Some cybercriminals should have become actors instead because they clearly like to pretend to be someone they’re not.
Such cybercriminals are constantly coming up with all sorts of made-up situations, called pretexts, trying to convince their victims to divulge sensitive information, grant access to protected systems, or perform some other action that’s guaranteed to have unfortunate consequences.
Let’s take a look at what makes these so-called pretexting attacks so effective that many organizations are still struggling to keep them at bay.
What Is Pretexting?
Pretexting is a social engineering attack where an attacker fabricates a scenario to trick the victim into taking some action that benefits the attacker, such as providing their credit card details, installing an infected software application, or approving an invoice to be paid.
Unlike many other social engineering attacks, pretexting doesn’t depend on any specific digital channel. As long as the attacker somehow communicates the pretext (via email, in person, or over the phone) and successfully convinces the victim to believe it, they can achieve their nefarious objectives.
How Does a Pretexting Attack Work?
Pretexting works by making its victims unknowingly participate in made-up scenarios without them realizing it. For that to happen, two main conditions must be met:
An attacker could call an employee, introduce themselves as their future son, and ask the employee to infect the company network with malware to stop it from turning into Skynet, but nobody would take such a request seriously.
However, if the same attacker introduces themselves as a member of the company’s IT department and claims that there is a security threat that requires urgent action, the employee may be more likely to comply with their requests.
That’s especially true if the attacker is able to provide some convincing details or evidence to support their story. Such information can be obtained by dumpster diving behind the office building or by doing research on social media.
How to Protect Against Pretexting Attacks
Pretexting and other social engineering attacks exploit the following weaknesses in human defenses:
To strengthen their human defenses and make it harder for attackers to exploit the above-described weaknesses using pretexting and other social engineering attacks, organizations should focus on the following defensive measures:
By implementing these and other best practices, organizations can much better protect themselves against pretexting attacks and avoid their potentially devastating consequences.
How TechGen Can Help!
Pretexting attacks are a significant threat to organizations, and without proper protective measures in place, they can result in serious consequences. It’s important to remember that the success of these attacks largely depends on human vulnerabilities, so addressing them should be every organization’s top priority.
At TechGen, we can help you train your employees to recognize pretexting attacks before they can cause any harm to your organization, develop and implement policies and procedures, as well as deploy access controls tailored to your organization’s needs, among other things.
Don’t let cybercriminals take advantage of your organization’s vulnerabilities. Contact us today to eliminate them.