Social engineering manipulates your employees to gain access to valuable company assets and information, but a strong company culture can stop scams dead in their tracks.
Regardless of how much time and money you have invested in tools that protect your company’s network, forgetting the human element of security can leave you at risk. In the traditional sense, computer-based attacks depend on finding a vulnerability in your network, applications, or physical security. Social engineering scams, on the other hand, rely on a vulnerability in your company’s most valuable asset: your people. Learn how to fight these attacks by fostering a strong company culture and monitoring your progress with help from an Arkansas cybersecurity company that offers risk assessment and penetration testing services.
What Are Social Engineering Scams?
Social engineering scams manipulate your organization’s employees into breaking security procedures. An example of social engineering is phishing, a malicious tactic that can take the form of communications that are meant to look authentic and sent from a trusted source. For example, phishing may occur through an email with an attachment that appears to be a resume, but when clicked, the file infects your computer with ransomware.
In other cases, phishing can take the form of a website that is designed to steal login credentials. These scams resemble reputable websites and can deceptively gain access to your bank account and other valuable targets. Instead of exploiting your computer itself, a hacker can exploit the person behind your computer through social engineering.
What is an Example of a Social Engineering Scam?
FACC, an Austrian aerospace parts manufacturer, fired CEO Walter Stephan in May 2016 in the wake of a social engineering scam. FACC announced that a hacker sent a phishing email to an employee, requesting the transfer of money to an account for what was actually a nonexistent project. Without asking for verification, the employee followed the instructions in the fraudulent email and transferred the funds. The estimated loss was $55 million. The supervisory board, which reviewed the evidence surrounding the incident, found Stephan failed to fulfill his security-related responsibilities.
How Can Social Engineering Scams Be Prevented?
You can prevent scams like the one listed above by developing a company culture that values security. Your company culture is its personality; it defines the entire environment in which your employees interact. If you create an environment in which employees are not informed about the current social engineering threats to your business, they become liabilities. Additionally, if the company culture values efficiency above all else, your employees may be so harried that they may avoid time-consuming verification of processes with huge risks, meaning that situations like FACC’s recent loss can and will eventually happen.
As a leader, you must take into account the nature of security as you shape your company’s culture, just as you would consider the equipment that secures your network. Employees must be comfortable with verbally verifying large transactions and avoiding the release of information that could be deemed sensitive. If there is any question as to whether employees could identify and report an unfamiliar person who starts working at a vacant desk or know when to hang up the phone when a caller asks probing questions, security training may be needed. Your employees will benefit from increased user awareness, yearly process reviews, and data loss prevention training that is designed to stave off malicious social engineering attacks.
It is also beneficial to schedule quarterly reviews of your company’s security policy and keep your organization informed of current threats that put your business in jeopardy. Follow these reviews with simulated social engineering attacks run by an Arkansas cybersecurity company specializing in penetration testing services. This testing can give you the reporting and metrics needed to identify employees who are considered security risks and provide more targeted training to these members of your team.
Companies are investing heavily in network security, and it’s paying off. Hackers are finding it more and more difficult to gain unauthorized access to company networks, but they are finding ways around that security. Your employees could be falling victim to social engineering scams and giving away information that leaves your organization open to attack. By creating a company culture that values communication, education, and awareness, you can close the gap and prevent large losses to your organization.
If you are interested in protecting your company from social engineering scams through penetration testing services, contact Scale’s managed IT support team at 501-588-3199 today for professional advice.