The cyber security space has been improving with technological advancements. However, as technological defenses become more robust, cybercriminals are finding more sophisticated ways of operation. Cybercrime is performed by the use of ransomware and malware, infiltrating weak passwords, exploiting poor patch management, insider threats, and other methods.

Unless they have invested in security products like SCA tools, SIEM tools or other security tools that are used to detect and manage vulnerabilities, these threats may be detrimental to individuals and businesses. They may end up losing sensitive information or finances.

Social engineering threats have become more common even as cyber criminals aim to exploit the human link. These attacks are made by manipulating users into giving information or creating a weak link by making security mistakes.

Attackers follow a series of steps that include a background study of the victim, gaining their trust and providing the required stimuli for breaking protocol.

Cybercriminals use a number of social engineering techniques.


Just as the name states, this technique uses a false promise to get a victim’s interest. Baiting attacks put their victims into traps that steal their personal information or introduce malware to their systems.
The most common form of baiting is using physical media to transfer malware. For instance, an attacker will leave a malware infected hard drive (the bait) in a public area where the potential victim will see it. They can leave them in an elevator, bathroom, parking lot, or any other common place. The bait is usually disguised as an authentic thing, e.g., the blueprints of a company.

After the victim picks the bait and inserts it into their device, the malware is automatically installed into the system.

Baiting is not only carried out using physical items, but it can also be done through enticing ads that lead to malicious sites. The ads can also lead you to download malware-infested application.


In this scam, attackers obtain information from their victims through a series of carefully woven lies. The scam always starts with the attacker acting like they require important information from their victims in order to solve a particular problem or correct a certain anomaly.
The perpetrator is usually very convincing as they disguise themselves as a trustworthy person like a security agent, co-worker, bank, tax official, etc. By establishing trust, the attacker asks questions that would require the confirmation of the victim’s identity, ultimately collecting critical data.

Pretexting collects all forms of information, including:

  • Social Security number
  • Phone records
  • Physical address
  • Bank records
  • Pin numbers

If you are not careful, it is very easy to fall prey to such scams as the pretexters create a believable profile for themselves.


Phishing scams are among the most popular social engineering techniques. They are text message and email campaigns aimed at creating a sense of curiosity, urgency or fear in victims. By clicking on those emails and text messages, victims:

  • Are led to reveal sensitive information,
  • Open malware-infected attachments
  • Are led to malicious websites

An example of a phishing attack is when an email is sent to a user of an online service which alerts them of a policy violation that will require immediate action, for example, changing the password. The link the user clicks leads to a scam website that is identical to the legitimate website. After the unsuspecting user enters their credentials and a new password and submits, the information is directed to the attacker.
Phishing scams have become easy to identify since the messages sent to different users in a phishing campaign are identical or nearly identical. Email servers with access to threat-sharing platforms can easily detect and block such messages.

Recognizing Traits and Prevention of Social Engineering Attacks 

Social engineering scams work by manipulating human feelings such as curiosity or fear. It is, therefore, important that you remain cautious of messages that are very enticing and those that invoke fear. You should also be wary of any digital media you come across that is just lying about. Only being alert can help you avoid many social engineering attacks.
There are more tips that can help you be more vigilant about social engineering scams.

  • Do not open emails from unknown and suspicious sources. If you do not know the email sender, there is no need to reply. Even if an email comes from a source you think you know, it is beneficial if you contact them through another channel like telephone or their direct site.
  • Use MFA. Multifactor authentication ensures that your account is protected whenever there is a system compromise.
  • Keep your antivirus software on the latest update. Updated come with more sophisticated patches that solve existing problems or better solutions to deal with more sophisticated malware.

With technology continually evolving for the betterment of the world, criminals are using it to sustain their ill intentions. It is, therefore, important to be wary of different techniques that cybercriminals use to take advantage of their victims. With knowledge, you place yourself at a place where you are not an easy target for scammers.