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Social Phishing: What is it?

Social phishing, also known as “spear phishing,” is a type of phishing attack that targets individuals or specific groups of people using information gathered from social media profiles or other public sources. The goal of social phishing is to trick the victim into disclosing sensitive information or performing a certain action, such as clicking on a malicious link or downloading malware.

In a social phishing attack, the attacker first gathers information about the victim’s interests, job position, and other personal details from social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. The attacker then uses this information to craft a personalized message that appears to come from a trusted source, such as a colleague, a customer, or a friend. The message may ask the recipient to share confidential information, transfer funds, or click on a link to view an important document.

Social phishing attacks are especially effective because the messages are highly targeted and appear to come from a trusted source. According to a recent study, 91% of cyberattacks start with a phishing email, and 95% of successful cyberattacks involve human error, such as falling for a social phishing scam.

Here are a few recommendations to assist you in safeguarding yourself against social phishing:

  1. Be cautious with unsolicited messages. If you receive a message from someone you don’t know or from a source that seems suspicious, be wary. Don’t click on any links or download any attachments without verifying their authenticity.

  2. Verify the sender’s identity. If you receive a message from a colleague, a customer, or a friend that seems unusual or unexpected, confirm their identity by calling or emailing them directly. Don’t rely solely on the information provided in the message.

  3. Think before you click. Before clicking on any links or downloading any files, examine the URL or file name for any signs of suspicious activity. Check for misspellings, unusual characters, or other red flags.

  4. Use multi-factor authentication. Enable multi-factor authentication on all of your accounts, including social media and email. This adds an extra layer of protection to your accounts and makes it harder for attackers to gain access.

  5. Educate yourself and others. Stay up-to-date on the latest phishing trends and techniques, and share this information with your colleagues, friends, and family members. Educating others can help prevent social phishing attacks from succeeding.

In conclusion, social phishing is a growing threat that targets individuals using information gathered from social media and other public sources. By following these tips and staying vigilant, you can help protect yourself and others from falling victim to social phishing scams.

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