Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #243 3/19/2014

Question: What is social engineering?


Social engineering is getting people to give you information voluntarily that they should not give you.

Social engineering is a technique used to get in people’s computers and networks to be able to do damage or steal stuff. With social engineering a person asks you to supply them with information by appearing to be someone you should supply it to. They may call you at work and tell you they are calling from the IT department and need your password so they can correct a problem on your computer when they are really not part of the IT department

Other social engineering approaches include calling people and claiming to be from your bank and telling you there are problems with your account that they are trying to correct and asking you for your account number and password and name on account or code on back which is all information they can then use to use your credit/debit card. There was not a problem with your credit/debit card before but now there is.

Another approach is to call people (particularly elderly) and report that they have a package to deliver or a life alert system or medicine to deliver and that they need some information to get it delivered or that you have qualified for a free one and get credit card information.

An approach I have seen recently occurring is calling you to repot your computer is having problems and telling you they are from Microsoft or some other company and wanting you to go to a site an down load some program or to give them your credit card number so they can fix it. They then have stolen your card number or have access to your stuff in your computer.

Sometimes they appear to be an authority building your trust to give up information or sometime they come across as a person you should trust and get you to give up information. They are working ways that we exist as a society and trust we have in certain people to manipulate and get information.

Banks and computer companies will not call you and ask for your passwords, accounts numbers, etc. If you or someone you know dos give out this information (it is social engineering so it does mean people can be manipulated) immediately notify your bank, the credit/debit card issuer and the police.