Hackers want to crack open more than just your computer. Today’s hackers want to crack the inner recesses of your brain and learn the desires, triggers, and habits that leave you vulnerable.
It sounds like a psychological thriller, but this is real: hackers will study behavioral patterns to learn about their victims and ways to influence them. It’s called Social Engineering.
First, they hack you to get information that helps them target attacks. Then, they create scenarios that will cause you to act in ways that share your data. They won’t steal your information; you will willingly, freely hand it over.
Fear is a basic human motivator. When we feel fear, we react swiftly and quickly, often without rational thought. So, hackers exploit your fears:
Do you have children? They send an email message threatening a loved one unless you give them your password. Are you a public figure (teacher, police officer, executive)? They claim to possess a compromising picture of yourself, only you must click a link and create an account to see it.
Do you bank online or hold multiple financial accounts? They claim an account is in danger from hackers and you must change your password by clicking here, a malware link (the irony may be the worst part).
Money motivates most of us. Hackers will try to entice you to get easy money or gamble with the money you already have in the bank. They may learn your annual salary to see if you are vulnerable to schemes that offer more to someone who struggles.
They might tempt you to invest in an opportunity that seems legit and vested. Or they approach you for a small-dollar loan that they will pay back with interest so you’ll make more later.
It is human nature to feel empathy and compassion for those who are most vulnerable, like children or animals. Hackers are ruthless in their willingness to play on those sympathies. They may learn about your preference for pugs or discover your regular donations to children’s causes, and now they have their access point.
Hackers who play on sympathies may create elaborate campaigns designed to portray endangered animals or children in need. They can flood your social media with ads that get your attention, wear down your defenses, and set you up for the hook.
You might receive a partial image that will reveal the whole story once you click on it, but the link is malware. However, you’re so conditioned by the campaign that you can’t help but click to see the rest of the story about the child or animal that captured your concern. Worst case scenario, you release your financial data by sending money through the internet to help their fake cause.
The more vigilant your habits about maintaining your security online and protecting your data, the more you make it harder for hackers to socially engineer traps for you. However, if you find yourself faced with these types of threats, proceed as follows:
First, it’s always good to stop, pause and take a breath before taking any actions. Then, re-evaluate the current circumstances to determine the threat level. If it’s possible or it applies, pick up the phone and call your friend or bank to verify that they sent this information to you.
These steps will help you make better choices when confronted by a hook asking for personal data.
Do you need security for your business data or network? We take the IT service needs off your plate so you can focus on what makes your business unique. Don’t stop with just securing your personal data; your business data is vulnerable, too. Learn more about the services we offer and book a call today to discuss how ABL Computers can keep your business up and running.
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