Blog/Social Engineering – How to Train Your Employees to Recognize Threats

Social Engineering – How to Train Your Employees to Recognize Threats

Social engineering is a type of cyber-attack that takes advantage of the vulnerability in every security system—the end user. Cyber risk is one factor growing among businesses in multiple verticals.

Through a technique known as social engineering, an element of human psychology obtains access to private, personal, or corporate information by appealing to people’s psychological aspects (curiosity, reward, fear of problems, desire to be helpful, etc.).

Although social manipulation is not a novel idea, cybercriminals may now construct intricate techniques to carry out this manipulation online, thanks to technological advancements. All of your digitally stored information is accessible to cybercriminals if they can persuade you to give it to them. Human hacking is another term for this. Individuals and businesses can navigate the digital landscape safely by staying informed about cyber security and proactive.

The fundamental strategies of fraud, manipulation, and trust are what social engineering depends on. However, the increasingly crafty cybercriminal possesses a toolkit of techniques for carrying out social engineering assaults, including baiting, phishing, whaling, and more. The pretence of being a reliable source or person is typical in most scams. This blog post will explain what to watch out for, the rationale behind it, and how your company may counter the threat.


Why do online fraudsters employ social engineering techniques?


Social engineering has become a preferred attack technique for cybercriminals in recent years. It has been demonstrated to be the most effective method for a criminal to enter a company.

Cybercriminals are employing more advanced strategies to deceive people through human hacking. A social engineer will research a person or company to the fullest extent possible. This could be accomplished by locating the target’s info online or through social media.

To stay safe from the dangers of social engineering, one must be vigilant, knowledgeable, and aware of the techniques these hackers employ. A compromised corporate email could significantly damage your company.


The Different Social Engineering Attack Types


Even though social engineering frequently depends on a focused and targeted attack, these strategies are all part of a standard set. All employees must be aware of the following sorts of social engineering attacks.



Examine the countless promotional letters that have accumulated in your inbox to discover a plethora of freebies or special offer discounts. Most employees cannot resist the allure of freebies, even though many of us are dubious about how unique these offerings are. The issue is that everything is never free.

This is precisely why the age-old social engineering ruse of posing as “Free Software” is still being used and why employees continue to fall for it. The software being downloaded is free. However, there are hazards associated with visiting a malicious website since it may lead to the user installing compromised or infected malware.

When your staff members visit websites that sell “bundling” software—which implies they might have to download more software to get the one they want—they may put themselves in even greater danger.

Urge your staff to see if your business has already licensed the programme. If not, checking out the software vendor’s website is a quick and easy method to confirm that you are downloading from a reliable source and that they are, in fact, selling this product.


Quid Pro Quo

The quid pro quo tactic depends on an exchange, just like baiting does, but it also includes a degree of false impersonation. A frequent form of pro quo is when a thief poses as an IT service provider. They will make as many direct calls as possible to the company’s numbers to target them. Every victim will receive an offer from the attacker to receive IT assistance; if they accept, they will be asked to turn off their antivirus software. This gives the IT assistant administrative access, enabling them to install any dangerous software they like.



While phishing is arguably the most well-known cybercrime, its effectiveness is rising. Phishing is using email to trick a target into clicking a link that exposes them to malware or entering personal information. According to recent statistics, 30% of phishing emails were opened by the intended recipient, and 12% of users clicked on malicious attachments, allowing attackers to compromise the organization. The success of this social engineering technique depends on the criminal’s ability to investigate the targets they intend to harm or impersonate thoroughly.

One of the several reasons phishing is still effective and will stay so until everyone knows how to recognize them is their ongoing progress. Below is a list of three of the more advanced phishing attacks:


1. Spear-phishing: This social engineering attack goes at a particular person, like an IT manager or CEO. They then validate the email attack by personalizing it with their information. Victims will usually grant the thief access to their data without giving it a second thought. Since spear-phishers only target a single person, they can dedicate their time to learning more about the victim and using their online persona against them.


2. Whaling: Whaling is a more focused attack with a narrowly defined target than standard phishing. It targets senior staff members with access to important data, including CEOs and executives. The hacker is likely to obtain access to all firm data by targeting the most valuable employee in the organization. They may also be able to assume the identities of the most reputable employees.


3. Phishing via SMS and Voicemail: This is an additional form of phishing, but the con is conducted over the phone. Scammers will phone a victim and pose as representatives of their bank or a government organization. To obtain your personal information so they can steal money or data, they will “fish” for information.


Red flags for phishing attacks typically include:

  • Emails with dubious links.
  • Requests for bank or log-in credentials.
  • Emails from “employees” you are not familiar with.

