Social engineering is the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. Cyber criminals often rely on social engineering to trick employees into divulging sensitive data or perform certain actions that are detrimental to the business and its stakeholders. There is a clear upward trend in social engineering. In 2022 three out of four South African organisations reported an increase in the number of social engineering attacks when compared to the previous year.
These attacks can be more effective than traditional cyber attacks because they target the weakest link in a company’s security system – its employees. In a phishing attempt, a fake email is sent from a seemingly legitimate source that asks an employee to perform an urgent payment, confirm their login credentials or perform some other action under the guise of a business request.
These phishing attacks are a popular form of social engineering, but are not limited to email; they can take place over the phone or even in person. In these cases, the attacker will impersonate someone you know and trust who has access to the data they want to steal or hack into. Enterprises in Africa need to have measures in place to mitigate the risks of social engineering attempts on their employees. One such solution is user awareness training.
Why user awareness training is important
Social engineering is a threat to all companies, not just enterprises. The best way to protect your company and its employees against social engineering is by educating them on the dangers of these attacks. It is also important to test your staff’s propensity for social engineering through simulated attacks that mimic a range of social engineering vectors. User awareness training and testing empower employees to identify potential threats before it’s too late.
These attacks are among the hardest to identify and defend against. If a hacker can convince an employee to do something they normally wouldn’t, they can gain access to the business network or compromise your company. User awareness training can help employees identify phishing attempts and other social engineering tactics at the outset.
4C Group has partnered with KnowBe4 – a leader in user awareness training and cyber security education for employees. Through this partnership we offer a highly effective way to minimise the risks of social engineering attempts by empowering employees with knowledge and increased cyber security awareness.
Many employees believe that they are aware of cyber threats – especially those working in IT and at higher levels of the organisation. However, this knowledge bias has been proven to actually place a business at greater risk. This is why user awareness training must be completed by every person within the company – managers, business leaders and IT experts should not be exempt from the training.
Social engineering tactics are becoming more advanced
Cyber criminals often turn to phishing, spear phishing and vishing – phone-based scams that attempt to extract specific information from victims by impersonating an authority figure or trusted entity. These forms of psychological manipulation con their victims into giving up usernames, passwords and financial information. Cyber criminals have been using these tactics for decades and are getting better at them every day.
They’re not just targeting employees anymore; they’re also going after customers, suppliers, vendors and even competitors to find out what they know or who they’re working with. In fact, it’s often easier to pose as a supplier or customer than someone working internally, in order to obtain certain information.
As these threats become more advanced, companies need to keep their employees up-to-date with the latest information and methods. It’s important that any user awareness training program you implement be ongoing and tailored specifically to the needs of your company. This will help ensure that all employees understand how these attacks work, and what they can do to prevent them.
Social engineering attacks aren’t going away anytime soon. They’re one of the most effective ways to get into a company’s network and steal sensitive information or request urgent payments to be made. That means that businesses must stay vigilant in order to protect their assets from cyber criminals who are looking for easy targets.
The best protection against social engineering is through user awareness training. 4C Group can help South African companies improve their cyber security posture and mitigate the chances of phishing attacks. For more information about our user awareness training services, please contact us today.
At 4C Group of Companies, we strive to effect operational changes and cost savings for customers through our iNSight product and associated services. This product’s main function is to re-purpose and deliver business-critical information to a variety of systems and stakeholders.
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