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social engineering

In The Shadows: Understanding the Types of Social Engineering

In our highly interconnected world, technology has become a fundamental aspect of both our personal and professional lives.  This increased integration has not only broadened the scope and frequency of threats, encompassing both technical and human vulnerabilities but has also given rise to a new level of sophistication among cyber criminals. These malicious actors excel at exploiting the most vulnerable element in any security system: humans. The art of manipulating individuals for illicit purposes is commonly referred to as social engineering.  There are several types of social engineering attacks, each exploiting different aspects of human psychology. Read on to learn more about the various social engineering tactics employed by cybercriminals and gain crucial insights to safeguard yourself and your organization from falling victim to these deceptive schemes. 

Table of Contents

1. Phishing Attacks

One of the most prevalent forms of social engineering, phishing, attempts to gain access to your system via email, text messages,  instant messages, or websites that appear to be from a legitimate source. Most of the time attacks will impersonate reputable organizations or individuals to trick victims into sharing sensitive information such as passwords, credit card numbers, or personal data. To protect yourself:

2. Pretexting

Pretexting is the clever fabrication of a scenario where an attacker assumes a false identity to manipulate victims into divulging confidential information or performing actions they wouldn’t otherwise do. These attacks often exploit trust, authority, or sympathy to gain victims’ compliance. You can protect yourself by: 

3. Baiting

Baiting focuses on enticing victims with something desirable, such as free software, media, or other tempting offers, to lure them into taking compromising actions. This can involve clicking on malicious links, downloading infected files, or inserting compromised devices into your system. To safeguard against baiting: 

4. Tailgating

Tailgating, or piggybacking, is when an attacker gains physical access to a restricted area by following an authorized person or by convincing them to hold the doors open. To prevent unauthorized access: 

5. Impersonation

Impersonation is when an attacker is posing as a trusted individual, such as a co-worker, service technician, or a customer support representative. Impersonation aims to manipulate victims into disclosing sensitive information or granting unauthorized access. Protect yourself by: 

6. Quizzes and Surveys

Attackers may create seemingly harmless quizzes or surveys to collect information about individuals, which can later be used for malicious purposes.

7. Watering Hole Attacks

Attackers compromise websites or group forums that their target frequently visits, anticipating that the target will unknowingly download malicious content. By infecting the website with malware, the attacker can exploit vulnerabilities in the visitor’s system.

As technology continues to become more a part of our lives, social engineering continues to pose a significant threat. By understanding the various types of social engineering tactics and implementing proactive measures, both individuals and organizations can strengthen their defenses. Vigilance, healthy skepticism, and ongoing education are crucial to safeguarding your valuable data and protecting yourself from falling victim to these cyber schemes. 

KT Connections is committed to helping you fortify your cybersecurity posture. Our IT and Cybersecurity experts have the knowledge and experience to assess vulnerabilities, develop defense strategies, and educate you and your staff on best practices. To learn more about how we can safeguard against social engineering attacks and other cybersecurity threats, visit our site at or contact our sales team directly today!