7 Types of Social Engineering Attacks

4 min readJun 30, 2021


Social engineering attacks can happen in thousands of different ways. But the most familiar types of social engineering include phishing attacks, voice phishing, whaling, and targeted phishing. The number of such attacks is increasing day by day. Therefore, to protect ourselves, we must know these types of attacks and obtain protections for all of them. For this purpose, in this article, we will give you information about 7 types of social engineering attacks and explain how you can protect yourself from them one by one.

7 Types of Social Engineering Attack: How Does Social Engineering Attacks Happen?

In social engineering attacks, hackers exploit people’s instincts for trust and panic. Often all they have to do is stir up people’s emotions by sending a fake email, voicemail or text message. In this way, they can trick their targets into transferring money, giving away sensitive information, or installing malware on their devices. Most of the different types of social engineering attacks happen this way. So let’s examine these 7 types of social engineering attacks together.

7 Types of Social Engineering Attacks

1. Phishing attacks:

Phishing attacks are the most common method used by hackers. In this type of attack, hackers take advantage of deceptive emails, fake websites and text messages to steal information. This way, victims are tricked into giving out sensitive information.

2. Targeted phishing attacks:

Unlike ordinary phishing attacks, hackers plan attacks against specific people or institutions in this type of attack. They only target this person or entity in their messages or calls. For this purpose, they conduct deep research on their goals.

3. Baiting attacks:

Baiting attacks are very similar to phishing attacks, but there is a promise of reward in this type of attack. These types of attacks can take place online or physically. Hackers expect the victim to be fooled by the reward and hand over important information.

4. Ransomware attacks:

In ransomware attacks, hackers, so to speak, take advantage of malware. They install malware on their target’s device using various methods and demand payment. Although, if the victim does not pay, they will not be able to access their files. Hackers say they will remove the malware only when the victim makes the payment they requested. But there is no guarantee about that either.

5. Tailgating attacks:

In tailgating attacks, hackers physically track their victims or target organization. They aim to provide physical access to a secure building or area. They usually wait at the building entrance or around an important area and try to find an open door. If they find it, they can easily enter the building and complete their attack.

6. Voice Phishing (vishing) Attacks:

In voice phishing, vishing attacks, hackers reach their victims with voice messages or phone calls. They tell them that there is an emergency or that their information is in danger. That’s why victims need to act fast. By taking advantage of this sense of urgency, they aim to abuse the feelings of their victims.

7. Watering hole attacks:

In watering-hole attacks, hackers target a vast audience. They usually set up a malware-hosting website for this purpose. Then, they aim to infect the computer of all users who visit the site with malware. This type of social engineering attack is one of the most advanced. Watering hole attacks can cause serious material and moral damage to companies.

7 Types of Social Engineering Attacks: What to Do?

The common feature of these social engineering attacks is that they all result from human error. The number of such attacks has been increasing since hackers realized that they could exploit human errors and abuse emotions. The fact that companies are also focused on the technical aspects of cybersecurity is the only reason hackers are successful. That’s why companies need to change their cybersecurity method and use a human-centred approach.

1. Benefit from Cyber ​​Security Awareness Trainings.

With the unique training programs we offer you, you can easily train your employees and bring cybersecurity awareness to every part of your company. Our programs, which you can adjust according to your employees and to the situation, will find a solution to your every need. For more information, you can take a look at our tool without wasting time.

2. Test Your Progress with Phishing Simulations.

Your employees may forget the information they learned unless they repeat it. Practising is great for reinforcing learning and tracking your progress. With the phishing and social engineering scenarios we have prepared according to real-life cases, you can test your employees and invest in areas where you are lacking. Check out our phishing simulation tool for more information, and start protecting yourself today.