Training Employees to Spot Social Engineering

spot social engineering

Social engineering is one of the newest methods hackers use to access sensitive information. Rather than attacking a system directly, this technique relies on human psychology to gain information. This method is brilliant when you think about it because it does not have to deal with going past ironclad network security. If hackers can manipulate even a single employee, they might hand over sensitive information on a silver platter, and the hackers can take control of the organization’s entire system. This is why its important for your employees to learn how to spot social engineering. 

Companies must understand that if you can’t spot social engineering it can compromise business security. Reports show that over 90% of data breaches happen because of social engineering. Phishing scams account for 54% of these cases. The good news is that there is a way to prevent social engineering threats, and that is by training employees. 

Popular Social Engineering Techniques

There is a lot to cover in training employees to spot social engineering. A logical start would be to discuss the most popular techniques so employees can recognize and avoid them.

Phishing is the most common method because it is easy to execute. It also yields positive results, at least for the hackers. This method entails sending emails that deceive victims into clicking a malicious link or divulging sensitive information without realizing it.

Pretexting is when a hacker gains the victim’s trust through a pretext or a created scenario, which is part of a larger, more convoluted social engineering attack plan. There is also the quid pro quo attack, where the hacker lures the victim into divulging information in exchange for something in return. Tailgating, or piggybacking, is a popular social engineering technique where the victim unknowingly gives the hacker access to a secure location. 

Importance of Employee Training To Spot Social Engineering

These social engineering strategies would be much easier to execute if employees were untrained and unaware of the risks involved. The damage could be monumental, as the $100 million phishing scam on Google and Facebook illustrates. From 2013 to 2015, a team of hackers sent numerous phishing emails to specific employees of Google and Facebook, telling them to deposit money into fraudulent accounts. They could collect more than $100 million from this scheme. 

Now, even if your business does not have that kind of revenue, you can still be a victim. These days, hackers are targeting small businesses on a massive scale. Every employee can also be a target, from customer service personnel to top executives, so you must conduct training across the board. 

Best Ways to Train Employees to Spot Social Engineering 

There are several methods of training your employees to spot social engineering. Traditional classroom workshops, either personal or online, are excellent for an in-depth training session. A one-time seminar is hardly enough, though, and that is why we also recommend regular refreshers. 

Unannounced phishing simulations are effective in evaluating employees based on how much they have learned. It would surprise you how so many people do well in theory but still won’t be able to tell the real deal when it is staring at them from the inbox. Being bitten once in a simulated attack will teach your employees to be more vigilant.

Final Thoughts

Organizations can achieve a high level of protection against social engineering if everyone is sufficiently aware of the risks and knows what to do in case an attack goes through. Besides the various training methods, you will implement, we strongly advise you to download our infographic, “The Top 10 Steps to Take If You Think You Have Been Hacked.” Print it out and post it on every department’s bulletin board. Be sure all your employees also get their own copy. 

For more information about social engineering and how to avoid becoming a victim, call us. We can get you up to speed on the latest preventive measures and keep your company safe from the prying eyes of cybercriminals.