How do cybercriminals gain access to private information from businesses and home users? Most people think cyber-attacks and threats involve very advanced knowledge, techniques, and tools. In fact, knowledge about technology in hacking circles is high, but many attacks happen in a simpler way than you might think.

For example, you are late in filing the income tax return and receive an e-mail from Federal Reserve informing you about the deadline. The email’s content makes you to believe the message. The visual identity of the mail seems true, the topic is in your best interest and you expect to resolve the issue without much difficulty. To facilitate, the Reserve sends a direct link do you can deliver the declaration. Clicking is simple. However, the link is the gateway to a malicious file. The technique used for infection is called phishing. But there is something else in the context of the attack.

The process of approaching the user of an electronic device and encourage them to do something they should not, through psychological manipulation, is called social engineering. This is not strictly about malicious code, it is an earlier step: the process of convincing the user. In this type of scam, human interaction is important to destabilize security procedures. Other types of criminals exploit the same technique in the offline world.

That is, before the malicious code, many threats exploit the social, not just technological, scope.

For social engineering, the most vulnerable element of the security system is the individual. In many types of attacks, without user action – either by clicking a link, sending private information, downloading a file etc. – it is not possible to continue with the infection.

To identify cases of social engineering the best tool is common sense. Simple clues help identify a possible coup: urgency context, requiring immediate action of the individual; request of information that should not be shared; or pressure to ignore processes within a security policy, are some examples.

In the context of information security, if social engineering works, it is important to use tools that allow you to anticipate vulnerabilities and block intruders on your devices. Often, email will be the main means of these types of attacks. Although old, stories like that of the Nigerian Prince who wants to share his inheritance in exchange for using your local bank account still reaches many people. Therefore, it is important to maintain active e-mail protection solutions to identify these types of threats.

And even in the corporate context these techniques can happen. For example, if your company has a solid security policy, and states that you should not share personal access data, but you are approached by a would-be employee requesting information, as an exception to the rule, be wary. An attacker may be using the insider means to gain new information.


With more than 5,000 clients, Blockbit is one of the leading manufacturers of cybersecurity solutions, empowering businesses to protect themselves against a wide range of threats, vulnerabilities, and cyberattacks, whether internal or external, generic or specific.