Without the right protection, the Internet can become a dangerous place. Malicious hackers may be lurking around any corner, and cybersecurity attacks can occur at any moment. One of the most prevalent attack methods that modern criminals use is social engineering. This attack involves interacting directly with the perpetrator, whether through email, SMS text message, or another form of online contact. Today, we’ll help answer the question, “what is a social engineering attack,” and teach you to protect yourself against them.

What is a Social Engineering Attack?

Before we can answer this question, we must first understand what social engineering actually is. Social engineering is the method of attacking victims through direct interaction and human error. This means that attackers will identify an individual, engage with them, launch their attack, and then vanish without a trace. Attacks will follow this pattern routinely, so it’s important to identify it and prevent yourself from being a future target.

Much of social engineering relies entirely on human error instead of malware or security weaknesses. This makes it harder for programs like antivirus software to protect users from them. The best way to protect yourself from social engineering attacks is to inform yourself of all of their attack methods. When it comes to cybersecurity, knowledge is key.

Methods of Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering attacks have various methods that can get victims to surrender their personal data. In fact, you may have fallen prey to them yourself without knowing. Take a look at the following social engineering attack methods and determine if you have seen them before.

  • Phishing: Scams are sent as emails or text messages containing “urgent” messages that create fear in victims, who then follow the suspicious links sent by attackers. 
  • Vishing and/or Smishing: Attackers utilize phone calls (vishing) and SMS text messages (smishing) to fraudulently obtain sensitive information from victims. 
  • Spear Phishing: Similar to phishing, these attacks focus on targeting individuals or entire companies rather than casting a wide net and hoping for someone to fall for their trick.
  • Scareware: Warnings and pop-ups plague victims in this attack method, prompting them to download software or make updates that are actually malware.
  • Baiting: Attackers place “bait” in the form of ads, emails, or physical media to trick victims into downloading malware and other dangerous software. 

Now that you are familiar with the most common types of social engineering attacks, you can learn how to protect yourself from them. Social engineering prevention begins with education, but there are also other ways to protect your data from an attack.

Social Engineering Attack Prevention

One of the best ways to protect yourself against a social engineering attack is to avoid emails and messages from unknown users. Whether you’re on Facebook or in your personal inbox, it’s important to be cautious about any potentially suspicious activity. If you don’t recognize the person who sent you an email, don’t open it. It should also go without saying that you never want to download any files from strangers. These are simple practices that can save you a lot of time, money, and energy when it comes to social engineering attacks.

Another great form of prevention is using two-factor authentication. Depending on the platform, you may even be able to access multifactor authentication. This gives you more control over your online accounts. This additional authentication step is a great way to increase the security of your inboxes. 

Keeping your antivirus software up to date is also another easy way to protect yourself against these attacks. Without the latest updates on your antivirus, cybercriminals can attempt to exploit the minor vulnerabilities in your security software. Using a VPN is another great way to give yourself more power and control over your online privacy. With a VPN, you can quickly mask your online activity and protect yourself from prying eyes. Using a powerful VPN and an antivirus program can give you more control over your online protection. 

Protect Yourself Online with PrivadoVPN

Defending your Internet privacy can feel like an uphill battle, but using a powerful VPN can help. With PrivadoVPN, you can reduce your risk of attacks, increase your online privacy, and get the protection you deserve. PrivadoVPN offers an easy-to-use app for all of your favorite devices that makes it simple to connect and protect yourself in just a few clicks. With world-class features, lightning-fast connections, and unlimited monthly VPN data, using PrivadoVPN is the best way for you to begin improving your online privacy. Sign up today and take back control of your Internet experience, one click at a time. 

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