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Social Engineering Attacks: A Complete Step by Step Guide


What Is Social Engineering?

Social Engineering is techniques used by cybercriminals to gain your confidence to trick you giving them your personal details such as your account credentials so they can gain complete access to your accounts, device or network. these attacks can be performed anywhere where human interaction is involved. In addition, many individuals don’t easily realize the value of personal details and maybe not sure of how to protect that information from such attacks.

How Social Engineering Works?

Social Engineering Attacks are considered as the first approach in most of the attacks as its easier to exploit by your trust in someone help in discovering different ways to hack into your account, system or network.
For Example, its always considered to trick someone into giving you their password than actually  hacking  into servers and retrieve the password

Almost Every Cyber Attacks usually consist of social engineering attacks such as Phishing Email which is used to convince someone they are from a legitimate source like [email protected] or from someone trusted contacts which are usually containing an attachment with a virus which can infect your system and gain complete access to your system or network.

What Are Different Types Of Social Engineering Attacks?

Different types of Social engineering attacks that can be performed anywhere where human interaction is involved. The following below are the most popular social engineering attacks.

Phishing Attack

Phishing Attack is one of the most popular social engineering attacks types used by attackers, an attacker usually send phishing scams such as a text message or email which makes a person curious to click on malicious links or mail attachments that contain malware which give an attacker complete access to system or network of the victim.
Most Phishing attack has these characteristics such as

  • Hacker usually embedded links or Shorten links that redirect the users to the malicious link which appear legitimate.
  • Makes the user curious, fear or sense of urgency to click on the link.
  • Most Attacks Seek information Such as name, date of birth, address, phone number, bank details, OTP (One Time Password).
  • Makes the URL of website look similar to legitimate


Pretexting is a form of social engineering attacks where hacker mainly focuses on questions that appear to be required to confirm identity and steal personal information of the victim. Most of the scam is often pretend to be the person that they need certain bits of information from their target in order to confirm their identity.

The Hacker usually starts by establishing trust with their victim by impersonating like a Police officer, Bank authorized person or someone who have the right to know. They ask questions that are generally required to confirm the victim identity, through which they gather information about the victim for the attack.

More advanced attacks of pre-texting will target to exploit the structural weaknesses of an organization

All sorts of Information is gathered using this technique such as name, date of birth, address, phone number, bank details, OTP (One Time Password).

Unlike phishing attacks which makes the user curious, fear and sense of urgency. Here pretexting attacks depends on establishing a completely false sense of trust with the victim. This requires the hacker to build a great story that leaves no doubt to the victim about the hacker.


Baiting is considered as much similar to phishing attacks in many ways, we can define Baiting attacks that are used for a fake promise to irritated curious victims. they tempt the user to fall for the trap so they can steal their personal information which is not just restricted to online but also Attackers can also focus on exploiting human curiosity with use of physical media.

Baiters most of the time offer an individual with free software or document files to downloads so can infect their system or network to gain complete access and steal the information required by them.

Baiting scams don’t necessarily have to be carried out in the physical world. Online forms of baiting consist of ads to a malicious website or download a file which is infected by malware.

Unusual Social Engineering Attacks

Unusual Social Engineering Attacks method is more complex methods used by an attacker to hack into system or network of the victim and gain the complete access.

  • Many different users receive a fake email that claimed to be from the Apple – asking the user to confirm their identity so they can refund amount – the email received seems from legitimate and many users got infected from this.
  • The attacker used CD to attack the victim which was trojan spyware infected. The CD disk is infected and given to victim which help to get access into different individuals and companies system or network.


How To Prevent Social Engineering Attacks?

To overcome the familiarity exploit, the user must be trained to not compromise familiarity with security measures. Even the people in and around familiar should prove that they have the authorization to access certain areas and information

  • To defend from intimidating circumstances attack, users must be highly trained to identify social engineering techniques that fish for the sensitive information and reject by saying no.
  • To counter any phishing techniques, many sites such as Yahoo use secured connections and encrypt data prove that what they are trained for. checking the URL may help you find fake sites. avoid responding to emails that request you for personal information
  • To tackle tailgating attacks, users must not allow others to use their security clearance to gain access to restricted areas. each user must use their own access clearance
  • To counter human curiosities, it’s better to pick up flash disks to a system admin who needs to scan for viruses or other malware on an isolated machine.
  • To tackle techniques that exploit human greed, employees must be trained not to fall to that trap.
  • Never open any emails from an untrusted source.
  • Never offers from strangers the benefit of the doubt. if they seem to be very good, they probably are phishers.
  • Lock your laptops whenever you are not at the workstation.
  • Purchase anti-virus and update it on a regular basis. No ant-virus solution can defend you 100%. It will just help you in protecting against the cyber threat.
  • Read the company’s policies terms and conditions to understand what circumstances you can let any stranger into the building.

How Can I Educate My Employees To Prevent Social Engineering?

Protection against social engineering starts with educating yourself– users must be properly trained to never click on suspicious links and always take care of their log-in credentials, even at office or home. In the events where the social tactics are successful, they are likely to result in a malware injection. To combat trojans, rootkits, and many more, It’s difficult to employ high-quality Internet security that can both eliminate infectiously and help track their source

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