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How AI Is Helping Combat Social Engineering Attacks

How AI Is Helping Combat Social Engineering Attacks


There used to be a time when hacking was limited to computer systems and was done using software vulnerabilities. However, today, hacking has reached a whole new level. Hackers have become smarter, using new techniques that leave victims absolutely clueless and one such type of technique is Social Engineering, one of the hardest to predict and defend against.



Hackers love the saying “all humans are flawed” and that is what they make the most use of it. In recent years, the rate of social engineering attacks has skyrocketed. For hackers, picking out human targets to avoid security technologies is much easier. In fact, human victims have moved ahead of machines as the top target for cybercriminals.

What Are Social Engineering Attacks

Social engineering is a type of hacking that is carried out through human interactions. An attacker uses psychological manipulation to make the person do mistakes and reveal information. There is no particular way to carry out a social engineering attacker, an attacker may try different techniques depending on the victim’s nature.

Social engineering is completely about human error and that is what makes it a dangerous attack. Here are the five social engineering attacks to watch out for:

  • Phishing
  • Pretexting
  • Baiting
  • Quid Pro Quo
  • Tailgating

As mentioned, social engineering is one of the hardest attacks to identify. So, it is always advised to:

  • Not open any emails that don’t seem to be from a legitimate id
  • Not revealing any kind of information over phone calls
  • Not trusting lottery bait web links — ignore web links that say you have won a million dollar (money never comes that easy!)

Artificial Intelligence To The Rescue

There are numerous AI-powered chatbots available on the web that work towards sorting out customer issues. However, if a malicious AI-powered is taught to interact with humans in a friendly helpful way, it can be used to seek out customer complaints online, and they can be used to pose as customer service bot trying to remedy the situation. And if anyone falls to this trap,  they may end up handing over sensitive data such as security question answers or passwords or personal identifying information.

With so much of cyber-attacks happening across the world, thwarting social engineering has also become agenda for security firms and making use of AI can be a great option to tackle future threats — it can make the work of security researchers and analysts more effective. Therefore, technology firms across the world have started working day in and out to leverage every possible tech to deal with cyber-attacks.

See Also

Use Cases

KnowBe4, one of the world’s popular security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, is one such company that has leveraged the superpowers of AI to help thwart social engineering. Last year in October, the company launched Virtual Risk Officer (VRO) and Advanced Reporting features to help security or IT professionals identify social engineering risks at the user, group or organizational level.

Virtual Risk Score, a part of the VRO alerts users or groups when they are vulnerable to social engineering attacks. The risk scores help organisations identify the person or the group that is most likely to click on a phishing link and fall into a trap.

Outlook

There is no silver bullet to cyber threats. In this technology dominated era, while software and computers are placed safely at the corners of organisations, humans are becoming victims of hacking. Companies nowadays are looking for a system that can sniff out a phishing attack and also ensure that its employees know the risk whiling clicking on an email link or plugging in a USB from the random company.


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