Do you want to save yourself from online threats and attacks?

Do you want to safeguard your vital information from the external forces on the internet?

You need to understand an essential term in the online security industry, i.e., Social Hacking or Social Engineering.

When someone uses psychological manipulation to trick you, it becomes hard to realize it on time and prevent yourself from losses.

But if you have an in-depth knowledge of social engineering and how you can safeguard yourself, then it’s safe for you to use the internet and its applications.

So, what is social hacking, and how can you prevent yourself from its attacks?

Let’s have a look.

What is Social Hacking?

Social hacking or social engineering is defined as the range of malicious activities achieved using human interactions. Using psychological manipulation, hackers trick the users into making mistakes resulting in security breaches or leaks of sensitive information.

Social hacking takes multiple steps to get executed, and the target is made to jump onto the slippery slide where they make desired actions of the attackers.

The perpetrators investigate to gather the necessary information like weak security entry points and protocols by tracking the victim required for the attack.

Once the information is gathered, they gain the users’ trust and provide stimuli for their multiple actions that breach the security shield to gain access to the sensitive information.

It relies on human error, and the users are tricked into making such mistakes. These mistakes are less predictable and make it hard to identify for the security teams.

What are the Social Hacking Attacks?

Multiple forms of social hacking attacks involve human interaction. Let’s look at the top digital social engineering attacks.

  • Baiting

Baiting attacks are focused on arousing the users’ curiosity or greed to allure them in taking specific attacks that can lower the security guard.

Baiting can be done using physical and digital spaces. Infected hard drives can be placed as bait so that you can insert them into your home or work computer. You can also be tricked into clicking on an ad that leads to a malicious website or downloads an infected application.

  • Scareware

It involves bombarding users with fictitious threats and false alarms. The users are tricked into thinking there is something wrong with the system, making them install malicious software to protect their system.

It’s known as fraudware, rogue scanner software, or deception software.

  • Pretexting

Pretexting the series of lies attackers present to the victim to extract the sensitive information they require.

The attacker can pretend as co-workers, bank, tax officials, police, or another person to establish trust and get the sensitive information to perform a vital task.

The attacks are based on asking questions to confirm your identity and then asking you for the information. 

  • Phishing

Phishing is one of the most popular social hacking attack strategies used in emails or messages to create a sense of curiosity, urgency, or fear.

You can be allured to clicking a malicious link, opening infected attachments, or revealing sensitive information.

One of the primary examples of a phishing attack is sending an email to the users pretending to be an online service provider to alert them to the policy violations that require immediate action.

An identical website page is created, and once the user types in the credentials, they expose themselves to a social hacking attack.

But these attacks can be prevented using multiple steps. Have a look.

How To Prevent Yourself From Social Hacking?

Social hacking is manipulating feelings like fear and curiosity to draw the victims into the trap of making mistakes that can cause the loss of critical information and data leaks.

You need to be vigilant and improve your noticing skills to spot the danger beforehand. Here are some tips that can help.

  • Avoid attachments and emails from suspicious sources

Try to avoid answering the emails if you don’t know the sender. If you know the sender’s name, then cross-check the new or the action the mail demands before doing it.

Contact the service providers and ask them if they have sent the required mail or not. Being cautious can help you prevent leaks of your credentials and enhance your security.

  • Use of two-step authentication

Change the settings of your logins into different accounts to two-step verification to avoid security breaches and troubles.

Even if somehow you are tricked into a credential leak, two-step verification will prevent the hackers from accessing your account.

You can finally add your mobile number to receive an OTP from the service provider or the social application to confirm your identity. Don’t rely on your password or username.

  • Avoid tempting offers

Don’t let your emotions dictate your actions and fall into the trap of clicking an enticing link, image, or offer. You need to think twice before accepting a highlight enticing offer. 

Contact the legitimate sources or dig deep to thoroughly confirm the offer’s authentication to avoid scans or fall into the social hacking traps.

Pretexting, scareware, and baiting are becoming more common because users want to click on the flashy and alluring offers and content. Just be mindful the next time you reach such mail or a text.

  • Update your antivirus/antimalware

Strengthening your security shield is one of the essential components to avoid becoming a victim of social hacking.

Keep your antivirus or antimalware up to date and download the latest security features to prevent your systems from modern-day intrusions.

Following these steps can minimize the risk of social hacking and prevent you from significant data leaks.

Safeguard Yourself

When social hacking is on the rise in the digital era, try to avoid falling into the trap of alluring emails, messages, links, or offers.

Confirm the sources and act wisely before taking any step on the internet. Take preventive measures if, unfortunately, your credentials are compromised. Don’t forget to make secure backups of your data to minimize the damage of leaks and intrusions.

Be safe and act wisely.

Also Read: Hacking: A Look into its Classifications