Social Engineering and People Hacking in a Cyber Age

“The more people an organization employs, the more chances of a hack being successful. Around 80% of cyber security incidents are due to human errors and vulnerabilities being exploited,” said Jenny Radcliffe, known as The People Hacker, during her keynote speech at Guba Tech’s Digital Transformation Summit.

Radcliffe defined social engineering as the ‘manipulation of human factors to gain unauthorized access to resources and assets,’ emphasizing that it involves the active weaponization of human vulnerabilities, behaviors, and errors. She highlighted that hackers are motivated by money, ideology, or coercion.

Sharing insights from her experience testing cybersecurity and physical security systems for high-level organizations, Radcliffe emphasized that hackers often exploit human weaknesses to gain access, despite tight security measures. She described social engineering as a psychological hack, tapping into factors such as boredom and social conformity.

Radcliffe outlined hacker red flags, including appeals to money, emotion, urgency, and calls to action. She emphasized the importance of educating teams to recognize these flags and avoid falling victim to social engineering attacks.

In conclusion, Radcliffe emphasized the need for organizations to prioritize human defenses alongside technical cybersecurity solutions. She emphasized that while humans are not the weakest link, they are not the strongest either.

To protect teams from social engineering attacks, organizations can download a Quick Guide to Socially Engineered Attacks, which provides insights into the motivations behind social engineering attacks and common tactics used by cybercriminals. The guide also offers advice on building human defenses to mitigate the risks posed by social attacks.

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