What Are Social Engineering Attacks & How to Prevent Them in 2022?

Cybersecurity is a complex and vast field that all business owners and senior executives must know. It is mandatory to protect customers’ personal information and business data today, both from regulatory and business perspectives. Understanding the different types of cyber-attacks is crucial.

Cybercriminals use social engineering techniques to compromise sensitive information, gain access to victim computers and unleash ransomware infections.

In this article, we will cover some tips on avoiding being a victim of digital social engineering attacks.

Social Engineering Attacks Overview

There are many types of social engineering attacks. This term refers to a wide range of malicious activities that are carried out by human interaction. Criminals use the human nature and fundamental human tendencies of criminals to attack organizations.

To plan their attacks, cybercriminals follow a step-by_step approach. These are the basics:

  1. Investigation: Identify victims, gather background information and choose the attack method.
  2. Hook: Engage your target, tell a story and take control of the interaction.
  3. Implement: Perform the attack, gain more time, disrupt businesses, or siphon data.
  4. Leave: Clear all traces of malware, cover the tracks and close the interaction.

Targeted attacks can be challenging to spot. What appears to be a normal interaction can often be an elaborate attack.

Attackers will often use digital communication to execute their plans, including email and social media platforms. They instill fear and urgency in their victims, which leads to them giving over sensitive information, such as bank account details, social security numbers, or any other personal data.

Social Engineering Attack Types

Let’s take a look at some social engineering tactics that criminals often use:


Phishing scams steal credentials from employees and spread malware via emails or links to malicious sites. There are many types of phishing attacks: pharming and spear-phishing and pharming and angler phishing.

Phishing is one of the most prevalent social engineering attacks that occur digitally. The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an increase in cases related to data breaches.


Cybercriminals are engaging in baiting when they convince someone to compromise security inadvertently. To get a giveaway or access a fake website, someone may use their login credentials. This can lead to data theft.

Honey Trap

To get sensitive information, attackers pretend to be romantically or sexually attracted to victims. These attacks often begin with innocuous-looking text messages but can cause system compromises.


Scareware is malware that pops up to inform you about security updates. Victims may be persuaded to visit malicious websites or purchase worthless products they believe have value.

How to avoid Social Engineering Attacks?

How can we avoid being a victim of these digital attacks?

Preparation is the best defense against social engineering attacks, just like any other cybercrime.

Many companies start to prepare for cyber incidents by creating a plan. You can download this free template to make your own Cyber Incident Respond Plan template.

These are the steps that are most commonly followed in a Cyber Incident Respond Plan:

  1. Prepare: Employees prepare to respond to a cybersecurity incident through Cyber Incident Response Training and cybersecurity awareness efforts.
  2. Identify This includes identifying who is responsible, the extent of the breach and if it’s affecting operations.
  3. Contain What can we do to address the aftermath of the incident
  4. Remove: This may include installing patches, removing malware software, or updating older software versions.
  5. Recovery: This involves getting the affected systems back online following an incident. You’d need to decide if it was worth paying the ransom if it was ransomware. Remember that you don’t always get your data back even after paying the ransom.
  6. Lessons Learned: In this stage, key business leaders and management evaluate and discuss what happened, why it occurred, and what can be done to improve the future.

It is not enough to have a Cyber Incident Response Plan. The entire organization must have a Cyber Incident Response Plan. 

Ransomware Tabletop Exercises are a sure-fire way to increase muscle memory in response to social engineering attacks.

These other tips may be of assistance to you if you are facing a cybersecurity issue in your organization.

  • Multifactor authentication (MFA) or two-factor authentication (2FA).
  • Never open attachments or emails from unknown sources.
  • Regularly update and install antivirus software
  • Backup data often
  • Dispose of sensitive documents that you no longer need regularly
  • For an easy visual guide to what to do in a crisis, download our Ransomware Response Workflow.


Social engineers use devious tactics to exploit innocent victims and force them to hand over sensitive information. They will do anything to carry out their scheme.

You can only protect yourself against them by building awareness, being prepared for the worst, and practicing your checklists and plans repeatedly.

Hope you liked this article on What Are Social Engineering Attacks & How to Prevent Them in 2022?

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