SOCIAL ENGINEERING EVALUATION
Social engineers manipulate human feelings, such as curiosity or fear, to carry out schemes and draw victims into their traps. Therefore, be wary whenever you feel alarmed by an email, attracted to an offer displayed on a website, or when you come across any stray digital media lying about. Being alert can help you protect yourself against most social engineering attacks taking place in the digital realm.
The following tips can help improve your vigilance in preventing to social engineering hacks:
- Never open emails and attachments from suspicious sources – If you don’t know the sender, you don’t need to open the email. Even if you do know them but are suspicious about the message, cross-check and confirm the email from the source itself or your IT department before opening.
- Use multi-factor authentication – Some of the most valuable information attackers seek are user credentials. Using multi-factor authentication helps ensure your account’s protection in the event of system compromise.
- Be wary of tempting offers – If an offer sounds too enticing, think twice before accepting it as fact. Googling the topic can help you quickly determine whether you’re dealing with a legitimate offer or a trap.
- Keep your antivirus/anti-malware software updated – Make sure automatic updates are engaged, or make it a habit to download the latest signatures first thing each day. Periodically check to make sure that the updates have been applied, and scan your system for possible infections.
While online training companies provide phishing test options, they are typically generic and easily spotted by staff. In other words, they’re too easy. A real hacker will take the time to customize their phishing and vishing messages to look, sound, and feel legitimate to your team. As part of our Social Engineering Evaluation, veteran security engineers at BAI create robust social engineering scenarios designed to put your team to a real-world test, not just an easy exercise. This level of evaluation for your team far better prepares them to defend your organization in the case of a real social engineering attempt.
Phishing attacks are the most common type of attacks leveraging social engineering techniques. Attackers use emails, social media and instant messaging, phone and SMS to trick victims into providing sensitive information or visiting a malicious URL in an attempt to compromise their systems.
WATERING HOLD ATTACKS:
A “watering hole” attack consists of injecting malicious code into the public Web pages of a site that targets visit. The method of injection is not new, and it is commonly used by cyber criminals and hackers.
The attackers compromise websites within a specific sector that are visited by specific individuals of interest for the attacks. Once a victim visits the page on the compromised website, a backdoor Trojan is installed on their computer. The watering hole method of attack is very common for a cyber espionage operation or state-sponsored attacks.
Whaling is another evolution of phishing attacks that uses sophisticated social engineering techniques to steal confidential information, personal data, and access credentials to restricted services/resources — specifically information with value from an economic and commercial perspective.
What distinguishes this category of phishing from others is the choice of targets: relevant executives of private business and government agencies. The word whaling is used to indicate that the target is a “big fish” to capture.
The term pretexting is the practice of presenting oneself as someone else to obtain private information. Usually, attackers create a fake identity and use it to manipulate the victim into disclosing information.
Attackers leveraging this specific social engineering technique usually adopt several identities they have created during their career. This bad habit could expose their operations to the investigations conducted by security experts and law enforcement.
The success of the pretexting attack heavily pretends on the ability’s attacker in building trust. Most advanced forms of pretexting attacks try to manipulate the victims into performing an action that enables an attacker to discover and exploit a point of failure inside an organization.
Another social engineering technique is baiting, which exploits our human curiosity. Baiting is sometimes confused with other social engineering attacks; its main characteristic is the promise of a good that hackers use to deceive the victims.
A classic example is an attack scenario in which attackers use a malicious file disguised as software update or as a generic software.
An attacker can also perform a baiting attack in the physical world; for example, planting infected USBs in the parking lot of a target organization and waiting for internal personnel to insert them in the corporate PC. The malware from the USB is then installed on the employee’s computer and will compromise the PCs, gaining full control.
QUID PRO QUO ATTACKS:
A quid pro quo attack (aka ‘something for something’ attack) is a variant of baiting and differs in that instead of baiting a target with the promise of a good, a quid pro quo attack promises a service or a benefit based on the execution of a specific action.
In a quid pro quo attack scenario, the hacker offers a service or benefit in exchange for information or access.
The most common quid pro quo attack occurs when a hacker impersonates an IT staffer for a large organization. That hacker attempts to contact via phone the employees of the target organization, then offers them some kind of upgrade or software installation.
The tailgating attack, also known as “piggybacking,” involves an attacker seeking entry to a restricted area which lacks the proper authentication.
The attacker can simply walk in behind a person who is authorized to access the area. In a typical tailgating attack scenario, a person impersonates a delivery driver or a caretaker who is packed with parcels and waits when an employee opens their door. The attacker asks that the employee hold the door, bypassing the security measures in place (i.e. Electronic access control).
Whether your organization needs a single evaluation or periodic testing, BAI Security draws on dozens of scenarios used in actual social engineering breach activity to assess your security environment and help you build a culture of security consciousness. BAI Security helps organizations identify vulnerabilities and ensure compliance through evaluations using real-world social engineering tactics.