Thwarting social engineering attacks

As technology advances to provide a secure barrier between your network and the outside world, malicious people are devising ways to infiltrate your fortress. Often their methods are time tested techniques to manipulate people by appealing to their human natures. These techniques are collectively known as social engineering.

The ability to manipulate others is both a natural personality trait as well as a learnable skill. Many network attackers are taking up this ancient practice to bypass the technically advanced barriers you've erected over all electronic entry points to your network.

So what do social engineering attackers do? Well, basically they exploit common characteristics of people, such as trusting others, being a little lazy, overlooking small discrepancies, assuming someone knows more than they actually do, being willing to help others and the fear of getting in trouble. With just a small amount of truth or facts, an intelligent person can often extract more information from you or get you to perform an activity you shouldn't.

Kevin Mitnick, one of the most publicized computer crackers, admits that most of this break-ins to various commercial and government computer networks, as well as the phone system started with social engineering. He often gained the trust of an employee by claiming to be someone else and providing a small piece of information, then using that trust to get the unsuspecting employee to give him more information or perform a task to grant Kevin easy access.

The only protection against social-engineering attacks is to educate and train your employees. Here are several important points to address or manage when assembling a barrier to social engineering attacks:

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.