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Social Engineering and How Hackers Use it to Get Inside

ByDaniel Gottilla

Social Engineering and How Hackers Use it to Get Inside

Social EngineeringEnsuring that you have adequate network protection is vital, but protecting your system from hackers who use social engineering to get inside should also be a priority. Even the best employee may create system vulnerabilities if they aren’t aware of the threat, and companies often overlook this hacking angle.

Hackers can be smooth operators. They may call looking for advice, offering flattery in the attempt to gain your employees trust. They use this connection to talk their way into getting information about the security your company has in place and the programs you run. They may also prey on your employee’s confidence in the network in order to gain specific details and shortcomings about your system operations. By using social engineering to obtain even small amounts of information about how your system operates and what programs you use, the hackers can run software on their end that will not only give them greater detail on your system, it can show them how to get inside.

Suavely manipulating an individual isn’t the only social engineering method hackers use. Some hackers are far more direct. It’s hard to believe, but they may directly call a business and impersonate an authority in the company. Employees can be easily swayed by a person issuing a direct request in an authoritative tone. Employees have been known to do what the hacker says because they believe they are being asked on behalf of the company. They may change passwords or issue new ones, allowing the hacker access to your system. The hacker may start small and simply ask for access to their email account, which is generally that of a system administrator. Once they have access to this account, they can issue credible commands to gain further access to and control over your business systems.

No one wants to think that getting access to their company’s system could be so easy, but it can and does happen. Using these tricks to gain access to business networks is actually quite common. The key to limiting this risk is comprehensive training for your employees so they learn to see through the hackers ploys.

Social Engineering and How can you help limit the risk of these threats compromising your security?

  • Educate your employees about how hackers utilize social engineering in order to obtain access to a system. Your employees cannot fight this problem if they don’t know it exists.
  • Decide what information about your system is too risky to make public, and train your employees not to release this data.
  • Formalize procedures for obtaining and changing passwords and access to email accounts. If you can ensure that no outside party is gaining passwords, you’ve thwarted one major hacker tool.

Your company cannot fight this problem if it isn’t aware of it, but once your employees understand the risks they will be in a better position to fight it. Training your employees is a small step that will net large results in limiting your business vulnerability.

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