10 Ways Businesses Can Prevent Social Engineering Attacks
Most businesses are aware of cyber-attacks and have invested heavily in security measures to reduce security threats. Though, with all that in place, in the digital world, there remains an element called human. Attackers are taking advantage of human flaws in the businesses to bypass the security layer. Hacking a human is known as a social engineering attack.
Social engineering attacks possess a long history, which predates the rise of computers and the internet. However, there is no need to go back so long to find examples of the biggest social engineering attacks.
Most recently on February 2020, an anonymous party successfully tricked Barbara Corcoran of ABC’s “Shark Tank” out of around $400,000 through a phishing attack with a fake renovation invoice.
Social engineering threats take a wide range of forms like watering hole websites, phishing scams, real-world baiting, whaling attack, pretexting, and quid pro quo attacks.
You can explore more about the dangers of social engineering
While social engineering security threats will never vanish, they can greatly be managed by taking proactive ways to prevent social engineering attacks.
Top 10 Ways to Prevent Social Engineering Attacks
1. Multi-Factor Authentication
Don’t rely on one factor – the most basic preventive measure guarantees your account security. Of course, the password ensures security, but we have realized they’re inadequate on its own. Because it is far easier for someone else to guess your password and obtain access to your accounts.
The passwords can be accessed through social engineering. Multi-Factor verification is required that could be anything from biometric access, security questions to an OTP code.
2. Continuously Monitor Critical System
Make sure your system, which houses sensitive information is being monitored 24 x 7. When certain exploiting tactics are employed like Trojans, they sometimes depend on the system, which is vulnerable. Scanning both external and internal systems with web application scanning can help to find vulnerabilities in your system.
Besides, you should also perform a social engineering engagement at least once a year to assess whether your employees would fall victim to the dangers of social engineering. Once tracked, fake domains, if any, can be taken down instantly to avoid copyright infringement online.
3. Utilize Next-Gen cloud-based WAF
You’re probably already employing a firewall within your business, but a next-generation web application cloud-based firewall is specially designed to ensure maximum protection against social engineering attacks. The web WAF is very different from the traditional WAF that most companies deploy.
To be specific, AppTrana can consistently monitor a web application or website for anomalous activity and misbehavior. Although social engineering threats depend on human mistakes, it will block attacks and alerts you to any endeavored malware installations. Implementing risk-based WAF is one of the best ways to prevent social engineering attacks and any potential infiltration.
4. Verify Email Sender’s Identity
Most scams involve the method of falsely obtaining victim’s information by pretending as a trusted entity. Especially in a phishing attack, attackers send email messages that may appear like they are from a sender you trust like from a credit card company, a bank, a social networking site, or an online store. The emails often tell a story to make you click onto the false link, which looks legitimate.
To avoid this kind of social engineering threats, contact the claimed sender of the email message and confirm whether he sent the email or not. Remember, legitimate banks will not ask your authorized credentials or confidential information through email.
5. Identify your critical assets which attract criminals
“When a lot of companies focus on protecting their assets, they’re very focused on that from the perspective of their business” – Jim O’Gorman, a member of Social-Engineer.org
That is not necessarily the approach hacker will target your company. They always target the assets valuable to them.
You should evaluate in the attacker’s perspective and identify what to protect, considering the assets beyond your product, service, or intellectual property.
“Independent Assessment is the best tool to determine which of your assets criminals are most likely to target.” – according to O’Gorman.
6. Check for SSL Certificate
Encrypting data, emails, and communication ensure that even if hackers intercept your communication, they can’t be able to access the information contained within. This can be achieved by obtaining SSL certificates from trusted authorities.
Furthermore, always verify the site, which asks for your sensitive information. To verify the website’s authenticity, check the URLs. The URLs which start with https:// can be considered as trusted and encrypted website. The websites with http:// are not offering a secure connection.
7. Penetration Testing
The most effective approach among the ways to prevent social engineering attacks is conducting a pen-test to detect and try to exploit vulnerabilities in your organization. If your pen-tester succeeds in endangering your critical system, you can identify which system or employees you need to concentrate on protecting as well as the types of social engineering attacks you may be prone to.
Learn more about how application Pen testing can mitigate Fraud.
8. Check and Update your Security Patches
Cybercriminals are generally looking for weaknesses in your application, software, or systems to attain unauthorized access to your data. As a preventive measure, always maintain your security patches up to date and keep your web browsers & systems up to date with the latest versions.
This is because companies release security patches as a response whenever they uncover security loopholes. Maintaining your systems with the recent release will not only reduce the possibilities of cyber-attacks but will also ensure a cyber-resilient environment.
9. Enable Spam Filter
Enable Spam filters and close the door for offenders of social engineering security threats. Spam filters offer vital services in protecting your inboxes from social engineering attacks.
Most email service providers offer spam filters that hold the emails which are deemed as suspicious. With spam features, you can categorize emails effortlessly, and freed from the horrible tasks of identifying mistrustful emails.
10. Pay Attention to Your Digital Footprint
Oversharing of personal details online through social media can give these criminals more information to work with. For instance, if you keep your resume online, you should consider censoring your date of birth, phone number, and residential address. All that information is useful for attackers who are planning a social engineering threat.
We recommend you maintain your social media settings to “friends only” and think twice before you share anything on social media.
The dangers of social engineering threats are increasing day by day and now become one of the major cyber threats for businesses of all sizes. You should equip your business with proper defense measures to prevent social engineering attacks.
Make sure that your company has the methods to rapidly detect security incidents, monitor what is going on, and alerts your security team so they can take immediate action.