Types of Social Engineering Attacks

Types of Social Engineering Attacks

The vulnerability of IT networks rises with every new technology trend. Malicious acts of social engineering continue to present themselves within every organization. A range of new malicious tactics, like ransomware, phishing, spyware and typosquatting are surfacing. We have created a list defining the top types of social engineering attacks and how to be proactive with your cybersecurity protocols.


As represented in its name, ransomware is holding either your entire computer database or single documents, PDFs or personal information, hostage until a ransom is paid. Otherwise losing crucial information and personal data becomes the risky alternative. Without proper procedures in place, like backing up files or data storage, one may pay this ransom just to learn their files have already been corrupted. In 2018, ransomware lead the pack of cyber-attacks. Victims, like FedEx and Tribune Publishing, were hit by the newest form of ransomware. Ryuk ransomware uses encrypted codes within the network to stop user activity until a price is paid. Ryuk directs its efforts towards small-scale operations in order to gain large scale financial data.


The malicious attack of phishing surfaces in the form of an email, text or unknown URL. Hackers ‘phish’ for sensitive information like credit card info, usernames or passwords. There has been a rise in phishing attacks due to a new primary target, the employee. These phishing threats target the end-user behind the browser instead of through the network. Today, there are more than 4 billion Internet users who commonly interact with more than one device for web usage. Everyday tasks, including business operations, are performed on a chain of devices creating multiple backdoor entries for hackers.


In 2017, Spyware replaced ransomware as the leading cyber threat. Instead of holding your personal data for ransom, spyware hackers hide on your device to spy on your activity. Providing hackers with access points, usernames and passwords; making it easier to steal information rather than wait for a ransom. According to Malwarebytes’ Annual State of Malware Report, spyware doubled in number last year due to malware operations like WannaCry and NotPetya.


The newest weapon of choice for hackers is URL hacking, known as typosquatting. When you incorrectly type a web address into a browser, hackers will lead you to a website similar to the one you plugged in. However, it’ll be slightly different, such as the example below:

Prevention of cyber crime

According to Ponemon Institute, 57% of SMBs believe their company is too small to be a target of ransomware. Yet, the consequences of a ransomware attack resulted in 32% of SMBs losing sufficient amount of money from downtime.

The only way to secure your IT infrastructure is to implement a proactive approach to cyber security. Being proactive with your cyber security in order to stay clear of the malicious types of social engineering attacks, means having effective security solutions in place. Updating and vigilantly changing your business’s methods of security is dire in order to stay current with the latest cyber threats. Partnering with a security consultant will help protect your company from being part of any data breach. Many Managed Services Providers can also establish advanced security operations to maximize security measures and ensure your business stays up and running.

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