The Other Social Engineering Attacks
Over the years we’ve learned that the most common cybersecurity attacks are email phishing scams, brute force attacks and wire transfer scams. However, we are oblivious to the numerous attacks that occur every day but are not as well known. Often while looking out for scams, we forget to protect ourselves from common everyday vulnerabilities. For instance, did you know that an innocent conversation with a stranger can lead to compromising your identity or private information? A common example is someone asking you about your ethnicity with a simple question like “What is your grandmother’s last name?” By answering that question, you just divulged a common security word used by many for accessing various systems.
This is just one example. You would be surprised at how many vulnerabilities exist around us every day! To help mitigate the risk of these attacks, we must become more aware and be more conscious about our surroundings. You’ve probably heard this clichéd saying from the yesteryears, “Brother is listening”. Well, we are not far from that reality. People are listening and attempting to gather information about you, your family, your work, and anything to help posture their attacks. It may be very simple and innocent at first, but it adds up and provides valuable information to someone willing to pay. There are many ways in which you are exposed to having information stolen right from under your nose, but if you are aware and cautious, these attacks can easily be prevented.
Here are some other social engineer attacks you can prevent:
- Be aware of neighbors, vendors, and others listening to your conversations through your open window or door to avoid revealing or leaking important proprietary information.
- Be aware of phone calls or voicemails about your account being delinquent or a need to update your information. Always verify this is a valid source before divulging information. In most cases your vendors will not ask for this information.
- Don’t leave important documents in your garbage without shredding them. By doing so you risk critical data getting into the wrong hands.
- Avoid using a laptop in clear visibility to strangers behind you. By doing so you risk revealing confidential information not meant for other eyes to consume.
- Be careful while using game consoles. Game consoles are equipped with 2-way audio features and may be left on. This would put your data at risk if not aware of someone eavesdropping.
- Condos, townhouses, and apartments in some cases have very thin walls. Please be careful of speaking loudly and giving your neighbors private information.
- Information left on walls and refrigerators, such as mail notices, pictures or statements may be a source of private information read by a visiting guest or vendor.
- Did you know that text messaging scams are on the rise? Be careful of unknown messages with links. If unknown, delete them.
- Soliciting is a common approach for scamming homeowners of important information. Be aware and never give confidential information to strangers at your door.
- When on video conference, be aware of information displayed behind you or in sight of the camera. Turning off your camera or blocking the camera when not in use will provide you with added protection from prying eyes.
- Be careful of exposing your driver’s license, credit card or other confidential information while using in public places.
- Be aware of your surroundings and protect your pin numbers when entering them in public on an ATM or credit card machine.
These are just some examples of ways in which your confidential information can be stolen to help bad actors with identity theft, corporate breaches or just gathering information for sale. But you are the ones in control! Just add these best practices to your life so that you are aware, prepared and safe rather than sorry. We are all vulnerable to social engineering attacks, but how we respond to these vulnerabilities determines whether we reduce our risk and avoid being the next victim of a costly data theft.