Social engineering: the invisible threat to organisations
In todays digital world, organisations are regularly confronted with new and advanced threats to their security. One of the most treacherous yet dangerous forms of attacks is social engineering. This invisible threat has potentially devastating consequences for organisations and requires awareness among employees for an effective approach.
What is social engineering?
In social engineering, the attacker does not rely on advanced technical hacks or software vulnerabilities. Instead, the attacker relies on human interaction and manipulation to achieve their goals.
Social engineers exploit human characteristics such as emotions, curiosity, and the willingness to help others. They create fictitious scenarios and use psychological tricks to deceive people. And all of this is in the favor of the attackers.
Why is social engineering a threat to organisations?
Social engineering is not only a threat in private life but also poses a significant problem in the business world. In large companies with many employees, there is a high chance that one of them might fall victim to social engineering. This puts the organisation's reputation at stake and may provide access to sensitive data.
Social engineering poses a serious threat to organisations and is alarmingly effective for various reasons:
1. Exploitation of human weaknesses: Employees (people) form the weakest link in the security chain. Social engineers are aware of this and skillfully take advantage. They can pose as colleagues, customers, managers, or trusted individuals to gain access to sensitive information.
2. Access to sensitive data: If social engineers succeed, they can access financial data and personal information of employees and customers. This can lead to financial and legal consequences.
3. Damage to reputation: A successful social engineering attack can seriously damage the reputation of an organisation. Customers lose trust when they discover that their data has fallen into the wrong hands.
4. Financial losses: Organisations can suffer financial damage due to fraudulent activities resulting from social engineering attacks.
5. Legal consequences: When sensitive information is disclosed due to social engineering, organisations can expect legal actions and fines, especially if it is revealed that this information was not adequately protected.
6. The hidden nature of the threat: One of the most challenging aspects of social engineering is that it often goes unnoticed. Victims often don't realise they have been deceived until the damage is done.
How organisations can protect themselves
To effectively protect your organisation against social engineering attacks, you must create awareness among employees. Proactive measures can be taken:
Awareness and training: Training employees to recognise suspicious situations and making them aware of the tactics used by social engineers is essential.
Security procedures: Organisations must implement strict security procedures and ensure they are followed.
Technological security measures: Using technological solutions such as phishing filters, antivirus software, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) can reduce the risk.
Incident response: Organisations must have a robust incident response plan to respond quickly to any breaches.
Awaretrain: awareness training for better security
The Awaretrain training offers in-depth insights that help organisations defend against social engineering and reduce the risk of phishing attacks. With the security awareness learning platform, employees can learn how to recognise suspicious situations and protect themselves from the latest threats.
Ready to make your organisation resilient against cybercriminals? Request a free trial account now.