As technology continues to infiltrate and affect our lives in new ways every day, hackers are also seeking out advanced and creative techniques to hack into vulnerable systems. While we may assume that technological advances would lead to more sophisticated software that can facilitate these attacks, it’s often human nature that hackers still rely on. Social engineering continues to be one of the most damaging cyber attacks that businesses and organizations face as resulting damages reach into the billions. No organization is safe with small, medium, and large businesses all falling victim to these attacks.
As we move further and further into the digital age, cyber security is no longer optional, but instead an absolute necessity in protecting an organization that utilizes technology. Organizations are falling victim to hacks on their bank accounts, credit cards, personal data, sensitive information, and more. It’s time to invest in cyber security to ensure the future of all businesses.
Seven Steps to Protect Against Social Engineering Attacks
Because social engineering relies on human interaction and human error, education is key in protecting organizations from these attacks. When in doubt, be wary. It’s always best to conduct some additional follow up to make sure the communication you’re receiving is legitimate.
- Don’t Panic
Social engineering techniques feed on human emotion and often spark the victim’s interest with a threatening statement such as, “Invoice Overdue!”, “Final Notice!”, or “Account Compromised!” If you receive a message like this, stay calm and take a closer look before taking any action or clicking on a link.
- Identify the Attack
Understanding how to spot a social engineering attempt or possible phishing emails is one of the strongest defenses against falling for them. These attacks will often have a generic greeting, spelling or grammatical errors, and come from an illegitimate email address. All employees should be involved in regular training sessions so they’re aware of the latest threats and trends. As these threats are constantly changing, continuous training is a necessity. Building a company culture of cyber awareness is very important for the security of the organization.
- Update/Use Strong Passwords
Hackers can use technology to guess thousands of passwords in a matter of seconds. It’s important to consistently update your password and use only complex passwords that include a combination of letters (both lower and uppercase), digits, and symbols.
- Verify the Contact
If you receive a phone call, email, text message, or any other form of communication that you suspect could be a phishing attempt, stop. Do not contact the party or organization using the information they provided as it may be fraudulent. To verify the source, you should contact that party or organization separately using a publicly available phone number and, if possible, speak with someone you’re familiar with. This should be done before clicking on a link or giving away any personal information. Utilizing dual sign off as a workflow on all checks, wires, ACH transactions, or anything else that involves the transfer of funds will help prevent funds from getting into the wrong hands.
- Update Your Software
As cyber threats are constantly evolving, digital software is as well to keep up with the attacks. While these update reminders and notifications can be pesky, it’s important that your software has the latest advances in cyber security to offer up the best possible protection. Utilizing a Secure Email Gateway (SEG) software, which monitors all incoming and outgoing emails, will help prevent your organization from receiving unwanted threats.
- Report the Attack
When you report an attack, this helps others avoid falling victim to the same phishing attack. The proper organizations can both warn others of the scam and help work towards fighting these scams altogether. To report a phishing message, forward it to the Anti-Phishing Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Get Protected
While there are many techniques to staying vigilant in your abilities to thwart a social engineering attempt, hackers still succeed every day. A cyber liability policy has become an absolute necessity for every organization to protect against the financial damages that these attacks can cause. Investing in a cyber policy is the most cost-effective way to protect against an attack. The financial damages of a cyber attack far outweigh the investment of a cyber premium. In addition, ProWriters offers a number of free risk management resources to increase your cyber security control.
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