• United States



by CSO staff

Social engineering 101: 18 ways to hack a human [Infographic]

Mar 23, 20162 mins
Physical SecuritySecuritySocial Engineering

Hackers use these common tactics to prey on your humanity. Here's what you need to know to keep you, your users, and your business safe.

A hand controls a small marionette. [control / manipulation / social engineering]
Credit: SpiffyJ / Getty Images

What will the cause of your next security breach?

Will it be your firewall? Will it be your VPN? Will it be your website?


Chances are, your next security breach will be caused by hackers exploiting someone within your organization.

In just the last two months, a single, simple phishing scam targeted seven organizations, gaining access to W2 information. And business email compromise attacks, in particular, are growing fast and hard to defend against.

The fact is, it’s “easier to trick someone into opening an email and exploiting a vulnerability that way, or convincing an unsuspecting assistant to provide a few useful bits of information, than it is to directly attack a web application or network connection,” writes George V. Hulme in his Social Engineering Survival Guide.

In person, by phone, or by email or other digital means, whatever the method of communication, hackers are using highly targeted tactics to take advantage of our feelings, emotions and relationships.

But there are some simple things you can do to take the target off your back… starting with building your (and your users’) social engineering smarts.

This new infographic from cloud file sharing provider SmartFile, clearly explains 18 common social engineering tactics so you can spot them in the wild.

SmartFile social engineering infographic