How to Protect Yourself from Social Engineering Attacks
7 min readJun 18, 2021

Social engineering is a method used by hackers in almost all attacks recently. Hackers using this method often try to manipulate people into giving their confidential information. Hackers can request various types of information, but the most targeted information is passwords or bank account numbers. The main purpose here is to gain access to your computer and install malware that can hijack more important files. With malware, hackers can take over almost everything on your device. So how can you protect yourself from social engineering attacks?

How to Protect Yourself from Social Engineering Attacks: What Are Hackers Aiming For?

One reason hackers use social engineering tactics is that they can play into people’s trust mechanism. That way, they can infiltrate your computer more easily. At this point, you should analyze who and what to trust well. Make sure that the person you are communicating with is really that person and whether what they are saying is true. We do this often in our daily lives, and it is very important to pay attention to this in our online interactions as well. So what exactly do you need to pay attention to? To understand this, you first need to understand how social engineering attacks happen.

How Do Social Engineering Attacks Happen?

1. Hackers Can Imitate Someone You Know.

Hackers first hack your email and hijack your contact list. It then detects the people you communicate with or are close to the most. In addition, many of us can monitor our other accounts because we use the same password on different sites. The next step is to collectively send the same phishing e-mail to the people it detects and wait for them to click.

These phishing emails

– can only contain an innocent link. Since you trust the person who sent the e-mail, you click on the link in this e-mail and your computer can be infected with malware. As a result, the hacker gains access to your device and copies your data.

– may contain a file attachment. Emails containing pictures, music, video files are also used quite frequently. These types of e-mail attachments also contain malware and if you download them, your device can be infected. This is how the hacker gains access to your device, accounts and contact list.

2. Hackers can impersonate famous and trusted companies.

Hackers impersonate a trusted source in social engineering attacks. You may receive an email that appears to be from a famous or known company. The e-mail may be requesting your identification information or other personal information. Hackers who want this information with a logical reason can easily trap you. According to research, hackers often impersonate banks or other financial service providers in these types of attacks. In addition, almost all data breaches result from personal information provided as a result of social engineering attacks.

In this type of email, hackers create a legitimate scenario. They often impersonate a popular company, bank, or institution. Users are sometimes asked to donate to these institutions, and sometimes to complete a delayed payment. Details of the account to which they will send the money are also in the e-mail. Some hackers who want to take advantage of people’s benevolence can trick people into asking for support in times of natural disaster.

In addition, in some social engineering attacks, hackers simply say that your information is compromised. They ask you to verify your information in the e-mail. The sender address, logos and content in the email may seem quite legitimate to you. You can be fooled by these details and believe the e-mail and click on the fake site with the link in the e-mail. In this way, the hacker gets what he wants. If you notice that this is a phishing attack, you should act quickly. Because hackers act very quickly and can steal your information before you know what’s going on.

Another scenario that is frequently used in e-mails is the reward scenario. The hacker tells you that you have won a very important lottery. This could be a lottery, inheritance, or some other type of lottery. They ask for your account information in order to deposit the amount you won into your account. By believing this, you hand over your account information, address and phone number to them. As a result of such attacks, hackers can empty most of their victims’ bank accounts or steal their credentials and use them in another attack.

Finally, hackers can impersonate your colleague or a senior executive in your company to more easily trap you. They may tell you about a very important and confidential project and tell you that you need to make a quick payment for this project to continue. However, no one would email their employee for such a payment. You have to be very careful with such scenarios.

3. Hackers Can Send The Same Email To Multiple People.

Social engineering attacks are not usually aimed at a single person. Hackers try to trap as many people as possible by sending the same email to multiple people. These types of emails contain a general message. For example, the email might contain a file such as a new movie or music. When you click on this file, the link takes you to malicious websites. Users who click on this link can infect their device with a large number of malware. You should think twice before clicking on links in these types of emails.

4. Hackers May Pretend They Are Answering Your Question.

Even if you have never created a ‘help request’ from a site you use frequently, you can get a response. The email you are dealing with is most likely a phishing email. Hackers pretend to answer a question in these types of emails and request extra information. For this purpose, they imitate companies that use a lot of users, such as software companies or banks. If you have not created any help request, you can ignore the message. However, most users click on the phishing email to see if there is a problem or even deliver the requested information in the email.

5. Hackers Can Create an Environment of Distrust.

In some phishing attacks, the sole purpose of hackers was to create distrust or initiate conflict. This type of phishing attack may be organized by someone you know and is angry with you. In some cases, behind the attacks, there is only a malicious person you do not know. These types of hackers want to reduce your trust in others by creating an atmosphere of distrust. Then they try to gain your trust by interfering with the situation. In this way, they can obtain information from you and threaten to expose you by manipulating this information.

To summarize, we encounter thousands of different types of social engineering attacks every day. Hackers’ imaginations are evolving every day and they are finding new ways to harm users more and more. So what can we do with us?

Here are Tips to Remember Against Social Engineering Attacks!

1. Take Your Time.

Hackers expect you to act quickly and without thinking. That’s why their messages have a sense of urgency. They get what they want by putting you under pressure. That’s why it’s important not to rush. Go slow and take a deep breath. Most importantly, be sceptical before you act.

2. Review the Information in the Message.

Examine the information contained in the spam messages one by one. If the email is from someone you know or a company, do your own research rather than relying on the information in the email directly. Compare the information in the e-mail with the information on the company’s own site.

3. Think Again Before Clicking on Links.

Do not directly click on links found in the e-mail. If necessary, search the mentioned site in your search engine, and make sure that the address is legitimate. That way, you can keep control.

4. Think Again Before Downloading Attachments.

If you are not sure who the sender is, do not download any attachment contained in the email. Such attachments contain malware and can harm your computer.

5. Utilize Incident Response Tools.

Most email applications we use have tools for detecting spam. First, maximize your spam filter. If you think important emails will end up in the spam folder, check this folder often. In addition, phishing emails can still get past your spam filter. That’s why you should use an incident response tool. Our Incident Response tool is designed to catch attacks that bypass your systems and progress to your email. Our tool allows users to report suspicious emails with one click and analyzes header, body and file attachments in these emails. Click here for more information about incident response and all our other tools.