Learning Center February 15, 2024

How to Avoid Social Engineering Attacks

In today’s digital era, we rely heavily on the use of modern technology. There is no doubt that it’s made our lives easier, but it has many downsides as well. These innovative technologies have made us more vulnerable to social engineering attacks than ever before. 

The anatomy of a social engineering attack

Social engineering attacks are used by hackers to lure users into giving away confidential information or infecting users’ machines by tricking them into clicking on malicious links. These attacks can have serious consequences, including data breaches, financial loss, identity theft, and unauthorized access to systems or networks. Organizations often employ security awareness training and implement safeguards to mitigate the risk of social engineering attacks.

The process starts with the hacker identifying potential targets and gathering information about them. Then, the hacker establishes contact with the target, trying to convince them to share confidential information or install malicious software. Finally, the hacker ends the interaction with the target. Some of the commonly used social engineering tactics are described below 


Phishing is the most commonly used social engineering tactic nowadays. Phishing emails, messages and websites are used by hackers to trick users into providing sensitive information like passwords, credit card information and much more. Always verify the authenticity of the sender before clicking a link or giving away sensitive information. 


Vishing, short for voice phishing, is a social engineering attack that uses phone calls to lure users into giving away sensitive information. The attacker pretends to be a legitimate entity like a bank, government agencies, colleagues etc. 


Baiting is a special form of phishing attack that exploits the curious nature of human behavior. The attacker sends an email offering free subscription or gifts, making victims give away sensitive information. 


How to protect yourself 

Avoiding social engineering scams involves a combination of awareness, skepticism, and best practices. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself:

Be skeptical

Question any unsolicited requests for personal or sensitive information, especially if they come through email, phone calls, or messages. Verify the identity of the requester through known, trusted channels before complying.

Think before clicking

Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unfamiliar or suspicious sources, even if they seem urgent or enticing. Hover over links to preview the URL before clicking to ensure they’re legitimate.

Verify requests

If someone requests sensitive information or actions (like wire transfers or password resets), independently verify the request through official channels before proceeding. Contact the supposed sender using known contact information, not information provided in the suspicious message.

Stay informed

Keep up-to-date with common social engineering tactics and scams. Awareness of the latest techniques can help you recognize and avoid them.

Use strong authentication

Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible, especially for sensitive accounts like email, banking, and social media. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone.

Educate yourself

Participate in security awareness training provided by your workplace or educational institution. Familiarize yourself with common social engineering techniques and how to spot them.

Protect personal information

Be cautious about sharing personal or sensitive information online, especially on social media platforms. Limit the amount of personal information you disclose publicly, as it can be used by attackers to craft convincing scams.

Report suspicious activity

If you encounter a potential social engineering scam or phishing attempt, report it to the appropriate authorities, such as your IT department, email provider, or relevant law enforcement agency.


By staying vigilant, exercising caution, and following these best practices, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to social engineering scams.


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