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6 Things You Should know About Social Engineering

This article is explaining Whole concept of  Social Engineering Pen Testing, There skills and Behaviors at risk of Attacks etc.

Social Engineering Infography-infosavvy

 What is Social Engineering Pen Testing?

Considering that you just are now familiar with all the mandatory concepts of social engineering, techniques to perform social engineering, and countermeasures to implement various threats, we are going to proceed to penetration testing. Social engineering pen testing is that the process of testing the target’s security against social engineering by simulating the actions of an attacker.

This section describes social-engineering pen testing and also the steps to conduct the test.The main objective of social-engineering pen testing is to check the strength of human factors during a security chain within the organization. Social-engineering pen testing helps to lift the extent of security awareness among employees. The tester should demonstrate extreme care and professionalism within the social engineering pen test, because it might involve legal issues like violation of privacy, and will lead to an embarrassing situation for the organization.

Pen Tester Skills:
  •  Good interpersonal skills
  •  Good communication skills
  •  Creative
  •  Talkative and friendly
 Social Engineering Concepts

There is no single security mechanism that can protect from social-engineering techniques employed by attackers. Only educating employees on a way to recognize and answer social-engineering attacks can minimize attackers’ chances of success. Before going ahead with this module, let’s first discuss various social engineering concepts.

This section describes social-engineering, frequent targets of social-engineering, behaviors susceptible to attacks, factors making companies susceptible to attacks, why  It’s effective, and phases of a social-engineering attack.

Learn more in practical about network sniffing by becoming an EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker from Infosavvy, Mumbai

“Social engineering bypasses all technologies, including firewalls.”

What are the Common Targets of Social Engineering?

A social engineer uses the vulnerability of human nature as their best tool, usually, people believe and trust others and derive fulfillment from helping the needy.

Discussed below are the foremost common targets of social engineering in an organization:

Receptionists and Help-Desk Personnel: Social engineers generally target service-desk or help-desk personnel of the target organization by tricking them into divulging tip about the organization. To extract information, like a number or a password, the attacker first wins the trust of the individual with the data. On winning their trust, the attacker manipulates them to induce valuable information. Receptionists and help-desk staff may readily share information if they feel they’re doing so to assist a customer,

Technical Support Executives: Another target of social-engineers are technical support executives, The social-engineers may take the approach of contacting technical support executives to get sensitive information by pretending to be a senior management, customer, vendor, and so on.

System Administrators: A computer user in a company is chargeable for maintaining the systems and thus he/she may have critical information like the sort and version of OS, admin passwords, and so on, that would be helpful for an attacker in planning an attack.

Users and Clients: Attackers could approach users and clients of the target organization, pretending to be a tech support person to extract sensitive information.

Vendors of the Target Organization: Attackers can also target the vendors of the organization to realize critical information that would be helpful in executing other attacks.

common target of SE-infosavvy

What are the Impact of Social Engineering Attack on Organization?

It doesn’t seem to be a significant threat, but it can cause heavy losses for organizations.

The impact of social engineering attack on organizations includes:

Economic Losses: Competitors may use this techniques to steal sensitive information like development plans and marketing strategies of a takeover target , which may result into a economic loss to the takeover target .

Damage to Goodwill: For a corporation, goodwill is very important for attracting customers. Social engineering attacks may damage that goodwill by leaking sensitive organizational data.

Loss of Privacy: Privacy could be a major concern, especially for large organizations. If a company is unable to keep up the privacy of its stakeholders or customers, then people can lose trust within the company and should discontinue the business association with the organization. Consequently, the organization could face losses.

Dangers of Terrorism: Terrorism and anti-social elements pose a threat to an organization’s assets – people and property. Terrorists may use this techniques to create blueprints of their targets to infiltrate their targets,

Lawsuits and Arbitration: Lawsuits and arbitration end in negative publicity for a corporation and affects the business’s performance.

Temporary or Permanent Closure: This attacks can result in loss of goodwill. Lawsuits and arbitration may force a short lived or permanent closure of a company and its business activities.

Behaviors at risk of Attacks
  • Natural human tendency to trust others is that the basis of any social engineering attack
  • Ignorance about social engineering and its effects on the workforce makes the organization a simple target
  • Fear of severe losses just in case of non-compliance with the social-engineer’s request
  • Social engineers lure the targets to divulge information by promising something for nothing (greediness)
  • Targets are asked for help and that they fits as an ethical duty

What are the Factors that Make Companies liable to Attacks?

Insufficient Security Training: Employees are often ignorant about this tricks employed by an attacker to lure them into divulging sensitive data about the organization. Therefore, the minimum responsibility of any organization is to teach their employees about this techniques and also the threats related to them to stop this attacks.

Unregulated Access to the data: For any company, one among the most assets is its database. Providing unlimited access or allowing everyone an access to the sensitive data might land them in trouble. Therefore, companies must ensure proper surveillance and training to key personnel accessing the sensitive data.

Several Organizational Units: Some organizations have their units at different geographic locations making it difficult to manage the system. On the opposite hand, it becomes easier for an attacker to access the organization’s sensitive information.

Lack of Security Policies: Security policy forms the muse of security infrastructure. it’s a high-level document describing the safety controls implemented in a very company. a company should take extreme measures related to every possible security threat or vulnerability. Implementation of certain security measures, like password change policy, information sharing policy, access privileges, unique user identification, and centralized security, prove to be beneficial.

Why is Social Engineering Effective?

Like other techniques, It does not affect network security issues instead; it deals with the psychological manipulation of the individual to extract desired information.

Following are the reasons why social engineering continues to be effective:

  • Despite various security policies, preventing socially engineering may be a challenge because persons are most susceptible to variation.
  • It is challenging to detect social engineering attempts. It is  the art and science of manipulating people into divulging information. And using this trick, attackers sneak into an organization’s vault of data ,
  • No method guarantees complete security from This attacks.
  • No specific hardware or software is obtainable to safeguard from this attacks,
  • This approach is relatively easy to implement and free of cost.

“Social Engineering – The art of replacing what works with what sounds good.

-Thomas Sowell”

What are the different Phases of a Social Engineering Attack?

 Research on Target Company: Before attacking the target organization’s network, an attacker gathers sufficient information to infiltrate the system. It is one such technique that helps in extracting information, Initially, the attacker carries out research to gather basic information about the target organization like the nature of the business, location, number of employees, and so on. While researching, the attacker indulges in dumpster diving, browsing the company’s website, finding employee details, and so on.

Selecting Target: After research, the attacker selects his target to extract sensitive information about the organization. Usually, attackers try and strike a chord with disgruntled employees because it’s easier to control them and extract information.

Develop the relationship: Once the target is identified, the attacker builds a relationship therewith employee to accomplish his/her task.

Exploit the relationship: Next step is to exploit the connection and extract sensitive information about the accounts, finance information, technologies in use, and upcoming plans.


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