Cyberattacks by Social Engineering: Learn to detect and prevent them

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Cyberattacks by Social Engineering: Learn to detect and prevent them

In Cybersecurity environments, the human factor is one of the weakest and most critical components. As users, the use we make of our computing devices in personal and business environments will depend on a multitude of personal factors.

Although we bet on the best measures and technical infrastructures to prevent cyberattacks, an unwary user can compromise an entire system. Social engineering attacks are the prelude to more serious and sophisticated cyberattacks, so user training and awareness is essential to mitigate the success rate of these attacks.

What is Social Engineering and how does it work?

Social Engineering attacks are defined by INCIBE as the technique used by cybercriminals to gain the user’s trust with the aim of obtaining through persuasion, manipulation and deception, privileged security information such as personal data, contacts, or passwords.

In short, Social Engineering is the manipulation carried out by the cybercriminal taking advantage of the cognitive bias of his victim so that he performs or facilitates the information he seeks, going unnoticed on many occasions for the victim.

When we deal with Cybersecurity issues, attacks through Social Engineering consist of persuading and manipulating the victim through social and psychological skills to obtain the information of interest of the cybercriminal, thanks to which, to be able to execute in a second phase, his cyberattack.

For cybercriminals this kind of cyberattack very simple to execute, quite effective and, in addition, cheap as they require very few technical means.

Common Types of Social Engineering Attacks

Social Engineering attacks are quite diverse, taking shape according to human interaction and the cognitive bias that you want to exploit by the cybercriminal. This abstract component makes them difficult to pigeonhole as a specific category of cyberattack, presenting themselves in various ways as the following.


Phishing is the most widespread cyberattack in recent years. This cyberattack through Social Engineering is executed by sending emails that seem to come from a reliable source, designed with an appearance of legitimacy and plausibility that seeks to deceive the victim to provide their personal or financial data.

It is the attack par excellence used for the realization of online scams.


We move from the electronic medium to the physical medium. The Baiting or bait attack uses a physical means such as a USB device or a DVD with which it seeks to arouse the curiosity of the victim to connect it to their computer.

As the user connects this device to their computer, the malware they contain is released and with which cybercriminals take advantage to take control of the computer, steal data and access the network.

Another aspect of Baiting occurs online on fraudulent websites with promotions or contests that encourage us to enter our data or to download malware without us being aware of it.


The younger brothers of Phishing. These are given through fraudulent phone calls (Vishing) and sending SMS messages (Smishing) looking for identical objectives and results: that the victim provides personal data, passwords or falls into the error of accessing a fraudulent link through which the user’s device is infected.


Pretexting is a type of social engineering attack in which attackers pose as another person (usually an authority or a person in charge of a company/service) to get information from the victim.

These attacks are difficult to detect at first by the user, so they are usually having a high efficiency index for cybercriminals.


Finally, the classic social engineering attack par excellence: SPAM. This cyberattack by Social Engineering sews in the mass sending of emails without having been requested by the user.

Although they are usually unwanted commercial communications, on many occasions they contain malicious links or some type of downloadable malware.

The objective of this type of attack is very varied, from the massive commercial impact, to penetrate the user through a phishing attack.

Signals to detect a Social Engineering attack

At any time, we can be victims of a cyberattack by Social Engineering. Unlike traditional cyberattacks, in which cybercriminals want to go unnoticed, cybercriminals usually communicate with us in an obvious way.

As a user, we must be wary if at the time they contact us there are some of the following variables:

  • You’re receiving a communication, email, or help that you haven’t asked for.
  • The message is aimed at the spectrum of emotions.
  • The message contains urgent requests.
  • The sender is unknown.
  • Strange content of the message when it comes from a friend, co-worker, or family member.

How to prevent this type of attack?

As in many other areas of cybersecurity, as users the best way to avoid these attacks is to know them and know how to detect them, being cautious and using high doses of common sense.

From Letslaw we offer you the following tips:

  • Train and raise awareness about basic fundamentals of preventive cybersecurity.
  • Configure our email to filter out as much SPAM and suspicious email as possible.
  • Investigate the source of any electronic communication we receive, by mail, sms or telephone call.
  • Be suspicious and suspicious of any offer that is very rewarding
  • Always use trusted antivirus and antimalware

At Letslaw we are experts in the development of Cybersecurity Protocols for companies, being able to help you in the adaptation and integration of preventive and reactive cybersecurity processes for your business.

“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”
“The weakest link in cybersecurity is the user”

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