Friday, April 19, 2024

7 Easy Ways You Can Be Scammed

In today’s digital world stuffed with scams, it is vital to be able to protect your company against any takeover attempts and keep all data safe. The scam-combating techniques evolve with rocketing speed, but they cannot fight against one thing: the human factor. This advantage over machines makes hundreds of cybercriminal groups richer every day.

How can you overcome the seemingly unstoppable enemy? First, those forewarned are forearmed. Let us look at the most widespread social engineering tricks and find out how to secure your company’s information. This information was shared by VPNBrains security experts.

1. Phishing

How it works: You receive an email from an allegedly familiar sender, like a contractor or actually any website your company has an account. The sender asks you to follow the link or open an attached file. The moment you click on it, your security is broken.

Phishing is also done by creating website clones – a fake copy of a genuine website. Believing it is a real site, you start entering your login data there. By doing so, you provide very sensitive details to hackers. 

How to keep safe: Never click on links in suspicious emails. It is better to type the website address yourself in the address bar of your browser or bookmark it. It is not good to look for the website doing the web search. If asked to change a password, log in with your current password and double-check if the password change is really required. And definitely do not click on software or media downloads from unknown sites.

2. Ransomware attacks

How it works: The infection vector is often similar to phishing attacks. Hackers use software vulnerabilities to install malware. Victims are required to pay for encrypted data to be given back to them unaffected or for not making stolen data public.

How to keep safe: Since ransomware attacks have become increasingly popular, business leaders need to be strongly prepared. First, it is crucial to implement solid backup and patch management policies. Also, follow the “How to keep safe” tips from the phishing section above and train your employees. Security awareness and good digital hygiene may save plenty of money in the future.

3. Pretexting

How it works: An alleged officer of some company your organization has relationships with, like a bank, reaches out to you on the phone. Under the guise of verifying some information, they ask you to tell them your bank account number, password, personal details, etc. 

How to keep safe: Call back to wherever the call is supposed to originate from and double-check if it is not a fake. Also, in this day and age, there is probably no reason someone would call you randomly on the phone to verify critical information. There is no “pretext” for such a move. Be accurate with phones. Attackers may also try to lure you into installingphone tracker appsunder the guise of mobile banking software updates or patches.

4. Quid pro quo

How it works: From Latin, it means “something for something.” A scammer gives you a call pretending to be a technical support engineer and informing you of the need to fix your computer facing a malware attack. Some users who suffer from any kind of computer problem at the moment may fall for the trick. Once you give the scammer access, you are punching a big hole in your defense.

How to keep safe: Verify with your service provider or IT department that this “expert” is a true one.

5. Dumpster diving

How it works: Sophisticated scammers can cause you lots of trouble if they find confidential information that you recklessly left in a bin. They may seek passwords to run a network attack or collect personal infofor future social engineering attacks.

How to keep safe: Avoid using traditional trash bins for strategically important information. Instead, make use of shredding machines.All laptops, storage devices, or other office equipment must be destroyed. If your company plans to resell, donate, or give away any equipment, make sure to purge all data from the hard drives.

6. Tailgating

How it works: Also known as “piggybacking,” this is when someone is trying to enter a building behind someone else with an access card. It may bring serious securityrisks for both informationand physical systems.

How to keep safe: Ignore courtesy and donot let any stranger follow you card-free. Once you see someone you do not know or look suspicious, check if he has a necessary badgeand, if needed, contact your security people.

7. Social networks

How it works: Too much personal information left on social networks puts not only the users themselves at risk, but also their family, friends, and companies they work for. If you use social media too much – it naturally leads to oversharing. It is just the nature of social media.

How to keep safe: Be thoughtful of what you post and share online. Keep your financial and ID details like phone numbers, emails, residential addresses, and business information a secret.

Scammers making fortunes on our weaknesses

No one is safe from scam attacks. Whether ordinary people or celebrities, we are all subject to fraudulent actions once we show up with our human weaknesses. Take the examples of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and others. Their nude shots were stolen by Ryan Collins several years ago as a result of a hack attack on their iCloud and Google accounts, as a cautionary tale. Using phishing techniques, the hacker easily got the passwords and usernames of his victims.

Yet another loud scam case involved a media biggie, Rupert Murdoch, whose employees were reported to be continuously stealing the secrets of dozens of politicians and celebrities by hacking their voicemails, including those protected by passwords that appeared to be too simple. 

We all understand that humans make mistakes. But sometimes our greed, curiosity, or plain negligence is just another contribution to the global development of social engineering. Now, do your best to avoid a human error – which can, in fact, ruin all your safety efforts.


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