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Social Engineering

Social Engineering is a cyber-attack where cybercriminals use human interaction (social skills) to obtain or compromise our information and systems. Social engineering relies on our curiosity, our fears, and even our greed to trick us into doing something we otherwise might not do such as clicking on a link asking us to reset our password, opening a video file to watch the latest movie for free, or even purchasing and sending gift cards to someone without verifying who they really are. Although attackers can and do use highly advanced tools and techniques to gain access into people’s computers and accounts,

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they have discovered often the easiest way in is to simply trick you into making a mistake that leads to them getting in.

 

With the news reporting about another data breach on an almost weekly basis and how easy it is for cybercriminals to launch their attacks from anywhere in the world while pretending to be anything or anyone they want so they can target anyone they choose, including you, it is natural to feel nervous or even scared when thinking about someone being able to use your personal information to target you. But taking steps to learn about the different threats and some of the ways you can identify these threats can make it easier for you to stay safe online, because, as G.I. Joe always says, “Knowing Is Half the Battle”.

Don't Feed the Phish

Although the methods a hacker chooses to use when attacking someone is limited only by imagination and skill, phishing is, according to the FBI, the most common type of cybercrime. Simply put, a phishing attack is a form of social engineering where the cybercriminal creates

Picture of red and blue fish with words do not feed the phish

an email (text message, phone call, social media post) that attempts to trick you into taking an action, such as opening an infected email attachment, clicking on a malicious link, or giving up sensitive information.

 

Sometimes phishing emails are generic and easy to spot, such as pretending to come from a bank. Other times phishing emails can be highly customized and targeted because attackers will often research their targets first before launching an attack. The key is to know what clues to look out for.

Clues to Look For to Help Avoid Becoming a Victim