Without knowledge of security procedures and general paranoia, it can be easy to fall prey to a social engineering attack. Read on for a comprehensive overview of the different types of social engineering attacks, as well as how you can use them to better protect yourself from fraud.

If you find yourself at work, trying to pick up a pizza from a shop, or at home, busy working on something that requires concentration and awareness; chances are you’re in one of the two situations just described.

In the first situation, it is not unlikely for someone to approach you with the hope to take advantage of one of your weaknesses- curiosity. Let’s examine some techniques used by social engineers and see how we see this whole scam!

What is a Social Engineering Attack?

Social engineering is when an attacker tries to use social tactics to deceive someone into giving away information such as a password or credit card number. They might pretend to be a representative of a company and request your personal information, or they could call you pretending to be from an authorized sector.

Insiders are not the only ones who can launch a social engineering attack – anybody with basic social skills and knowledge of company policies can take advantage of this technique.

What is Phishing?

A phishing attack is a form of social engineering attack when a person sends an email or text message that appears to be from a legitimate source but is fake. The attacker might also claim that the recipient hasn’t paid their bill and they need to provide more payment details.

It is a style of hacking that tries to obtain login credentials for service by pretending to be a member of the company and sending a link. It is sometimes difficult for people to spot the difference between the real version and the phishing version of an email and this can lead to them clicking on the fake links. Those who are on high alert for social engineering attacks may also be adept at spotting phishing attempts, making it difficult for people who would fall victim to such emails.

What is Pretexting?

Pretexting is a type of social engineering attack where the attacker researches and crafts or elaborates a story to make their requests seem more believable. They will claim to be from a company, customer service, or even law enforcement. For example, they might say that they are from the IRS and need your information because you owe taxes.

The attackers understand that if their story is plausible and their request seems reasonable for what they claim to be then people will provide them with information without realizing it could have dangerous consequences in the future.

Social engineering attackers pretend to be other people. Pretexting is the same as phone or emails spamming, in that it tries to lure a victim into doing something they wouldn’t want to normally do – like giving up their personal information or money. If you recognize these types of phishing scams, they can be stopped immediately.

What is Quid Pro Quo?

Quid pro quo attacks are a form of social engineering attack in which the attacker will offer something to the target in exchange for giving up sensitive information. The goal is to get the target to click and input their credentials into a phishing form with embedded malware or install malware onto their device through an email attachment.

What is Baiting?

Baiting is when hackers leave a trap or lure to trick people into giving out their information. They may send emails or instant messages offering something interesting to entice the person to click on a link or download an attachment.

The most common form of baiting is phishing, where you receive an email that looks like it’s from a legitimate company with a prompt to “update your account” by clicking on the included link.

When you do so, you’ll be going to a site mimicking the original company’s site but ultimately controlled by cybercriminals and will enter your login information. A similar technique is also seen with fake antivirus scams that pretend to offer protection from malware but install malware themselves!

Sometimes hackers will use popular websites such as eBay, Amazon, or Facebook to launch a social engineering attack. One of its techniques uses “baiting.” Hackers post enticing links that lead to programs that download malware onto your system. People are tricked into clicking the link and downloading malware onto their system.

What is Tailgating?

Tailgating is the act of following behind someone through a door or gate without permission. If a person with some level of authority has their back to you, then it’s an easy way to get past them. In such an attack, the cyberattack is done mainly by gaining access to some restricted area that comes under the authority or is handled by some electronic measures and devices.

One common type of social engineering attack known as “Tailgating” happens when an attacker gains access to their victim’s physical location. The attacker will follow the victim through a door that requires a card to be swiped to open and then swipe their card and enter the door behind the victim.


This was the guide to social engineering attacks. Social engineering is when an attacker tries to gather information from a victim to access their computer or another device. This information can be gathered from different sources including tech support websites, fake emails, and phone calls while impersonating someone they are not.

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