Impacts of Social Engineering


Social engineering has been dominating the news charts and affecting a variety of businesses — from finance companies like Robinhood to web hosting companies like GoDaddy. In fact, the impacts of social engineering is now responsible for 93% of successful data breaches. Read on to learn more about social engineering, strategies to prevent social engineering attacks, and ways Varsity is continuing to stay ahead of the game.

What is Social Engineering?

Social engineering typically involves an attacker gaining access to data, networks, or personal information through human interaction (social skills). These types of attacks are unique because they focus on the psychological aspects of cybersecurity. An attacker may seem respectful and well-intentioned by posing as a new employee, a reporter, or even a friend. Through these identities, attackers are able to infiltrate an organization and compromise valuable information.

Types of Social Engineering

There are a range of cyberattacks that involve social engineering. Here are a few examples:

  • Phishing: Through an email or a malicious website, attackers will try to solicit personal information by posing as a trustworthy organization, such as a financial company. This is the top type of social engineering attack, according to CSO Online.
  • DNS Spoofing: Also known as cache poisoning, this type of social engineering involves a browser being redirected to a malicious website.
  • Scareware: A form of malware and social engineering that’s meant to scare you into acting quickly. It often involves pop-ups or emails telling you to “act now” to get rid of viruses or malware on your device.

There are many other types of social engineering detailed in this article by Norton.

Impact of Social Engineering

As you can imagine, social engineering has serious consequences, and every organization is at risk. When attackers gain access to important data such as user passwords, financial reports, or personal information, many business assets will be compromised. Finances will be lost, customer trust will diminish, and regulatory compliance issues may arise. The effects are endless, which is why it’s so important to have strategies in place to stay protected.

Strategies for Combating Social Engineering

Luckily, there are many ways to increase your defense against social engineering attacks. One of the best ways is to ensure your team is well-equipped with the skills needed to identify attacks before they happen. Cybersecurity training is a great way to do so. With the latest cybersecurity techniques, your team will have the confidence to deal with any cyber threats that may arise.

Another simple strategy is to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA involves more than just a username and password to login to an account — you will be prompted for a second “factor” to prove who you are. The second factor may be another password, a PIN, or even a fingerprint. This enables your accounts to stay extra secure.

Additionally, implementing cybersecurity software or managed cybersecurity services are both excellent ways to prevent social engineering attacks. Cybersecurity software or services can include a range of features such as device encryption, email security, pen tests, vulnerability scans, and more.

How Varsity Can Help

At Varsity, we understand the detrimental implications social engineering attacks can cause and strive to do everything we can to prevent them. In fact, due to the increase in security threats since Covid, Varsity’s CEO, Patrick Ciccarelli implemented a recent update. He says, “As part of our efforts to improve threats related to social engineering attacks, Varsity is implementing a new user validation system to ensure that requests by your staff are validated prior to receiving service. This will be applied for any type of sensitive request like password resets or login access issues.”

If you’re looking for ways to increase your defense against social engineering attacks, Varsity is your trusted partner. We can assist with all the security strategies detailed above, and many more. Explore our IT services or contact us today to learn more. We look forward to learning more about your organization and customizing a solution to support your security strategy.