Social engineering attacks have been and will continue to be the greatest threat to any organization’s network security. According to, “90% of data breaches have social engineering components to them” and in 2018, “62% of all businesses experienced social engineering attacks”.

Social engineering attacks continued prevalence has mostly to do with their effectiveness. If attackers didn’t believe that social engineering attacks were effective, then they would not continue to conduct them. These types of attacks also do not require massive amounts of effort or creativity, which makes them easy to conduct some of the most basic equipment.

Luckily, there are easy ways to mitigate the chances of these attacks affecting your business or personal life. While they do require some forethought and effort, they will be worth the cost compared to what a data breach could cost your company.

#1: Educate yourself

By far the most effective way to keep yourself safe from social engineering attacks is to know what to look for. There are tons of great resources online on knowing what to look for, and businesses that are exposed to social engineering attacks should conduct frequent training sessions with their employees.

Social engineering attacks will change frequently. These training sessions should highlight what these trends are, and what the common warning signs are that one of these attacks may be occurring. By creating a strong base of knowledge and cultivating a proactive mindset within an organization, employees can become a strong line of defense in preventing these types of attacks from occurring.

#2: Be cautious of any unsolicited messages

Any email or text message that contains suspicious links should not be clicked on. Emails and text messages are common vectors of social engineering attacks. These messages will often contain files or links that should not be clicked on under any circumstances. A common way to detect whether these messages are legitimate is to verify the email address or phone number from which it was sent. If the email address seems off, or the phone number looks suspicious, it is more than likely a social engineering attack.

As companies have started to become more aware of social engineering attacks, many companies will state in their emails that employees of the company will never ask for personal information. It is important to be cautious of any messages that ask for sensitive information and to verify any suspicious message by asking a sender through a different communication channel.

#3: Use strong password protection for all accounts

Using strong passwords for all accounts makes it much more difficult to guess or brute force your way into an account. Many password manager services exist, such as Bitwarden, that create strong passwords for you and then keep them safe for you. You can then reference the secure passwords anytime you need to access the account.

In addition to strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication is an effective way to make sure that attackers aren’t able to gain access to an account just by guessing a password. SMS or an authenticator app are both great ways to enable two-factor authentication on any account.

#4: Verify all requests for sensitive information

Always make sure to verify requests for personal information by communicating through a different channel. It’s important to not rely on just email instructions, especially if it seems urgent. Attackers will frequently use a sense of urgency to get someone to do something that they would not otherwise do. If you ever sense that there is something suspicious going on, there is no harm in simply asking for verification that someone is actually who they say they are.

#5: Update Software Regularly

Attackers will frequently rely on outdated software to gain access to systems. By installing security updates, it makes it much more difficult for attackers to gain access. This proactive measure will significantly strengthen your defense against social engineering attacks and ensures that attackers will have a much more difficult time conducting an attack against you or your organization.

#6: Have an Incident Response Plan in Place

An incident response plan includes procedures for identifying, reporting, and mitigating social engineering attacks. Having a plan in place will ensure that you know what to do when a social engineering attack does cause a security breach. The plan should include roles and responsibilities, escalation procedures, and communication protocols. By having an incident response plan in place, organizations can minimize the impact of social engineering attacks.

#7: Always Be Alert

It’s important to remember that social engineering attacks can be complex. By making sure that you follow these steps, remain cautious when anything seems suspicious, and verify information involving important actions, you can be sure that you can be best protected against social engineering attacks.

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