Small business security: Explaining the basics of social engineering


More small businesses are increasing their spending and focus on cybersecurity, and rightfully so. Hackers do not discriminate and often attack small businesses, because these companies don’t spend enough on basic cybersecurity measures. In most cases, cybercriminals manage to exploit an existing cyber vulnerability, which is exactly why proactive measures are important. A considerable number of security breaches can be traced back to employees and insiders. In this post, we are discussing the basics about social engineering that small businesses need to know. 

Types of social engineering

In simple words, social engineering is just about tricking users into divulging sensitive information. This is one of the common tactics that hackers use to manipulate people, and it is surprising that businesses fall prey to such tactics. There are varied ways in which hackers can use social engineering. Here are some examples – 

  1. Baiting – Where the hacker gives a product, such as a USB device, which lures the user in installing or running the same. 
  2. Pretexting. This kind of social engineering attack involves asking for information in disguise. For instance, you may be asked for feedback on a product, but the form also insists on certain sensitive personal details. 
  3. Phishing. Probably the most serious type of social engineering, phishing typically happens through email. User is sent an email from what may look like a trusted source, asking for sensitive details. 
  4. Vishing. Vishing is all about asking for information and data on the phone. The hacker may share a few details, which may make the person believe that they are calling from a known source, such as a bank. 
  5. Smishing. In case of Smishing, the request comes on SMS. A message is sent to the user, often with a link that asks them for information. 
  6. Quid pro quo. This kind of social engineering tricks the user into giving details, in exchange or promise of something. 

Training employees

Since social engineering attacks are targeted towards employees, they need to be trained about the various ways in which hackers may approach. Trained, experienced, and aware employees are a company’s key assets in ensuring that hackers don’t succeed. If your small business doesn’t know what it takes to discuss social engineering with your employees, make sure to get a cybersecurity expert onboard. 

Also, ensure that all software, firmware and operating systems are updated to the latest version, besides installing antivirus and antimalware software for protection against malicious files. 


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