The Top 5 Ways Cybercriminals Use Social Engineering

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Hodgson Consulting & Solutions

People often say that innovative technology and hacking techniques are how cybercriminals attack victims online. But did you know hackers can also use a less complicated way to get people to trust them online? It is a time-honored method of manipulating others by winning their trust and taking advantage of their emotions, known as cyberattacks for social engineering.

Common Methods of Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineers employ many inventive strategies to carry out their cunning plans. There are five distinct ways hackers use cyberattacks for social engineering to their benefit, listed here:


Phishing is by far the most common and most effective tactic that cybercriminals use in social engineering. It has been around for years, yet people continue to fall for it at an alarmingly high rate. Emails are the most popular method used for phishing. Anyone with an email account has probably seen several phishing attempts in their inbox.

Some of the first phishing emails came from a Nigerian prince who said he would give you a big chunk of his money if you helped him get his inheritance. Phishing emails have gotten cleverer over time, such as fake emails that appear to be from your bank and ask you to confirm your account number. Social media phishing has become more common in recent years, especially in cyberattacks using social engineering. One trick is when they ask you to enter your account information on a fake social media site that looks real.


A social engineering technique called baiting involves dangling something in front of the target victim, hoping they will click on a link and fall into the trap. It’s usually something the victim would want, like free music or a movie. Of course, the link does not provide them with what they promised; instead, it contains malware that harms your computer or network.


In this social engineering scam, the hacker contacts the victim by pretending to be someone the victim knows. They might act like the head of IT doing an inspection and ask an employee for their login information. Or they could act like a law enforcement official or an investigator to steal private information. If the employee thinks a hacker is a trusted person, they might not think twice about giving away their login information.

Quid Pro Quo

This is a type of social engineering attack where the hacker offers you something in exchange for critical information. Let’s say a disgruntled employee has been laid off or has left a company on not-so-amiable terms. Hackers hunt down these disgruntled individuals and offer to buy the information that they can use to attack the company.


Although most cyberattacks using social engineering take place online, there are many tricks used in a physical setting. One such instance is piggybacking. Tailgating, or “piggybacking,” is when someone sneaks behind an authorized worker into a closed-off part of the building. Once inside, they can quickly gain access to computers and steal data.

How to Be Safe from Cybercriminals Using Social Engineering Attacks

There are so many ways that cybercriminals use social engineering for malicious intent these days. However, there are also several things that you can do to keep safe from these attacks.

Many of the preventive measures are actually very simple, starting with never revealing passwords and other sensitive data to anyone. This includes heads of IT departments, people in charge of corporate audits, or even law enforcers.

As a business owner, it is also crucial to ensure that you educate all your employees fully when it comes to social engineering attacks and other cybercrimes. We have plenty of tools and resources that can help boost your protection against all kinds of cyberattacks. Call us today, and we’ll be happy to put together a plan to keep your company and data as secure as possible!

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