It might come as a surprise, but the greatest cyber threat that businesses are facing today isn’t hackers exploiting software vulnerabilities; it’s your staff.

Social engineering attacks are now the most common form of cybercrime. By using sneaky and manipulative tactics to trick employees into sharing sensitive information like usernames and passwords, hackers are gaining access to valuable data, and it’s costing businesses BILLIONS.

What Is Social Engineering?

Social engineering uses manipulation and deception to target a specific individual with the goal of getting them to give up sensitive information, or complete a task that benefits the hacker’s end goal.

One of the most common social engineering scams is Spear Phishing; by sending a targeted email to an employee while posing as the CEO or another member of upper management, a hacker can quickly gain access to valuable information just by asking for it, or by embedding malware in an attachment that will let them invade your network. This is the single most common – and most effective – tactic used for social engineering scams.

Given how carefully orchestrated and personalized these attacks are, how can you keep from being a victim? It starts with training your staff and training them well.

Each employee should be thoroughly educated on the ways to spot and prevent a social engineering attack, and that education needs to be ongoing. Allowing yourself or your staff to get complacent puts your business at serious risk.

In addition to training your staff, there are a few other measures you can take, such as:

  • Proper password management: Make password security a top priority, and enforce individual accountability for the safety of all end user accounts
  • Two-factor authentication: Use secondary confirmation methods in addition to passwords to add an extra layer of protection to accounts and devices
  • Antivirus/anti-phishing defenses: While these precautions can’t make up for a lack of diligence on your employees’ part, they’re a good place to start and a necessity for basic cyber security
  • Standard protocols for requests: Have set steps in place for management to follow when asking for information or access from employees. If your employees have a clear idea of how these interactions should look, they’re less likely to be fooled by a hacker posing as their supervisor

Above all, it’s important to build and maintain a culture of awareness. By giving your employees the tools to spot a potential threat and driving home the idea that they should always speak up if they see something suspicious, you’ll be making it that much harder for a hacker to compromise your staff.

Want to know more about keeping your business safe from cybercrime? Contact the RCOR team right away at (919) 313-9355 or tim@rcor.com to get started.