What is social engineering?

Social engineering refers to the use of psychological manipulation techniques to trick people into divulging sensitive information or performing actions that may not be in their best interest. This can include tactics such as deception, persuasion, intimidation, or exploitation of human emotions, such as greed or trust.

Social engineering attacks can take many different forms, including phishing scams, pretexting, baiting, and more. In a phishing scam, for example, an attacker may send a fraudulent email or message that appears to be from a trusted source, such as a bank or an online service provider, and request that the recipient provide sensitive information, such as login credentials or financial information. In pretexting, an attacker may impersonate a legitimate authority figure, such as a law enforcement officer or IT support representative, to gain the trust of the victim and extract sensitive information.

Social engineering attacks can be particularly effective because they exploit human vulnerabilities and are often difficult to detect. To protect against social engineering attacks, individuals should be cautious when providing sensitive information or performing actions based on requests received through email or other digital channels. It is important to verify the legitimacy of the request through independent means, such as a phone call or visiting the official website of the organization in question. Additionally, education and awareness training can help individuals recognize and avoid common social engineering tactics.