks can bypass many security technologies. The simplest way to understand how these attacks work and protect yourself from them is to take a look at two real-world examples.
You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from a computer support company, your ISP, or Microsoft Tech Support. The caller explains that your computer is actively scanning the Internet. They believe it is infected and have been tasked with helping you secure your computer. They then use a variety of technical terms and take you through confusing steps to convince you that your computer is infected. For example, they may ask you to check if you have certain files on your computer and walk you through how to find ..