Browse Definitions :

BACKGROUND IMAGE: iSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES

This content is part of the Essential Guide: How to prepare for the emerging threats to your systems and data
Definition

social engineering attack surface

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

The social engineering attack surface is the totality of an individual or a staff’s vulnerability to trickery.

Social engineering attacks usually take advantage of human psychology: the desire for something free, the susceptibility to distraction, or the desire to be liked or to be helpful. Social engineering is often used by hackers and other thieves.

 A few examples of social engineering attacks:

  • A faked call to IT posing as an employee to get a password.
  • Media drops, which are much like a physical Trojan horse: An enterprise employee might pick up an apparently lost flash drive in the parking lot, for example, that in use will execute automatic running code leading to a data breach.
  • Fake service people, such as janitors, repair people or electricians gaining access to server closets.

The main thing one can do to reduce the social engineering attack surface is to educate employees about known risks and about how social engineering hackers tend to operate. This information can help them reappraise innocuous-seeming interactions that could lead to data breaches, long tail intrusions and lost operational time.

 Many attack approaches us a combination of attack surfaces to gain access to resources. Social engineering is often used to gain physical access, for example, that enables an intruder to exploit software vulnerabilities.

See also: software attack surface, network attack surface, physical attack surface

This was last updated in January 2015

Continue Reading About social engineering attack surface

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • compliance audit

    A compliance audit is a comprehensive review of an organization's adherence to regulatory guidelines.

  • regulatory compliance

    Regulatory compliance is an organization's adherence to laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications relevant to its business...

  • Whistleblower Protection Act

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a law that protects federal government employees in the United States from ...

SearchSecurity

  • reverse brute-force attack

    A reverse brute-force attack is a type of brute-force attack in which an attacker uses a common password against multiple ...

  • orphan account

    An orphan account, also referred to as an orphaned account, is a user account that can provide access to corporate systems, ...

  • voice squatting (skill squatting)

    Voice squatting is an attack vector for voice user interfaces (VUIs) that exploits homonyms (words that sound the same but are ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity policy

    Business continuity policy is the set of standards and guidelines an organization enforces to ensure resilience and proper risk ...

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • warm site

    A warm site is a type of facility an organization uses to recover its technology infrastructure when its primary data center goes...

SearchStorage

  • cache memory

    Cache memory, also called CPU memory, is high-speed static random access memory (SRAM) that a computer microprocessor can access ...

  • enterprise storage

    Enterprise storage is a centralized repository for business information that provides common data management, protection and data...

  • disk array

    A disk array, also called a storage array, is a data storage system used for block-based storage, file-based storage or object ...

Close