8.5 Social Engineering Countermeasures

Social Engineering Countermeasures

  • Good policies and procedures are ineffective if they are not taught and reinforced by the employees.
  • After receiving training, employees should sign a statement acknowledging that they understand the policies.
  • Password Policies:
    • Periodic password change.
    • Avoiding guessable passwords.
    • Account blocking after failed attempts.
    • Length and complexity of passwords.
    • Secrecy of passwords.
  • Physical Security Policies:
    • Identification of employees by issuing ID cards, uniforms, etc.
    • Escorting the visitors.
    • Access area restrictions.
    • Proper shredding of useless documents.
  • Training: An efficient training program should consist of all security policies and methods to increase awareness on social engineering.
  • Operation Guidelines: Make sure sensitive information is secured and resources are accessed only by authorized users.
  • Access privileges: There should be administrator, user, and guest accounts with proper authorization.
  • Classification of Information: Categorize the information as top secret, proprietary, for internal use only, for public use, etc.
  • Proper Incidence Response Time: There should be proper guidelines for reacting in case of a social engineering attempt.
  • Background Check and Proper Termination Process: Insiders with a criminal background and terminated employees are easy targets for procuring information.
  • Anti-Virus/Anti-Phishing Defenses: Use multiple layers of anti-virus defenses at end-user and mail gateway levels to minimize social engineering attacks.
  • Two-Factor Authentication: Instead of fixed passwords, use two-factor authentication for high-risk network services such as VPNs and modem pools.
  • Change Management: A documented change-management process is more secure than the ad-hoc process.

How to Detect Phishing Emails

  • Seem to be from a bank, company, or social networking site and have a generic greeting.
  • Seem to be from a person listed in your email address book.
  • Gives a sense of urgency or a veiled threat.
  • May contain grammatical/spelling mistakes.
  • Includes links to spoofed websites.
  • May contain offers that seem to be too good to believe.
  • Includes official-looking logos and other information taken from legitimate websites.
  • May contain a malicious attachment.

Anti-Phishing Toolbar: Netcraft

  • The Netcraft anti-phishing community is effectively a giant neighborhood watch scheme, empowering the most alert and most expert members to defend everyone within the community against phishing attacks.

Anti-Phishing Toolbar: PhishTank

  • PhishTank is a collaborative clearing house for data and information about phishing on the Internet.
  • It provides an open API for developers and researchers to integrate anti-phishing data into their applications.

Identity Theft Countermeasures

  • Secure or shred all documents containing private information.
  • Ensure your name is not present in the markets' hit lists.
  • Review your credit card reports regularly and never let it go out of sight.
  • Never give any personal information on the phone.
  • To keep your mail secure, empty the mailbox quickly.
  • Suspect and verify all the requests for personal data.
  • Protect your personal information from being publicized.
  • Do not display account/contact numbers unless mandatory.

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