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Expert: 'Social engineering' cyberattacks on the rise; how to protect yourself

Experts warn social engineering — one of the more devious types of cyber attacks — is on the rise.

iTSynergy President Michael Cocanower says with social engineering thieves are sneaky and they use tactics such as phishing, baiting and tailgating.

  • Phishing: Emails appear to come from someone you know.
  • Baiting: Tries to exploit your curiosity (like if you receive an offer to click on a link to download free music, the link might contain malware).
  • Tailgating: A bad guy follows a person into a restricted area, or might impersonate a vendor to gain entry into a location where they can access valuable data.

“Social engineering is the use of techniques designed to mirror ‘normal’ processes and behavior in order to maliciously ‘trick’ the victim into taking an action or providing information under false pretenses,” said Cocanower.

Cocanower says people need to be cognizant of picking up USB drives left in parking lots or on the ground. Hackers could have left them there, knowing people will pick them up and plug them into their computer. At that time, Cocanower says the hackers could install malicious malware on your computer.

Once a month, Cocanower offers a free 15-minute webinar called “Hacking the Human” where he provides people with helpful tips to ward off cyberattacks and social engineering schemes.

The next webinar is Thursday, April 13 at 11:30 a.m.

Interested participants should register here.
 

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