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Structures like VPNs, firewalls, network monitoring software, and other authentication processes exist as internet security systems, yet there is a weak link that brings in colossal vulnerability: human beings. Human networks in an organization are always open to being exposed to system breaches by social engineering attacks.
Social engineering penetration tests involve individuals and processes, as well as the vulnerabilities they involve. These penetration tests generally involve an ethical hacker conducting the social engineering attacks that a person might encounter while at work.
What is Social Engineering Penetration Testing
Based on the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report of 2022, human network vulnerability was linked to 82% of breaches. To assess this vulnerability, organizations perform penetration tests. A penetration test is a controlled endanger to the organization to determine whether the employees and other potential vulnerabilities follow security policies and guidelines.
Social engineering testing could be conducted as part of more extensive penetration tests. The penetration tests, like ethical hacking methods, generally imitate the attacks done by a malicious social engineer, including phishing, impersonation, USB drops, and tailgating.
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Types of penetration testing techniques
Phishing attacks use emails to gain sensitive information or have harmful files that damage the hardware.
A successful phishing attack is possible by personalization. Enabling the users to believe that the emails are from a relevant, trusted source will most likely get their attention.
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Vishing and smashing
Vishing involves phone call scams that lure the victim into giving out sensitive information. Likewise, smishing involves SMS text message scams.
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The attacker can impersonate another person, convincing employees to leak sensitive and confidential information and gain access to secure areas.
Impersonation can also be in the form of accessing authenticated accounts of employees. The most challenging aspect of this attack is appearing credible and having all of the necessary credentials and documents in order.
The social engineer can collect data from sticky notes and calendars to collect information on the organization and the employee.
The attack mostly takes place by collecting materials from trash like old payment receipts, invoices, and logs.
Dumpster divers discover financial statements, official records, medical expenses, résumés, and other records by digging through the victim’s garbage.
This strategy involves slipping physical devices at strategic locations where they are likely to be noticed and connected to the system.
For instance, USB drops involve slipping malicious USBs into public spaces of a workspace. The malignant USB installs software that provides backdoor access into systems and transfers files with common file extensions.
In pretexting, the attacker fabricates a false situation to persuade the intended target to divulge sensitive information.
Attempting to contact the target and presenting as somebody who needs assistance is part of this strategy.
Attackers make connections through mail, emails, phone calls, and face-to-face interactions. The majority of phishing scams are a result of pretexting.
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Tailgating is illegal entry into a physical facility. This method is used in places where entering requires scanning an access key.
The attacker will closely follow a worker and enter the area when they scan their access key and open the door in this attack.
Social engineering penetration tests might be a significant way for organizations to assess their information security at their weakest link. These penetration tests can be performed by an internal audit committee team or by hiring an external penetration testing company.
To detect and prevent risks, organizations must consider scheduled penetration tests. Social engineering attacks are brutal to prevent, and raising employee awareness can help minimize the risk.