What to Know About Social Engineering Attacks
March 1, 2023

Social engineering is nothing new, yet people still fall prey to these tactics. Social engineering attacks increase the likelihood of ransomware and other security breaches. By recognizing the various social engineering strategies that cybercriminals use, you and your organization can reduce the chances of cyberattacks.

What Is a Social Engineering Attack?

Social engineers employ techniques designed to psychologically manipulate or deceive a person into taking unsafe actions, such as opening a fraudulent email or revealing vital information. These tactics attempt to build trust with the intended targets and are often successful due to trusting and gullible people. The attacks give hackers access to data, networks, and systems.

Social Engineering and Data

One type of social engineering is known as data social engineering or data manipulation. These attacks use data or information to trick people into online actions that compromise security. With this method, cybercriminals use personal data found on resumes, social media profiles, public records, stolen data, or online searches to create new profiles that will resonate with the targets of a cyberattack. The fraudulent profiles build trust because they seem familiar.

Common Social Engineering Attacks

There are many ways that cybercriminals use data to deceive people and gain access to critical information. Your organization needs to be aware of these methods to protect your digital assets.


Using false profiles (or identities) is one reason phishing emails are successful. With phishing, the emails seem to come from a trusted friend, colleague, or service provider so the recipient clicks on a link or downloads a malicious file. These actions often lead to ransomware, data breaches, or stolen information.


Cybercriminals also use fraudulent profiles to impersonate top-level executives at an organization. This is known as pretexting. The targets think that they are communicating with someone they have a business relationship with. Hackers use pretexting to get employees to disclose sensitive information.

Digital Baiting

With digital baiting, cybercriminals offer something of value to their targets, such as free music, movie downloads, or paid apps. This file usually contains malware that can take over a system or steal data. This is a popular route to adding ransomware or spyware to a device.

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

The main goal of a business email compromise is financial. Because so many individuals and organizations conduct business via email, it’s easy to impersonate executives and get employees to send money, such as paying a fraudulent invoice.


Scareware is a social engineering tactic that starts as a pop-up ad. The ad exploits a user’s fear by claiming that spyware or a virus is detected on their device. The ad encourages targets to install a software program to resolve the issues. The software usually contains malware.

Social engineering attacks take many forms, and such tactics continue to increase. Organizations need to train employees to be vigilant when responding to messaging. To protect your digital assets, learn from the experts at RingStor. For data back-up, storage, and recovery solutions, call us today at (609) 955-3422 or send an email.