Social Engineering is an approach to gain access to information through misrepresentation. It is the conscious manipulation of people to obtain information without realizing that a security breach is occurring. It may take the form of impersonation via telephone or in person and through email. Some emails entice the recipient into opening an attachment that activates a virus or malicious program in to your computer.

  • Careless talking is one of the reason for social engineering
  • Careless talking about business, the office, home, personal and the people and discussing with those who not authorized to talk, and also gives the sensitive information indirectly to someone who may use it for a specific reason such as breaking into your computer, your organization details etc.

How do they do this?

  • A Social Engineer may approach you either a telephone or e-mail and pose as a person from your Information Technology Department or Help Desk and may ask for user id, password and other details like systems and network information.
  • A Social Engineer may meet you outside of your work place, or organization and may ask you about your work or How your organization does the things.
  • A Social Engineer may come to your organization to present business needs and may ask for network connectivity to know about network information or any sensitive information.
  • A Social engineer may ask your identity card to know about your personal information about your School, organization etc.
  • The basic goals of social engineering are the same as hacking in general: to gain unauthorized access to systems or information to commit fraud, network intrusion, identity theft or simply disrupt the system and network. 

Social Engineering can be done in many ways.

Public Places

Social Engineering can be done through public places like cafes, pubs, movie theatres. You may release or give some sensitive information to the public or  a social engineer or someone may overhear you.


You may talk about some gossip with colleague and may give some information to other colleague who might be a social engineer.

Personal Pride or Confidence

 You may give sensitive information of your family or organization to boast   your achievements, pride, and confidence to unknown persons.


Social engineers may obtain information on-line by pretending to be the  Network Administrator, sending e-mail through the network and asking for a user's password or any sensitive information indirectly.


It is one of the method of  social engineering over the telephone system, most often using features facilitated by Voice over IP (VoIP), to gain access to private personal and financial information from the public for the purpose of financial reward. The term is a combination of "voice" and phishing.
Don’t give any financial information to unknown people over phone , confirm to whom you are speaking and cross check with the concern company or bank before giving any information


Phishing is a type of deception designed to steal your valuable personal data, such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data and  or other information.The attackers have become more sophisticated and also their phishing e-mail messages and pop-up windows. They often include official looking logos from real organizations and other identifying information taken directly from legitimate Web sites.

If you think you've received a phishing email message, do not respond to it. and don’t even click on the links you received from the unknown users.

Other Techniques


It is one of the methods of social engineering which uses physical media and relies on the curiosity or greed of the victim. Here the attacker leaves the malware inserted or infected USB or  pen Drive, CD/DVD ROM in a location that to be found and gives a legitimate looking and makes victim curiosity and waits for them to use the device.
Don’t get tempted in accessing the devices which left unattended or found at sidewalk, elevator, parking lot etc.


Influence someone to give you confidential information either by convincing them you are someone who can be trusted or by just asking for it.

Be suspicious don’t get influenced by the unknown person and don’t give away the confidential information to them.

Non –Technical

Dumpster diving

Dumpster diving, also known as trashing is another popular method of Social Engineering. A huge amount of information can be collected through company dumpsters or wastage from home.
Don’t dump any confidential papers into trash, before dumping make sure you don’t have any important information in it.


A Hoax is an attempt to trap people into believing that something false is real. This is usually aimed at a single victim and is made for illicit financial or material gain a hoax is often perpetrated as a practical joke, to cause embarrassment.

Beware don’t believe the e-mails received from unknown and don’t ever give the financial information.


Pretexting is the act of creating and using an imaginary scenario to engage a targeted victim in a manner that increases the chance the victim will reveal information or do actions that would be unlikely in ordinary circumstances. It is more than a simple lie.
Be cautious because strangers try to fool you by creating false situation and make you to believe in order to collect the confidential information.

How do you avoid being a victim?

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or email messages from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company. 
  • Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, including its structure or networks, unless you are certain of a person's authority to have the information.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
  • Don't send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a website's security. Pay attention to the URL of a website. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
  • If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use contact information provided on a website connected to the request; instead, check previous statements for contact information. Information about known phishing attacks is also available online from groups such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group
  • Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic.
  • Take advantage of any anti-phishing features offered by your email client and web browser.

What do you do if you think you are a victim?

  • If you believe you might have revealed sensitive information about your organization, report it to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity.
  • If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close any accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for any unexplainable charges to your account.
  • Immediately change any passwords you might have revealed. If you used the same password for multiple resources, make sure to change it for each account, and do not use that password in the future.
  • Watch for other signs of identity theft .
  • Consider reporting the attack to the police, and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.
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