Security: Avoiding Social Engineering & Phishing Attacks

Security: Avoiding Social Engineering & Phishing Attacks

DO NOT Give Your Sensitive Information  to ANYONE.   Exceptions are made only if you are CERTAIN that they are indeed who they claim to be and that they NEED access to the information for a critical service.

What is a Social Engineering Attack?

To launch a social engineering attack, an attacker uses human interaction (social skills) to obtain or compromise information about an organization or its computer systems. An attacker may seem unassuming and respectable, possibly claiming to be a new employee, repair person, or researcher and even offering credentials to support that identity. However, by asking questions, he or she may be able to piece together enough information to infiltrate an organization's network. If an attacker is not able to gather enough information from one source, he or she may contact another source within the same organization and rely on the information from the first source to add to his or her credibility.

What is a Phishing Attack?

Phishing is a form of social engineering. Phishing attacks use e-mail or malicious web sites to solicit personal, often financial, information. Attackers may send e-mail seemingly from a reputable credit card company or financial institution that requests account information, often suggesting that there is a problem. When users respond with the requested information.
attackers can use it to gain access to the accounts.

How Do You Avoid Being a Victim?

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or e-mail messages from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company. 
  • Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, including its structure or networks, unless you are certain of a person's authority to have the information. 
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in e-mail, and do not respond to e-mail solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in e-mail. 
  • Don't send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a web site's security. 
  • Pay attention to the URL of a web site. Malicious web sites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain. (.com versus .net)
  • If you are unsure whether an e-mail request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use contact information provided on a web site connected to the request; instead, check previous statements for contact information. Information about known phishing attacks is also available online from groups such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group. 
  • Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and e-mail filters to reduce some of this traffic.
  • The LSU IT Security and Policy (ITSP) Team has deployed Cofense Reporter, an application that provides users the ability to report suspicious e-mails to the ITSP team quickly and efficiently. The application is available for all mailboxes automatically. For more information on how to use this utility, click here

What Do You Do if You Think You Are a Victim?

  • If you believe you might have revealed sensitive information about your organization, report it to the appropriate people within the organization, including network administrators. They can be alert for any suspicious or unusual activity. 
  • If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately and close any accounts that may have been compromised. Watch for any unexplainable charges to your account. 
  • Consider reporting the attack to the police, and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission. (

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5/24/2019 9:21:08 AM