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How to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks on Small Business

Prevent Social Engineering Attacks on Small Business

What is Social Engineering

Social Engineering can occur when a friend or a trusted source manipulates a user into giving them sensitive information. The phrase “social engineering” refers to a wide range of harmful behavior. ​​First, the attacker researches the target and learns about their behaviors and vulnerabilities, preparing them for the following stage: communicating with the victim. There are different stages that the attacker may take and will ultimately get the information they want. In this article, we will concentrate on the five most typical attack types that attackers use to select their targets for this article. These include baiting, quid pro quo, tailgating, phishing, and pretexting.

Types of Social Engineering Attacks

Once the attacker obtains the target’s information, they might use that knowledge to plan an attack. If the attack is successful, the attacker can get their hands on sensitive information such as the victim’s bank account, social security number, address, and phone number. As mentioned above, there are five different types of attacks that happen:


Phishing is the practice of sending a fake email that looks legitimate to fool the recipient into disclosing personal information or convincing them to click on a scam. These emails are written with meticulous attention to detail to persuade consumers that they are authentic. According to Tripwire, a recent phishing campaign used LinkedIn to deceive consumers into believing they had received a job offer from American Express and CVS Carepoint. If the victim clicks on the link, they are redirected to a page where their LinkedIn credentials were stolen. This is one of the many examples that phishing can happen. Others include different types of phishing like spear phishing, vishing, pop-up phishing, evil twin phishing, etc.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is when a scammer sends emails to induce the target and then gains access to the individual’s account. Usually, the scammer will pose as a trusted company, i.e., Hulu, and the user subscribing to Hulu will most likely click the link. The scammer will get the necessary information they need and infect your computer with a virus.


Vishing is also known as “voice phishing,” which is when the perpetrator uses a familiar voice to the victim (pretending to be a friend or relative) to steal information. Many will pretend to be their bank to profit financially. Additionally, they employ various techniques to obtain the target’s money, including impersonating the IRS, medicare, social security, loan and investment offers, or claiming that the victim’s credit card has been compromised.

Pop-up Phishing

The typical method of pop-up phishing is to fool a user into clicking a link by displaying an advertisement or impersonating the target’s computer’s security provider. From there, the target is forced to download malware which the attacker uses to infect, steal, and control the computer.

Evil Twin Phishing

In this attack, the hacker poses as a secure Wi-Fi connection to trick people into connecting to the network. Once the victim connects to the network, the hacker can access everything they do online (often at a location with free Wi-Fi, such as Starbucks).


We will now discuss what baiting is. When a user sends a link to a target while claiming they will receive free music, downloads, or money, this is known as baiting. Baiting can also take place inside a corporation when a hacker gives corrupted flash drives to coworkers, who subsequently steal any private information about them and the organization. Attacks that use bait have many similarities to phishing, and this particular social engineering attack gives something relevant to the victim and sets it apart from other social engineering attempts.

Quid Pro Quo

Quid pro quo attackers promise anything in return for information, similar to baiting. For instance, many fraudsters may call someone randomly and offer services like fixing technical issues. The attacker will obtain login credentials or bank account details if the victim accepts the offer. This attack sounds like baiting, but it’s pretty different. Quid pro quo provides information-gathering services without the use of any tools.


In this kind of social engineering, the scammer typically poses as someone the victim knows and asks them to verify their identification, which results in identity theft. The scammer can execute this attack by calling the victim and posing as a bank employee to ask for the victim’s credit card details.


Tailgating is when someone follows an employee into a restricted area and then gains access to the building. The attacker might also strike up a conversation to show that they are part of the company and not a stranger. This usually helps their case of being trusted enough to easily get information about the company.

Now that you’re aware of them, there are many methods you and your company can prevent these attacks. Have a multi-factor verification procedure in place when signing into accounts to stop scammers from obtaining your password and critical information. If your password is protected this way, it will be more difficult for a scammer to access your account. Installing antivirus and anti-malware software on any device you use is also a good idea. This will protect your data and stop scammers’ viruses from infiltrating your PC.

Additionally, remember never to accept services provided to you without extensive research and never to pick up the phone from a number you do not recognize. If you are unsure whether they are a legitimate business, look online and see what the reviews are. Moreover, be sure to be extra cautious when it comes to speaking with someone. Always verify a request’s authenticity by contacting the company before giving out information. That way, you don’t give out information to a scammer and give it to the right person.

It’s also critical to be aware of your surroundings in the workplace. This includes watching personnel closely and keeping an eye on anyone entering the facility. You might want to design a system to confirm visitors or employees before entering the premises.

Additionally, it will be helpful to educate staff members on cyber security and have your IT department download the appropriate firewalls to safeguard corporate data. Lastly, when employees use the point of sale system to check customers out, installing protected software is always a good idea, so data can’t be stolen from an employee or customer.
Although it may seem overwhelming, we are confident you will take the necessary precautions to guard against social engineering attempts.