Recognizing the warning indicators and reporting questionable emails right away can help lower the immediate risk to the business.


Watering Hole

This is a less common form of social engineering in which a reputable or well-known website is used. First, the criminal wall chooses its targets, which may include staff members of the company they wish to assault. Next, they ascertain which websites these workers frequently visit—the “watering hole” that the targeted workers frequent.

The hacker will contaminate the watering hole with malware. Using this code, the targeted user will be redirected to another website that hosts malware, making the hacked website ready to infect users upon visiting it.



The most apparent confidence trick in social engineering is pretexting. This type of impersonation depends on the target audience’s incapacity to discern whether the source is authentic or not. Usually, this takes the form of phone impersonation, in which a malevolent actor poses as a client in need of access to the end user’s personal data.


False Identities

There are many more methods a con artist may pose as reputable to fool the victim into disclosing personal information. Mostly, these false identities are taken care of by cyber security services. There are several widely employed methods, such as the following:


1. Requesting a Password Change: Hackers often send an email to employees requesting a password reset or modification. The hacker then sees this data on a fictitious domain, which grants them access to your account.


2. Fake IT Support: A fraudster may pose as the IT manager and ask to access your account to install new software. Ensure these requests are coming from an actual tea member at all times.


3. Fake LinkedIn Profiles: A scammer could impersonate an employee of your company and send friend requests to actual employees. Once connected, they can try to obtain information by messaging staff members.


4. Name-Drop: Another well-known social engineering technique involves looking through someone’s network, which is frequently discovered through social media, and requesting information while appearing as a reliable source. Requests for private information must be reported as soon as they occur.


5. Insider Threat: An employee may even conduct a social engineering attack and use their knowledge to obtain data that they should have allegations.


Risk of Social Engineering Scenarios


We already know that social media engineering poses a severe risk to companies. However, what about your company makes you the perfect target?


Insufficient Security Knowledge


Your employees are more vulnerable if unaware of various cyber security dangers. Cybercriminals can readily coerce your end users into divulging private information. Not only are they more vulnerable to cyber threats, but there is also a severe knowledge gap regarding how to stop cyberattacks.


Social Media Oversharing


Workers using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites at work can be a significant gateway for cybercriminals. Social media is the most frequent component of a social engineering attack. One of the primary causes of this is that many workers need to be made aware of the possible hazards associated with what is a daily activity for most of us. A successful assault is guaranteed when combined with a lack of cyber security awareness training addressing social media usage.

Oversharing on social media makes it possible for someone to impersonate you and use your personal information to carry out one of those above “false identities” frauds. They could also use your personal data against you to make a connection.


Top Items that Your Staff Members Should Refrain from Posting on Social Media are as follows:



> Job Role

> Official Email Address (Workplace)

> Credentials

> Screenshot of Conversations

> Phone Numbers and Addresses

> Your Financial Status


Excessive Curiosity


Our curiosity usually overcomes us. Sometimes, it happens via a straightforward advertisement when you visit a website or a phishing email that offers money. An employee may be drawn in by a well-timed email, and in their eagerness, they may unintentionally expose your business to a secure risk.

The issue is that social engineering attacks can be carried out in various ways, making it more challenging for staff members to recognize them – especially if they lack the necessary knowledge.


Strategies to Assist in Preventing Social Engineering Assaults


If you are worried that a social engineering attack will target your organization! You can create a thorough social engineering mitigation plan using various methods.


Security Awareness Training


Employee awareness is the easiest and most efficient strategy for countering the threat of social engineering in your company. As previously discussed, employees are significantly less likely to fall for social engineering scams if they are trained and informed about the different kinds of these schemes.

Providing your staff with cybersecurity awareness training can significantly lower the likelihood that social engineering will target your business. Encouraging an awareness-raising and training culture can also significantly decrease the chances of manipulation and the ensuing fallout.


Policy for Cybersecurity


Cyber security training must be provided. Every level of staff member should be equipped with a clear set of instructions outlining how to avoid cyberattacks and what to do in the event that they occur. Best practices for security and other security measures ought to be covered in the policy. See our guide for additional information on cyber security policies.


Regular Phishing Simulations


Phishing is the most successful and common type of cybercrime. It has been around for a long time and still fools people daily. Conducting regular phishing simulations in the workplace educates employees without the risk of losing valuable data. It allows you to see if there are any trends and which employees are falling for the phishing.

Integris IT provides cyber security solutions, including security awareness and the use of cyber security tools to respond to threats. For more information, please visit our website or call 1300 351 596.