How to Prevent Social Engineering

What is Social Engineering?
Instead of attacking a computer, Social Engineering is the act of interacting and manipulating people to obtain important/sensitive information or perform an act that is latently harmful. To be blunt, it is hacking a person instead of a computer. A social engineer can the use the phone, the internet, or even show up in person to perform the malicious act. They can be after data such as ID number, username, password, server names, machine names, remote connection settings, schedules, credit card numbers, etc. They may also try to get someone to install some malicious software, visit an unscrupulous website, or even access unauthorized locations.

What can I do?
Be educated, aware, and a little bit paranoid.
Never give out

Be aware of what is being asked

Always: when in doubt, ask the person to wait while you verify (a) identity, (b) need to know, and (c) if you are the rightful/authorized source of the information.


Examples of Social Engineering
Phishing:
Recent e-mails have been sent stating that your account has been compromised or that the account needs to be confirmed. They are false!:

>From: FCU <update@ncua.com>
>Subject: FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
>
>    [ The following text is in the "Windows-1251" character set. ]
>    [ Your display is set for the "ISO-8859-1" character set.  ]
>    [ Some special characters may be displayed incorrectly. ]
>
>NCUA Seal
>Dear FCU client,
>
>As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in Federal
>Credit Unions (FCU) network.
>We recently noticed the following issue on your account: A recent review
>of your transaction history determined that we require some additional
>information from you in order to provide you with secure service. Case ID
>Number: PP-065-617-349 For your protection, we have limited  your
>access,  until additional security measures can be completed. We
>apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please log and restore
>your access as soon as possible.
>
>You must click the link below and fill in the form on the following page
>to complete the verification process.
>
>              Click here to update your account
>
>Please do not reply to this e-mail. Mail sent to this address cannot be
>answered.
>
>NCUA Share Insurance Logo

E-mail pretending to be from tech support:
> From: service@seas.ucla.edu [mailto:service@seas.ucla.edu]
> Sent: Monday, June 06, 2005 1:17 PM
> Subject: IMPORTANT NOTIFICATION
>
> Dear Valued Member,
>
> According to our site policy you will have to confirm your account by the
> following link or else your account will be suspended within 24 hours for
> security reasons.
>
> http://www.seas.ucla.edu/confirm.php?email=user@seas.ucla.edu

The link above actually pointed to http://209.67.220.164/confirm.php?email=user@seas.ucla.edu
Which is a malicious web server trying to obtain information.

>
> Thank you fr your attention to this question. We apologize for any
> inconvenience.
>
> Sincerely,Seas Security Department Assistant.