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Social-engineered cyberattacks and impacts on organizations

By fostering a culture of security and zero trust, organizations can avoid being victims of social-engineered cyberattacks, perhaps more than any other type of crime. increase. While security experts are finding ways to protect themselves from legacy technologies, cybercriminals are finding ways to break into the defenses of organizations elsewhere. One of the most common trends in cybercrime today is social engineering.

Cybercrime could be a lucrative venture as experts predict that it will cost the world $ 10.5 trillion annually by 2025. While global digital defense has grown in response to this growing threat, many cybercriminals are adopting new strategies. Through social engineering, we target people who are the most vulnerable corporate assets that software cannot fully protect.

What is a social engineering attack? Most cybercrime methods revolve around finding and exploiting vulnerabilities in an organization’s digital infrastructure. Social engineering differs in that it targets employees, not the network itself. This method is very effective because employee mistakes and fraud are the main causes of data breaches.

Social engineering attacks tend to be more psychological than technical attacks in nature. Instead of using advanced hacking techniques and detailed computer skills, it relies on tricking people into revealing information. Cyber criminals engaged in social engineering are digital scammers who earn the trust of vulnerable people and easily steal money and data. The criminals do not have to be expert hackers to succeed in social engineering attacks. This is one of the reasons why this attack has become so popular. Because it targets people, not systems, traditional cybersecurity technologies have limited ability to thwart them. No matter how sophisticated your network’s defenses are, they won’t do much if insiders provide free access.

A new wave of cybercrime

Social engineering is dangerously effective and is on the rise as cybercriminals are aware of its benefits. According to Verizon’s 2020 Data Leakage Investigation Report, phishing, a subtype of social engineering, was responsible for 25% of data breaches in 2019. This is more than any other type of attack and will become more popular in 2020.

In a recent report, 53% of cybersecurity experts say they have noticed an increase in phishing attacks since the launch of the COVID 19 pandemic. Even more surprising, 30% say these attacks were even more successful during the same period. The pandemic turmoil has made people more vulnerable as people are less skeptical of unexpected news and seek answers.

With uncertainties widespread, people are more likely to click on suspicious links as otherwise promising help. As many companies coordinated their operations, emails seeking information or asking for unusual behavior seemed out of place. All of this shows that social engineering attacks are more prevalent and threatened than ever before.

Direct Costs of Social Engineering

It`s evident now that social engineering is a prominent threat to businesses of every type and size. The FBI`s 2019 Internet Crime Report shows that scammers stole more than $1.7 billion through business email compromise alone.

On average, social engineering attacks cost $130,000. After the breach, the company will have to pay a recovery fee. B. Credit monitoring of victims or new cyber security software.

Many social engineering attacks are also targeting customers and often use phishing to install ransomware. When these attacks leak customer data, businesses may find themselves in the midst of costly court battles. Reconciliation of data breaches often requires millions of dollars of compensation, not including attorneys’ fees.

Indirect loss

These direct financial losses are not the only way social engineering attacks can hurt a company. Every time an incident occurs, the affected company has to take time to address it, which results in lost productivity.


Perhaps the most damaging side effect of any data breach is a tarnished reputation. A Ponemon Institute study found that 65% of surveyed consumers lose trust in a business after a data breach. Furthermore, 27% ended their relationship with a company, and stock prices fall.

Common Signs of Social Engineering

It`s difficult to overstate the importance of preventing social engineering attacks, and the first step in defense is awareness. The three most common signs of social engineering attacks are inconsistency, urgency, and pressure.

Phishing is the most common form of social engineering, and these malicious messages usually show signs of inconsistency. If the tone or structure is different from the normal note that seems to be the sender, it’s probably fake. Email address or link mismatches also indicate phishing.

Many social engineering attacks deliver urgent messages that encourage targeted people to take swift and thoughtless actions. Users should constantly revisit messages that appear to come from these sources, as they can impersonate government agencies and authorities to intensify this sense of urgency. Anything that looks unusually urgent can be a scam, especially if it comes out of nowhere.

Similarly, cybercriminals tend to put a lot of pressure on the targets of attacks. You can encourage the user to act quickly or instruct the user to avoid the default behavior in the situation. This pressure is an attempt to make mistakes before people think about their actions.

Prevention of social engineering attacks

Since social engineering attacks target humans, humans are involved in the most effective defenses against them. By training your employees to be aware of the signs of social engineering, you are less likely to fall into these scams. Holding regular meetings with security experts to discuss common attack techniques helps employees remember these signs.

Implanting a lack of trust is important to defend against social engineering attacks. The Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency states that it suspects all unsolicited messages and calls. If anyone claims to be an official source, be sure to verify your identity before responding to your request. The action is the best defense against social engineering, but technical steps can also help. Network segmentation can be made available only to those who absolutely need access to the system. That way, even if an employee is scammed, the system design reduces the potential harm.

Advanced email filters can detect potential scams and eliminate malicious emails before they reach your employees. The more comprehensive your system’s anti-malware protection, the less risk you have, such as ransomware. Multi-factor authentication helps prevent social engineering attacks by making it harder for scammers to get the information they need to access the system.

All companies need to protect themselves from social engineering

Social engineering can affect any company at any time. These threats are dangerous, widespread and widespread, so all organizations need to make sure they are taking action. Fortunately, it’s often easy to prevent these attacks.

By fostering a culture of security and zero trust, organizations can avoid being sacrificed by social engineering. People are the company’s most vulnerable asset, but they can also be the most effective defenses.